So who are we??

Last week, viagra order Eileen Scanlon and I ran a similar kind of event at the OU to the TEL interdisciplinary research workshop I blogged about earlier, order but this time the focus was more on what was the nature of our field and which directions it was going in.
The workshop started with a series of short presentations by members of the research group on aspects of their current research or reflections on what they thought were some of the key issues and future directions for TEL research. Speakers included Robin Goodfellow, buy Patrick McAndrew, Agnes Kulkuske-Hulme, John Richardson, and Cindy Kerawalla.

In the afternoon we divided into teams to discuss around a similar set of questions to those at the TEL workshop, namely 1. What is your birth discipline?, 2. What are your research interests/questions?, 3. What do you think are current hot topics?, 4. what methodologies and methods do you use? and 5. What theoretical frameworks and theories do you use?iet_workhop1.jpgAs with the other workshop, people had very diverse backgrounds – from science and engineering through to art history and linguistics. Research interests were more closely related than in the other workshop and included: use of digital resources in eleaning, student experience of ICT in DE, learner practice with technology, the role of technology in learner activity, scaffolding students argumentation using technology, how to encourage online interaction in open and closed environments, open educational resources, accessible writing and collaborative writing, system thinking for individual sense making, personalisation, 2.0, new technologies and mediation, affective aspects of technology-enhanced learning, patterns and chaos, student experience, efficiency and effectiveness, resources, usability (devices), different devices and roles. iet_workshop2.jpgThe group put forward the follow as potential hot topics: choices made by learners that are not part of learning design, interface between digital resources and elearning, how technology mediates learner activities, OERS, mobile devices, ubiquitous learning, user modeling and profiling, learning 2.0, and digital natives.

I was surprised at how tightly integrated the group were broadly in terms of methodologies and theoretical perspectives. Mixed-methods and socio-cultural perspectives were amongst the most commonly cited approaches. In the final discussion there was general consensus that we should try and articulate a shared perspective in terms of our research position – almost like coming up with a research manifesto that we could all sign up to. This, it was felt, had the potential to enable us to capitalise on the group collective, to focus beyond our individual research interests. In order to achieve this, the following were suggested as practical next steps in terms of themed, follow up events.

  • Researcher 2.0 – this, it was felt, was a nice banner to work around and discuss; look at our practices and how we work and communicate and also more about the researcher position. There are potential links here with our new OL-Net proposal (which aims to develop a global network of researchers, producers and users of OERs). A key question for this theme would be exploration of all aspects of the question - what does being a researcher mean in a web 2.0 world?
  • Design – this came up as a strong theme across many of the presentations and discussion during the day, so there seemed to be a commonality of interest. Questions to address included exploration of what the notion of co-design means and how can it be achieved, how can we best work in different cultural contexts, who can we design OERs effective, and how do we take account of the learner perspective in the design process?
  • Inter-disciplinarity, methodologies, theories and labs – can we work towards a shared perspective and position on what our research field is about? How can we move beyond the notion of ‘theories as wall paper’, i.e. mentioned but not really committed to it? What is the relationship between theory and practice?
  • Learning – what do we mean by learning and how is it changing, what is the relationship between education and learning, formal/informal etc…?
  • Technological infrastructure – what do we need to support our activities in innovative ways, how can we relate this to the work we are doing with OL-Net and sociallearn?

Overall it was an enjoyable day, it was great to get the chance to sit down as a group and collaboratively reflect on who we were and where we are going.

One Response to “So who are we??”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Thanks for this summary which I really appreciate because I couldn’t attend the workshop. I look forward to participating in one or more of the follow up events you mention: lots of difficult but interesting questions!


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