Week 4 Reflection on Institutional Innovations, Online Collaborative Learning

Reflection for Week 4


by Aleta May

for EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham


This week I have learned that there are different types of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  MOOCs fall under the umbrella of Open Educational Resources (OER), and they are a type of informal learning.  Most MOOCS are run by cognitive behavioral pedagogy which is based on teacher direction, with clear and measurable objectives. There are three variants of MOOCs:  First, an xMOOC is student and content interactive, with low cost ways of delivering content (e.g., video, text, and audio).  “If anything, it stands for eXtended. . .to indicate programs that aren’t part of the core offering, but which are in some way extensions. . .MOOC as eXtension of something else” (Downes, 2013).  Second, a sMOOC is a small or social MOOC that is based on constructivism pedagogy that emphasizes discussion, group interactions and team work.  Through these interactions, new knowledge is created (Miyazoe and Anderson, 2013)

Interaction Equivalency Theorem (the EQuiv) framework is a lens for us to look at informal learning, MOOCs.  Formal education is changing.  There is a “transaction taking place between an individual and what, at the time, constitutes his environment. . .” (Miyazoe and Anderson, 2013).  Third, a cMOOC is based on networked connections that are created between students, their teachers, and the content.  Siemens was quoted as saying of connectivism that it has become a “pedagogy for the digital age” (Miyazoe and Anderson, 2013, 10).  Importantly, recognition of two major modes of interaction needs to be understood.  One mode leads to deep and meaningful learning through student-teacher, student-student, and student-student interactions.  These interactions represent the pedagogy of connectivism.  Students may choose to learn in a completely informal MOOC setting, or they may choose to access MOOCs, and other sources online to add strength to the formal education course.

After listening to the superintendent of Kodiak being interviewed by Nicole in the podcast she presented in WordPress, I was impressed with how that school district is using technology to create connections between students in villages and in Kodiak with village students.  They interact about an intensive subject that is related to the standard of one of their classes, then when they see each other in person, there is a connection made that creates a sense of importance in that previously “unknown” village student.  There is self-confidence and efficacy—I can do this and others like me have similar needs or views.  Since I teach in a remote village (not as small as some represented in Nicole’s technology grant efforts), I see many common issues.  One issue is just learning to communicate academically with people at a similar level or with similar academic interests that is not available in smaller settings. 

This leads me to think about how instructional design (ID) can affect the level of success that is in an online class delivery.  I read that teaching opportunities are important, but the primary focus and purpose of these is the creation of learning opportunities (Ashbaugh, 2013).  When I approach helping to design a class, my thoughts need to be focused on linking instruction and theory to ways that support efficient and meaningful learning.  ID is a form of leadership.  Leaders need to think about using technology tools with purpose.  For example, one purpose of a blog in a class is communication with others to begin collaboration toward shared learning.  If students are sharing their learning, they can reach the outcome in a meaningful (real world) way. 

As an ID leader, I need to be willing to imagine change (ideation), envision that change can actually take place and move it forward.  I need to realize that our world, now more than ever, is rapidly changing (Ashbaugh, 2013).  If students are to be engaged in learning, learning needs to have purpose.  Learning effectual when I as an ID reach the affective part of the learner, and not just efferent.  This is a challenge!   I definitely feel this challenge, as being part of a team creating a class I must consider what the student needs in terms of appropriate challenge according to meeting standards, what he/she needs in terms of culture, language, and ability, and what will help to prepare the student for the future.  This quote summarizes the challenge well for me:  “An instructional designer is changed by a continually moving target in a fast-paced, changing world” (Ashbaugh, 2013).  And like Jon said in his post, change involves the mobility of people.  There needs to be strong enough connections with people who are involved in creating online educational sites (and even courses) that what is created can be updated rather than allowed to simply die.

During this week’s blog post, I believe I got Jon to think about how long it takes to develop an online course.  I agreed with him that the initial investment is heavy when he responded to me.  But I think that since he emphasizes time spent with his family, and how meeting online is sometimes more effective use of his than driving to Anchorage, I got him to think about why it is okay to invest time into a course initially.  Also, I wanted him to see, when I responded back to him, that with so many changes in peoples lives, they may find themselves spending inordinate amounts of time “starting again” after a move or transfer.

When I wrote to Naomi, I think I helped her to think about the skill level of those she is collaborating with to co-construct a course.  I think Tammy and I connected over how Alaska State Mentor Projects will need to mentor teachers faced with designing and/or teaching online or through a Polycom.  I was able to pull out for her how the information she presented about blended learning is vital to consider for rural Alaska schools, and that it could become the norm as it has already in the video clip she posted.



Ashbaugh, M. L. (2013).  Personal leadership in practice:  A critical

            approach to instructional design innovation work.  TechTrends


Downes, S. (2013).


Miyazoe, T. & Anderson, T. (2013).  Interaction equivalency in an oer,

            moocs and informal learning era.  Journal of interactive media in

            education.  JIME  http://open.ac.uk/2013/09

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