Reflections on Week 0 – Joining, Issues and Orientation

Joining

Well… from applying to participating took 3 days. Thanks to some very cooperative colleagues in the School of Education. I was wondering if they might not take well to having a colleague join in as a student. But they have been very welcoming indeed. Thanks to Hamish, Sian, Rory, Clara and Jen especially in the setup period and for rapidly answering all the queries that flooded their way.

Money

Money reared its ugly ahead. I naively assumed staff members of the University could register for courses free like we used to be able to do some years ago. But times have moved on. Money must flow between business centres now. What a pain. As before colleagues in Education, the Institute for Academic Development, College and Central have been VERY supportive in looking for creative solutions. I do want to take the MSc as a genuine student and feel a target of an MSc is both achievable and valuable. And I want to do this seriously. I thought I would end up spending more time on this aspect than studying when asked to go through the hoops for what could essentially be a zero sum game. But no, by the end of the first week, we had confirmation of support at all levels and funding is to be found from the seed funds for distance education development in the University. Very good news indeed, and most encouraging. Good to know the University is still focused on really getting things done and can respond in an agile way.

Technology

There is a LOT of technology in use… maybe a necessary part of this type of course so we come across all sorts of different synchronous and asynchronous. But really there was a LOT. I have had to make a web page to remember the URLs, already have a list of user names and password… not all are EASE single sign on accessible. I have signed up for so many new services this week, and I was already a member of many of the popular ones to be used on the MSc. At one stage I even ended up with two accounts on one service.

Eventually though, with a bit of tutor guidance and a few well chosen questions to my tutors I find that there are really only 3 main links:

Holyrood Park Hub: http://www.elearning.education.ed.ac.uk (for all course materials and links)

MyWebCT via MyEd with EASE Login: https//www.myed.ed.ac.uk (for my specific courses)

Holyrood Park Weblog: http://holyroodpark.net/atate/weblog

Who are you?

And I got called Brian again.. my first name happens to be Brian. EASE did that. only my doctor and dentists call me Brian and I have stopped trying to correct them.

Family Relationships

My wife is sceptical and can see this as yet another life, beyond my first and second lives 🙂

New Friends and Colleagues

I love collaborative work, and enjoy distance relationships for working and playing together. Its great to see the geographical spread and mix of people. I will see if the participants take to me putting in some personal stuff on collective digital artworks and some of my other interests,. But be ready to back off if its like talking about cats – see week 1 assignment “The Black Hole” – I cannot resist looking ahead.

Am I Overdoing the Contributions?

Then towards the weekend, I start to have serious concerns, growing with each e-mail I send to the tutors and each posting I make. I have read ahead a bit to some week 1 assignments and enjoyed making input on some stories from the experience of others on distance education courses. The “Black Hole” particularly rang a bell with me, so I added a comment. Then realised it is maybe premature as it is for week 1 work. I consider deleting it. But end up adding comments on other stories as I read them. Then I realise I have nothing to add on one story about “The Loner”. I keep coming back to it, wondering what to add, and even whether to reply to a comment already there

Then… I start to get paranoia about comments from a tutor in the course forums that they hope things settle down next week and that other quiet folks should be encouraged versus the vocal ones. I am not normally paranoid… but since I already was worried I was perhaps putting too much in and asking too many questions, I can see I am part of the problem. I resolve to read more and comment less. Then worry that may not be great for assessment purposes! Then I feel glad I did NOT add an entry where I had nothing to say about “The Loner” story. Ah, such is paranoia. But I am sure I will get over it 🙂

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