Thursday, 4 April 2013

Anyone for cricket? First day of ocTEL #ocTEL

Today is the first day of ocTEL the Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning which is being organised by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT).  I've been looking forward to it because of my involvement with ALT and also I'm keen to participate in another MOOC.  I've taken part in three MOOCs so far with varying degrees of success and engagement and have learnt a lot.  I've learnt what works for me as far as approaching an online course with masses of information and participants.  The most important thing that I've learnt is to put my filtering strategy in place straight away - there is too much information and I have too little time.  Next start selecting - select activities and people to find out about and to engage with.  It's quite liberating to dip in and drop out and to view success as a constantly changing variable.
As I've been working all day I hadn't intended to look at the course guidance and materials until now but suddenly around lunchtime I started to receive a lot of emails to my gmail account.  The first three were from ocTEL - a newsletter, welcome and week 0.  Ok that's fine, a quick glance then back to work.  I quite liked the reference to cricket 'play gets under way at the civilised hour of 11.00.....Like cricket, it's best if you don't rush.' Then there was a bit of introductory blurb to reassure people.  In the week 0 email were the week's aims and if you only do one thing.... This appeals to me as I'm always looking for the quick win first then the detail or maybe to make that sound better, looking for the essentials then the options.
However then lots of emails started flooding into my email box.  Another quick look - the emails are coming from the OCTEL-PUBLIC jisc mail list.  OK that's fine, I'll just leave them there but I don't remember signing up to a jisc mail list for this course because my jisc mail login is connected to my work email not my gmail.  What are people emailing to the list about? It seems to be the introduction contribution - obviously as I haven't read the activities at this stage I've no idea what the tasks are.  Then come the inevitable emails to the list which are unfortunately going out as emails with the subjects along the lines of unsubscribe me or I don't want these emails.  Luckily a couple of people posted useful advice as to how to unsubscribe or change the settings to receive a digest etc.  
I suspect that most people didn't remember that they must have opted in during the registration process to the jiscmail email list - I don't remember doing this.  But it's easily remedied and worse case scenario, you have a lot of emails.  
But i decided that i didn't want a constant stream of emails coming to me - I want to go and get them when needed.  I first tried through the ocTEL website in the profile section as I thought that might stop the notifications but it didn't work.
But that didn't work so I went to the jiscmail website which i was sort of trying to avoid as I had to set up a new account with my gmail so now I've got two accounts.  It doesn't really matter.  I chose to stay on the list but read the emails on the jiscmail website.
So now just time for a very quick glance through of the background information and guidance for activities.  It's useful that there is a week 0 and it is a long week.  There is lots of useful advice and help but I'm not sure why the introductions etc. weren't on the forum to start with rather than on the jiscmail list as now there are some on both.  
Tomorrow I'll go back and read a selection of other peoples posts.  For me I find it easiest to post a summary every few days on my own blog and link via twitter with a hashtag. 

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