LJ – H817 Collaboration and how I would design the course differently. May-June 2020

The last 6-8 weeks have been a blur but we have come out the other side with a successful Learning design collaboration prototype which can be viewed at the H817 Red Team website. The UNESCO site here represents my ideal (I especially like the e-book report half way down – wow, must investigate that someday).

I was a little prepared, it wasn’t my first experience with the method of being thrown in at the deep end previously documented in these pages for H818. It is nothing short of an emotional roller coaster, with highs and lows. Both modules have been very rewarding and achieved successful outcomes born out of shear determination and optimism (or fear of losing the tuition). Only the most committed learners would have the self-discipline to show up with respect and civility in confusing and stressful circumstances while coping with Covid-19 in our own lives. Many of our cohort suddenly had no childcare and were working full-time from home. I felt at breaking point a few times studying evenings while working full-time and even with the luxury of a home office and a supportive husband that cooks, energy has its limits. Many of us found ourselves sat in front of a screen all day and all evening too.

Personally the process was more of a catharsis than the learning journey I expected (Click Download to open the storyboard PDF) brilliantly illustrated by my classmate Mariano Gutierrez Alarcon in his project storyboard.

In his view a catharsis is part of learning, when we face something we don’t understand and struggle through the stages to mastery. In our case, throw five relative novices together to develop a topic with cryptic instructions on learning design and watch them sink or swim (that’s how it felt to us).

Working with 6 individuals I hardly knew was educational in itself. Each of us adopted a role for the project and I learned more than just how secondary teachers face emergency remote teaching in a hurry during Covid-19. I hope that was part of the course design, even if not explicit. I learned project management and organisational skills from our brilliant team leader, meeting prep and recording in Excel from our project manager; I learned teaching and activity skills from our teachers and editing skills from another. This experience created confidence in each other that would could have done at the outset and without it could crumble another. In hindsight, I see now that many of us work professional largely on our own and are used to being given a mountain of work. We are strong and creative and get on with it. Learning trust in each other to get the job done was the last piece in the jigsaw!

I decided to be pragmatic. The course showed me what to teach but perhaps not how. Maybe it is the model that Instructional Designer create the course and then walk away while in the real world tutors (paid very little) and students (paying a lot) try to execute it. Did they user test it on a few novices as we were instructed as part of our design?

I would present a few video lectures if live ones are not an option, by subject experts (which is in my storyboard created in free Padlet).

Made with Padlet

Lastly, I would also provide a Q&A session so everyone could benefit from the discussion instead of frustrated overlapping forum posts and emails over days and weeks until a few clever swots see the light and shined a light on it for those still had the will to live. How many did we lose? It is only visible to the tutors. I hope being ‘glad to see the back of an activity’ isn’t how my students leave a course. I hope they would be inspired by the experience and glad to be part of it rather than relived it was over.


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