Active participation, Active support

I will probably cross blog this on more than one forum over the next ten weeks.

Over the last eight months I have had the privilege of leading a course team in the production of a distance learning Linux course at the Open University. Today (the 1st of May) we now have the joy of seeing our work in action, with over 450 students participating in learning.

And wow, are they participating ...

Still being a relative newbie to distance learning [two years full time, and five years prior as tutor and consultant], this is the first time I have personally seen a course through from initial idea to delivery. So with this in mind, I am enjoying many instances of initial awe and amazement at the behaviour of learners in this paradigm.

At this early stage I am seeing three distinct classes of learners, in my personal terms [as I have not yet done the literature review] I can see.

  • The active lurkers, students who have clearly read the different posts on the forums.
  • The active enquirers, students who are asking a diverse range of questions from the insightful to the ‘I am lost, please help me’.
  • The active activist, the student who is very keen to help their fellow students, some with very pedagically sound ideas, supporting their peers.

There is a range within the above and we have yet to understand who the inactive are, as they may be quietly learning without using the forums as a tool.

Will keep all posted.

Andrew Smith
Follow me on Twitter: @teraknor


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