Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Reflections on MM4: How To Manage Your Courses With a Simply Beautiful Visual Library

Great presentation by Sylvia Guinan on 30 June 2014, the last day of Moodle MOOC 4, about How to Manage Your Courses With a Simply Beautiful Visual Library, emotionally hosted by Dr. Nellie Deutsch at WiziIQ.

I had to do with the recording this time, as the live session went on at 3pm, Spanish time, and that is working hours, but still I was able to connect with the presenter, the host and other peers through the event page itself.

Sylvia gave a great bunch of ideas, tips, resources, pieces of advice on a friendly active online course instructional design which I regarded as very valuable, as I totally agree with her opening statement: a simple, creative, visually attractive online environment is going to make students feel at ease.

The content of Sylvia's presentation fully relates to my area of online instruction, and I saw eye to eye with her approach, Feeling at ease in class, either face-to-face or online, has clear beneficial consequences when taking a course: you are more prone to enjoy learning, and so you engage in the course more quickly. Thus, you are bound to be more successful and happier. When talking about online teaching and learning, it is even more important to find yourself at ease, to enter a friendly classroom, since you don't see your teacher for real, but a virtual teacher and the more humane and close you manage to make your classroom, the better.

I especially liked the idea of having a BBQ classroom. First of all, who doesn't like barbecues? Everybody is ready to go to one; it is a synonym of relax, easy-going chat and a gathering of friends.

Secondly, all that involves having a BBQ also has online teaching/learning connotations: you need a place to cook, that is, the learning platform. You need cooking utensils, that is the tools. You need ingredients and you need to know how to mix them well so that the barbecue is a success, that is your creativity, imagination, energy and positive attitude towards teaching/learning. You need spaces so that the guests to your barbecue can mingle, that is, the forums, social networks, collaborative sites.

Then, you are ready to cook international recipes. Good luck. Teaching is a time consuming, incredibly rewarding experience!

Sylvia is a great BBQ host and an incredible cook, so her event made me feel as if I were at her place in sunny Greece and my thoughts were immediately engaged in the kitchen she was opening for us: Tackk.

Over the years I have had the chance to cook at several kitchens, such as Static Web Sites, Blogs, Moodle, Google Drive, and more recently Edu 2.0, Edmodo, or Haiku Learning, but Tackk? No, I have never come across the chance to enter that kitchen, so that is the challenge now: mixing ingredients and adding a pinch of visuals and interaction here and there to open a new teaching/learning lab, I guess, looking for ways to link other kitchens together (that is the first step to take to resolve the challenge).

How are my future students going to feel at the new venue? That's the question I have to look into now the recording is viewed and MM4 coming to an end.

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