100 ways to use a VLE – #13 Keeping a reflective journal

May 14, 2010

Learners always reflect on their learning, whether they learn or act upon that reflection is a different matter.

By keeping a reflective journal, a learner can record their reflections in a journal they will then be able to review their reflections and set themselves targets. They will then be able to improve their performance and succeed on their programme of study.

One of the most obvious places to keep a reflective journal is in a paper journal. However a paper journal requires every journal entry to be handwritten. By placing the journal on the VLE, the learner suddenly has much more choice when it comes to recording their reflections. They can type in text, record an audio file or upload a video. The choice allows learners to record their reflections on their studies at a time and place to suit them. If they want to quickly type something up they can, if they want to quickly record something using a mobile phone, they can and upload later.

Using a VLE doesn’t stop learners handwriting their reflective journal, very easy these days to use a TabletPC to write, or more simply, write it out on paper, photograph it and upload. Digital cameras and most cameraphones are now more than adequate to photograph text and for it to be readable on a screen.

Learners can also tag their journal entries, making them easier to sort and search later.

So why put it on the VLE?

Well reflection can be an individual process, but sometimes learners may want to share their thoughts, and read the thoughts of others. Tutors may want to be included in the process to allow them to better judge progress been made on the course. Using a VLE allows these users to engage with the reflective process.

Another option is to use third party tools and embed them into the VLE, this has the advantage of allowing learners to maintain their reflective learning journal once they have left the college.

Reflection and review of progress is an important part of the learning process, by using technologies like the VLE, we can ensure that the reflection is available to more if required and less likely to be lost or forgotten.

Picture source.

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Increasing staff engagement with the VLE

May 14, 2010

A couple of months ago on the blog I posted a five stage model for using the VLE.

There is often too much information about the VLE for new users who may not understand many of the concepts or have the skills to fully utilise the functionality of the VLE.

It would seem that as would be expected others across the sector who use VLEs have come up with similar models or strategies.

Richard Booth and Dave Shearan from Shrewsbury College have devised ‘Moodle Maturity’ – a self-assessment process that enables tutors to evaluate their current position with Moodle, and how they can progress.

Their self-assessment consists of the following criteria:

  • Presence on Moodle
  • Course information
  • Layout and appearance
  • Course resources
  • Communication
  • Assessment
  • Student interaction

This is a great way of not just getting staff to assess where they are in using the VLE, but engaging them further by outlining the potential of the VLE.

There are many ways to use a VLE to enhance and enrich learning. Staff don’t always know what can be done or how it can be done. I have certainly come across this in my college, for example, I know one team that weren’t aware of how the assignment submission process worked in Moodle and as a result were creating themselves headaches and extra work trying to devise their own process. Practitioners aren’t always aware of how all the tools work on the VLE, and despite promotion or case studies don’t necessarily become aware of the potential of the tools. A self assessment process like this allows the practitioners and  teams to assess their progress in using the VLE to support, enhance and enrich learning.

See the full case study on the Excellence Gateway.


Jorum Learning and Teaching Competition 2010

May 14, 2010

Do you create open educational learning and teaching resources? If so, the Jorum Learning and Teaching Competition is for you.

Following on from last year’s successful competition, which resulted in six highly creative and valuable resources winning places, we are pleased to announce that the 2010 competition is now open and accepting entries.

The competition runs again in conjunction with the ALT-C conference in Nottingham, 7-9 September, and the six winning entrants will have the opportunity to present and showcase their resources at the conference.

The panel of judges will be looking for exciting and innovative resources created under a creative commons licence, and entries will be judged against a set of criteria – appropriateness, engagement, effectiveness and reusability.

We have engaged another great range of judges this year, including Russell Stannard and James Clay, who are both advocates of sharing resources openly.

Final judging will also take on a new twist this year, as the judges will be asked to rank their top ten resources, which will then be placed on the Jorum Community Bay to allow for a public vote – so never mind The X-Factor – vote for your choice of resource to win!

You will be able to vote from 19th August, and details on how to vote will be announced nearer the time.

There are three cash prizes up for grabs, along with three commended awards.

Closing date – Friday 25th June 2010

Full entry details on the Jorum Website.


This is iPad

May 14, 2010

The new Apple iPad advert…

…is a nod to the old Apple Newton.

I would suspect a lot of people have no idea what a Newton is (or was).

The Newton was basically ahead of its time.