#FOS4L day 2. Flexible pedagogies: communicating – student motivation and induction

On Tuesday in #fos4l we were asked about a scenario involving a floundering online learner. The scenario resonated a lot with me (even as a student on #FOS4L!). I have thought quite extensively about the isolation of the online learner, both in the past and more recently when planning MOOCs on Futurelearn. I have flagged up the warning points in red and the positive points in green.Scenario Week 2 #fos4l

This student is motivated – s/he has to do the course to get a qualification needed to work. If that were not the case s/he would have given up long ago. There is at least some guidance given to the student: kudos to the course organisers. The fact that s/he finds it irrelevant and out of date is a red flag. And the fact that there is no obviously presence of the tutor(s) is the worst thing of all.

I could go into this in much more detail, illustrated with examples, including the relevant steps in Sustainability, Society and You on Futurelearn, and the course I run on online course facilitation but for now, some simple points to improve this user’s experience:

  • Tutor welcome, video and introduction
  • Contract for learning – “office hours” of tutor and a guarantee on response time (e.g. 48 hours)
  • tutor trained in online facilitation and how to demonstrate “presence”
  • up to date information, student questions forum, information updated regularly in response to feedback and experience
  • Online forums with e-tivities to guide students to begin to communicate with one other to lead into true collaboration.
  • Facilitated student-student interaction
  • Early e-tivity on time management
  • planning to allow for weekend working (e.g., I like to run weeks Wednesday to Tuesday so the weekend falls inside the week not at the end where you feel like you’re already too late)
  • clear opportunities for feedback – from tutors and via peer assessment and peer review

These would make a great start!