A todos os que se interessam...

...puxem de uma cadeira, acomodem-se e disfrutem a viagem pois "as tarefas quotidianas jamais impediram alguém de seguir os seus sonhos" (in As Valquirias, Paulo Coelho)!!!

quarta-feira, 31 de março de 2010

PPEL, Unit 1 - Task 4

I posed Professor Morten Flate Paulsen a question related to his article published on seminar.net on Cooperative Learning, which is the following...

In your article on seminar.net about Cooperative Education you make reference to "Individual Progress Plans". I consider NKI’s proposal very important and pertinent and, in fact, the individual perspective, for it favors individual progress, is described and there are even suggestions for improving it. What I would like to ask you is related to “Collective Progress Plans”. I would like to know if they exist at NKI and, if possible, I would also like to know how they are dealt. Is it similar to “Individual Progress Plans” but with readjustments? What is your opinion about them? (According to your own words in this article they “make cooperation easier”, which is very significant in cooperative learning.)

And here is ProfessorMorten Flate Paulsen's answer:

Most educational institutions have collective progress plans. Ordinary schools have schedules so that students know when they should meet in class. Many distance education institutions offer blended learning which means that they have some scheduled face-to-face meetings. Others have scheduled events like audio or video conferences that often are used as collective progress plans.

Institutions with collective progress plans usually have fixed dates for course start, submissions, exams and course completion. This is not flexible for the students, but it makes it more manageable for the institutions. Collective progress plans also allow students and tutors to focus on the scheduled issues and activities.

Online institution, like Universidade Aberta, often have some progress flexibility since they allow students to decide what time of the day and which days of the week they want to study. But these institutions have collective progression with deadlines for submissions. Students cannot decide when they want to start the course or how much time they need to complete it.

Even though many of these institutions use Learning Management Systems (LMS), they don't have planning systems that monitor the progress of individual students. Most of the time it is up to the tutor to check if the students follow the deadlines.

Individual progress plans

Correspondence schools introduced individual progress plans to their students, and NKI Nettstudier decided to develop its online education around individual progress plans. To support this, NKI has developed an individual planning- and follow up system that allows the students to register dates for when they plan to submit their assignments. The students can change their dates whenever they want. The plans are automatically updated every time a student submit an assignment.

Since the system, staff, tutors and students know all submission dates, it is possible to follow up each student according to their individual status an progress plans. Just imagine how many ways you can use these plans to support progression and cooperation.

Cooperation is more difficult when students have individual progress plans since few students focus on the same topics at the same times. It is however possible to utilize this model so that junior students can learn from senior students. There are also many ways senior students can learn from cooperation with junior students. It is for example possible to ask senior students to review the work of junior students.

If a company wants a group of their employees to follow an NKI course along with some face-to-face sessions using collective progress plans, it is possible to register the same progress plan for all the participants. In this way, NKI's system for individual planning could be used to monitor collective progress plans.

The scheduled exam dates is the least flexible in NKIs model. We usually offer at least two exam dates per year, and the students can decide which date that suit them best. We also have some project report exams that can be handled in whenever the student is finished with it. It is also to some extent possible to substitute exams with portfolio evaluation.

terça-feira, 23 de março de 2010

Commenting on Juliana LO and on Maria João Spilker's Annotated Bibliography ...

Comment on Juliana's LO...

Before starting my comment I would like to say that I feel that everybody did an excelent work on the LOs and it was not easy to choose which one to talk about. My choice fell on Juliana's work because I feel that she contemplated a situation that few of us did - she showed the perspective of a teacher in search for a strategy to please all his students and we all know how difficult it is to please them all together and at the same time ... but we are constantly trying to do it - its our everyday task and mission!

In terms of accessibility, the LO is easy to read and to understand its content. Its design is not complex and anyone who sees it understands the objective of its creator. The usage of colours - black, for letters, and blue for the cartons representing the teacher and the students - is neutral and to show interaction between the teacher ans the students, Juliana chose speech ballons, which I consider very appropriate in this situation. A music with a certain beat is being played at the same time as the presentation takes place and this gives the idea of movement which is also very appealing. At the end a references list - two references - is given to allow the viewer the possibility to find out more on the topic discussed.

