Welcome to the Flexible, Distance and Online Learning (FDOL) course.
FDOL is for course designers, Educational Developers, Learning Technologists, Teachers in HE who would like to learn more about Flexible, Distance and Online Learning. We model the use of freely available social media tools and platform which we utilise for learning that don’t require extensive technical expertise to be mastered and implemented. Our focus is the design and how the available digital technologies can support this to extend opportunities for connection, engagement and learning.
FDOL will enable learners to develop an understanding of the benefits and challenges learners and facilitators are facing in online, flexible and distance learning. It will also assist learners to develop effective strategies in order to design and implement their own flexible, blended, online and open courses, modules and programmes depending on their professional context.
FDOL provides a space to experiment with alternative ways to engage individuals and groups in open and collaborative educational development activities. We hope to enable and extend cross-institutional learning conversations to further our understanding, knowledge and skills around contemporary learning and teaching trends, ideas and issues linked to FDOL but also make us un- and rethink about our own practices.
We are not trying to compete with current xMOOCs, cMOOCs, MITx and other MOOC creations nor do we expect that this will be a course for the masses or that the masses will sign up for FDOL. We designed a DIY open course, a course that anybody could create using freely available technologies and without relying on technical expertise and support resources (a sustainable solution?) placing the learner at the heart of their learning. FDOL is an experimental open educational development intervention for a specific audience. We trial different approaches that might be helpful for some to become self-directed learners and survive and thrive in open learning environments. One size does not fit all, we think we all would agree on this.
Participants will be able to reflect upon this engagement, as an immersive learning experience through collaborative and networked learning activities. Learners have the opportunity to work within small groups using COOL FISh, a PBL framework under development for open courses. This was first piloted during #fdol131. Some might say that groups have no place in networks. We gave it a go during #fdol131 and discovered that groups can work and help create learning relationships and act as a motivator in open online settings. If you prefer to carry out their enquiry on your own or through initiating your own connections, this is absolutely fine and possible also. All learners regardless the learning mode they choose are encouraged to reach out to others beyond their existing learning groups and networks as access to such a rich cohort of open learners.
How much engagement and study time will be required on a weekly basis for open learners? We estimate between 3-5 hours depending on the level of engagement. Study hours for students working towards Level 7 credits translate into 300 for the whole semester.
- To provide opportunities to promote learerns’ engagement with inclusive pedagogies and practices that support flexible learning in the digital age through active engagement in cross-cultural experiences and aligning with the UK PSF where relevant.
- To provide opportunities to develop learners’ understanding of the benefits and challenges involved in designing technology supported interventions including face-to-face, blended and fully online mode.
- To provide learners with a range of opportunities to explore and practise with digital technologies in their own professional context.
Intended Learning Outcomes
Knowledge and Understanding of
On successful completion of this course learners will be able to:
- Reflect on how digital technologies can be used within their teaching context, with the support of contemporary pedagogic theories and research to create inclusive learning experiences and aligning with the UK PSF were relevant.
- Discuss a challenge which influences the use of digital technologies in Higher Education.
- Evaluate a specific flexible learning activity or intervention in a cross cultural context.
Please note, the above are generic course ILOs. You are also encouraged to define your own intended learning outcomes if you learn autonomously and/or with a (PBL) group.
FDOL resources can be found at https://www.diigo.com/list/chrissinerantzi/pgcap-fdol including related open access journals. A selection of open access readings linked to specific units have been added under the specific units tab.
The FDOL132 course has been developed by three educational developers Chrissi Nerantzi in collaboration with Lars Uhlin and Maria Kvarnstrom. The organisers are going to evaluate this course and disseminate findings through conference contributions and publications. We are also interested in exploring opportunities for cross-institutional collaborations in the future.
Please get in touch with Chrissi, Lars or Maria at openfdol @ gmail.com (without the spaces) or via Twitter at @openfdol if you are interested in any of the above.
Chrissi Nerantzi is a PhD student in open educational practice at Edinburgh Napier University. She is collecting data from FDOL132 participants who provided their consent to participate in this study. Chrissi will continue investigating future iterations of FDOL as part of her PhD. Further information about the project and possible involvement opportunities were forwarded to all participants shortly after the beginning of FDOL132.
FDOL132 started on the 12th of September 13 (@openfdol #FDOL133) and finished on the 5th of December 13.