First Steps into Learning & Teaching in Higher Education: 21 May – 22 June ’12

It is a beautiful day in Dewsbury, and while not fortunate enough to be outside enjoying the sunshine I am sat in a pretty spacious room with big big windows from which I get to glance up from my PC at the fleeting glimpse of The British Summer.


I am geekily excited because this morning I came across a mooc (massive open online course) where tutors, new and experienced, will come together for the next four weeks to discuss teaching and professional development


I’ve had a little explore around and it seems a mooc is certainly not a new idea and even has its own Wikipedia page (my current obsession with all things Wikipedia continues!) This one will use a number of different platforms (WordPress, Moodle and Blackboard) and one of the course tutors, Jenny Mackness, reflects that the reason for this is to introduce participants to different online learning spaces. The aggregated blog page is really interesting and I’ve been introduced to a whole new blogosphere that is certainly taking me wider than my usual ESOL-dominated RSS/Twitter feed takes me. Current favourite is a post from Eleni’s First Steps on ‘What is Learning for You?’ She reflects on some of the pre-course discussions on the Moodle site (which I am awaiting a password confirmation to explore further).


In my Tai Chi class this morning the teacher was asking whether we found things easy or hard to learn. In the past I think I would have quickly agreed with him when he says that school hinder us in being good learners, and I’ve certainly been in discussions before on how adults have to ‘unlearn’ some of the expectations of school, but this morning I found myself questioning this. I think we are good learners, we’re just not all so good at identifying what makes us good learners. We all have stories about something that we are good at and how it seemed effortless to ‘learn’ it – whether it’s a musical instrument, a sport or baking a cake. He’s a really interesting guy, and not so complimentary of the education system, (he used to be a school teacher) but it’s interesting that he often has us playing the ‘guess what’s in the teachers head’ game.


My new account has just be confirmed for the Moodle course, so I am now off to explore further – before I get dragged out of my reflective furore to deliver a session on ‘planning for a lesson observation’ where I’ll have to work hard to maintain the illusion that the college lesson observation system is in any way support of the teachers’ professional development.

  1. [...] been almost a year since I took part in my first MOOC – the First Steps MOOC, but the memory of being initially completely over-whelmed by the experience is still very [...]

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