Regarding the content, this LO is about a teacher in search of the best way to teach and keep students motivated. Being a teacher is a constant challenge and a continuous process for we are always searching for the right way to captivate and motivate our students and, although students need (specific and well orientated) guidelines to produce, it is also true that their creativity need to blossom. I enjoyed Juliana's perspective because she presented us a teacher concerned with his students interests and their methods of work.

This teacher tries to give them not only freedom to choose how to work - it could be an individual task or not -, but also a way of working in an online environment, that is, they could be anywhere with their colleagues or not to develop the task. The teacher balances his proposal of a task according to his goals, but always bearing in mind his students needs, interests, paces, times, spaces, individualities... I feel this is very important, because the use of internet and the learning environments online give us a sort of an " cooperative open teaching class", for we can, in fact, cooperate together, thanks to internet... And in this "new classroom" everybody is free to enroll, take a seat and share his or her knowlege and experience while solving the tasks that are presented during the course and achieve the academic goals they long for.

Teaching and learning becomes a lifetime enriching experience!

Comment on Maria João Spilker's Annotated Bibliography...

Maria João pointed out three bibliographical references:

  • The Theory of Cooperative Online Education, by Prof. Paulsen (a Commic strip).
  • Cooperative Freedom and Transparency Online Education, by Prof. Paulsen (An article).
  • La Educación Online Exitosa Debe Ser Robusta Y Sustentable, (an Interview) to Prof. Paulsen.

Bearing in mind the content, I found Maria João’s Annotated Bibliography clear, concise and very incisive. She also presented a brief summary (between 100 and 150 words) on each bibliographical reference . In terms of accessibility, she made easy and accessible references regarding the texts in question.

The first one is a comic strip where Prof. Paulsen’s Theory on Cooperative Freedom is introduced and where he defines and explains the notions behind the terms individual, collaborative a cooperative learning.

On the second one, Prof. Paulsen theorizes about the level of transparency that each student should or should not show, for as the author says: “Transparency improves quality and promotes cooperation, but students should be free to choose their individual privacy level.

Regarding the last one, in an interview Prof. Paulsen points out, according to his opinion, how education should be, how the teacher’s work has to be and he also tries to clarify the concepts of individual, collaborative and cooperative learning.

I must confess the last two spiced my will to read them.

In my opinion, her perspective highlighted and helped me to guide my (next) readings on a more profound way regarding the notion on the Theory of Cooperative Freedom. And although I feel that she could have made another reference to a different writer, I understand her choices and agree with them for Prof. Paulsen is the “brain” behind Cooperative Freedom.

sábado, 13 de março de 2010

Cooperative Freedom -

- An Annotated Bibliography...


A very “real” and up-to-date article, for it shows graphics regarding the popularity of cooperative online education among students as well as other resourceful illustrations on individual, cooperative and collaborative environments, namely regarding the question of flexibility and others. It starts by saying: “Cooperative learning seeks to develop virtual learning environments that allow students to have optimal individual freedom within online learning communities”. To introduce the topic it starts by doing a brief background information on cooperative online education and it refers to have been built under the scope of The Theory of Cooperative Freedom, by prof. Morten Flate Paulsen, who is also the author of the article in question. Bearing this in mind, Prof. Morten Flate Paulsen makes reference to NKI – as well as its graphics to corroborate his version -, one of his creations, that was “developed to support cooperative freedom and transparency in a large-scale online education environment” and that “it facilitates individual freedom within a learning community in which online students serve as mutual resources without being depend on each other.” According to the article thanks to NKI, in cooperative learning, individual flexibility and freedom is center of the question and in his theory the claims that there important flexibility facets to consider, such as time, space, pace, medium, access and content and students whether they decide to work alone or with “(online)learning partners” their success is granted.

A straightforward and “amusing” way of giving highlights – sort of a BD - on online education and the Theory of Cooperative Freedom. Its author Prof. Morten Flate Paulsen presents “a concentrated recipe” about this theory in a very concise and a joyful manner by offering the reader some of the main ideas described in the thinking of Cooperative Freedom. Through the existence of individual learning, collaborative learning and cooperative learning in online environments, students, either those who search an individual way of study or a collaborative one, or a cooperative way to achieve their aims and goals within their pace, time, content, space access and medium reach their academic success.

