Our life looks trivial, and we shun to record it. – Emerson

#DMLCommons Kick Off

West Bay - Doha

West Bay – Doha

Connected Courses Kick Off

I’ve registered in a lot of MOOCs but only ever finished a couple. Finishing is not really the point. I’ve been involved one other “connected course” – the 2013 OLDS MOOC organized by the Open University. OLDS stands for Online Learning Design Studio. The event lasted for nine weeks and used Cloudworks as its main platform. Cloudworks is an experimental platform designed to channel / explore emergent learning networks. It was an interesting experience, but a lot of people struggled with the platform. In the end, there was little point in learning this since skill in Cloudworks would not be particularly useful after the course. Connected courses using Blogging platforms should raise this problem. Personally, I like the idea of working beyond the LMS to focus more on learning design and less on web design.

My day job is as an “Instructional Designer”. I’m not sure what that means. I see myself more as a “learning scientist”. I try to understand how learning happens, what the features of productive learning environments are, and how productive learning environments can be “designed” – whether these are face to face, online, or blended.

Designers typically work with faculty and this is another thing that interests me. There is a space between the designer and the instructor where new understandings learning can and does emerge. This question, too, moves beyond the LMS to look more at learning science. I suspect that a connected or networked learning environment that is not locked into an LMS with its limited “affordances” may be more convivial to learning science research.

This brings me to Design Based Research. For the last few months, I’ve been investigating the Change Laboratory as a means of investigating these emerging learning spaces between designers and faculty. The Change Lab isn’t quite the same as DBR but comes from the same tradition.

So, I have several objectives in #dmlcommons. I hope to:

  1. get a better understanding of connected courses and how they support networked learning;
  2. get a better grasp of DBR and evaluate its applicability to my own work environment;
  3. expand my professional and research network and explore opportunities for collaboration.

I live and work in Doha, Qatar. I’m new in this country but have been in the Middle East for over two decades.  Qatar is a rapidly developing country with a clear vision for its future and solid determination to achieve it. It’s also wonderful place to be.