  • Paulsen, M.F. 2003, Part One: Online Education, Teaching and Learning, Cooperative Freedom: An Online Education Theory (p. 39 – 50), Education Online.

A very interesting, concise and challenging article that gives us insights on The Theory Cooperative Freedom, by exposing right at the top that “the theory of cooperative freedom argues that online education can foster both freedom for the individual and group cooperation”. At first, the articles provides a sort of chronological information on Distance Education Theories, explores their content and shows some of the most preeminent writers for each theory, namely The Theories of autonomy and independence, by Moore, 1983; the Theories of Industrialization, by Peters, 1988; the Theories of Interaction and Communication, by Holmberg, 1988, and others up until nowadays with The Theory of Cooperative Freedom, by Prof. Morten Flate Paulsen. According to this more recent perspective this theory presents a solution for the tension existing between the notion of individual independence and collective cooperation that in most cases stresses students as well as their academic work. The theory depicts a scenario in which online education can give the individual freedom and the group cooperation needed, by offering the right dimension of space, pace, medium, access and content within its contexts for student to achieve individually, or in a collaborative and in a cooperative way his achievement academically. Although at first sight finding the right way to study may seem difficult to conceive and achieve for we know that while some students seek individual flexibility and freedom, others the group collaboration and social unity, this study concludes that with online education we can have the both options working side-by-side in a cooperative and flexible environment.

  • Paulsen, Morten Flate et Slaatto, Torhild, 2006, NKI in Learning Partner - Opportunities for Cooperation in Distance Learning, elearningeuropa.info.

“NKI Distance Education facilitates individual freedom within a learning community in which online students serve as mutual resources without being dependent on each other."
A brief article on what is NKI’s premise and on what it has to offer to online learning communities. NKI’s philosophy is based on the Theory of Cooperative Freedom by Prof. Morten Flate Paulsen. NKI is innovative and through it individual freedom within the learning community is facilitated for with it online students voluntary may study wherever they are, they can also become mutual resources without being dependent on each other and it also offers them the possibility to start a course at any time of the year and always be able to follow their study progression. According to the theory, there are six facets of flexibility of high importance – time, space, medium, access and content. In order to have a worldwide cooperative learning environment online, NKI invites all students to enter a personal presentation and in the future they may become “learning partners” and help those who are feeling unmotivated and unsatisfied with the progress of their studies by working in a cooperative (online) perspective, for there are others that prefer to continue their work individually. NKI’s main goal is students’ satisfaction on online education environments.

  • Millis, Barbara J.,2oo2, Enhancing Learning - and More! - Through Cooperative Learning, theideacenter.org.

An overview of cooperative learning divided in subtitles. It gives brief explanations on several pertinent issues regarding cooperative learning, namely the premises underlying it, which are three; the first one deals with the respect for students “regardless of their ethnic, intellectual, educational, or social background” and it has a strong belief in students potential and academic success; the second one illustrates the strong sense of community, “for learning, like living, is inherently social” and it helps students to enlarge and improve their relationships; the third one is based on the notion that “learning is an active, constructive progress”. The article delves into several interesting subtitles for it explains what is cooperative learning, its effectiveness, the motivation implicit on it and so on. In conclusion, cooperative learning is seen as an essential part of online education because it satisfies, for students, a human desire for connection and cooperation. Besides that it gives the opportunity to deal and to handle complex tasks very difficult to solve alone. Remember we are social human beings and therefore the sense of a learning community helps us/students to enhance the social and communication capacity needed to succeed in a (future) career.

  • Tips on Cooperative Leaning

A sort of casual encounter between colleagues gives room for a talk on tips for cooperative learning for it suggests good strategies for teachers to work with students. There are several suggestions very easy to put into practise, bearing always in mind, students interest, motivation and cooperative group work input. The presentation starts from scratch, that is, it explains how to start cooperative group - pair work - and goes to bigger groups. It is a very concise way of highlighting this tipe of learning in "presential" classes.

  • In conclusion...

Bearing in mind my readings, I conclude that in attended classes cooperative learning provides for students’ interaction in heterogeneous groups for it is built with the purpose of offering a leaning support for the elements of the group. In online education, cooperative learning provides the encouragement of individual flexibility and the affinity of learning within an educational community (Prof. Morten Flate Paulsen, 2003).

Although these two perspectives may seem difficult to combine, for they lead us to a controversy, the truth is that cooperative learning in online learning environments emerges as the solution for it emphasizes the co-existence of students that enjoy individual work and its benefits and outcomes, and the others that prefer the benefits of collaborative learning, or a so called, a learning community.

“Future adult students will seek individual flexibility and freedom. At the same time, many need or prefer group collaboration and social unity. These aims are difficult to combine, but online education, when integrated with other media, can be the means of joining individual freedom and collective unity into a truly flexible, cooperative distance educational programs.” (Prof. Morten Flate Paulsen, in Cooperative Freedom: an Online Theory Education, 2003)

sábado, 6 de março de 2010

Balanço da 1ª semana

Olá a todos!
As Primeiras Impressões...

Já passou uma semana?! Bem, aqui vão as minhas primeiras impressões ... Acho que foi muito positivo o início desta primeira semana, pois começar com duas disciplinas em vez de quatro alivia muito a carga!

Os Contratos de Aprendizagem...

Os contratos de aprendizagem facultados por ambas as disciplinas pareceram-me claros e espero que assim se mantenham até ao final!

As Leituras...

Relativamente às leituras...estão orientadas e a funcionar em pleno gás! Apesar de ter sentido a necessidade urgente de as ter em papel, e este aspecto dificultou-me um pouco porque a impressora avariou...mas esta dificuldade já esta plenamente ultrapassada.No que respeita aos grupos para Comunicação Educaçional, tive algum receio de me atrasar e de ficar para último...mas, como já estava a ler os textos propostos pelo professor, tal não aconteceu e creio que as coisas até correram de forma bastante rápida, mas bem!

Os E-mails...

Confesso que o aumento de e-mails me preocupa um pouco...tem mesmo que ser uma consulta diária e não é fácil, pois pensei em fazer uma selecção antes de proceder à leitura, pois há coisas que à primeira vista podem não ser importantes...mas são! Por isso, tem de ser visto todos os dias MESMO!

Os Textos Escolhidos...

Gostei muito do texto escolhido para a disciplina de Comunicação Educacional e a obra para Materiais e Recursos também me parece muito interessante...embora extensa! Mas com calma tudo se consegue, pelo menos temos de manter este espiríto...e ser positivos...pois o volume de trabalho, embora esteja em fase inicial, vai aumentar...

O Seminário...

Achei igualmente positivo a frequência do seminário da Professora Sarah Robins - apesar estar um pouco atrapalhada quando cheguei! Algumas das suas frases são quanto a mim muito bem conseguidas relativamente ao SL:

  • "In real life you can't change the rules of the game, so here you try to behave in a similar way or in a way in which you are used to be in."
  • "Avatars have super human abilities! People choose avatar faces according to their images in real life."

  • "Every life form has its forms of discriminations and SL is no exception!"

Ainda relacionado com o SL e com a conferência da Profª. Sarah, considerei igualmente positiva a sua postura no que respeita ao SL e ao ensino online pois numa das suas resposta ela afirma: "We are all trying to improve education regarless of how we do it!" E, para mim, esta frase tem um grande impacto na nossa vivência enquanto "educators" - como ela própria se identifica - e a nossa constante procura de aprender, desenvolver e criar aptências para promover um ensino melhor e mais risonho!

O Toque Final...

Estou a gostar muito da experiência e espero estar à altura dos desafios que forem surgindo, pelo menos para começar acho que a turma, tal e qual como a nossa coordenadora, é simpática, acessível e todos me parecem para ajudar...e só isto já é uma boa e grande ajuda!

Aguardo agora pela 2ª semana!...

Um abraço e votos de uma boa semana!

Marina Moleirinho