Last Words

Today is our last session and this is probably the last post in my blog. I’m not really sure that I’ll keep the blog after the seminar. Why? Well, I cannot say that working with blogs is a bad idea; blog is a great tool that enables interactivity between students and teachers. Using a blog one can share his thoughts and ideas which can be useful both for the owner of the blog and other students. But my personal biggest problem was the fact that working with a blog was a new learning tool for me and I was just not used to writing posts regularly. Perhaps I’m just a very conservative learner but such activities as reading a book, going to a library, paper-and-pen writing (yes, and not typing!) etc. are just much more integrated into my life and belong to my daily routine. Of course I do use Internet and PC for my studies but I think I seem to be not ready yet to do more eLearning than I do now. I’m afraid that eLearning might substitute non-eLearning in the near future and then we will all miss old good lessons with a teacher standing in front of the class and students writing essays…

Anyway, such a modern form of seminars brings adds certain variety to students’ daily routine. It gives much free space and flexibility, and helps to learn self-organization.

Task 8: Learning Theories

By the way, our last task was a great “refreshment” of the psychology knowledge that I had gained during my “Lehramtstudium”: Behaviorism, cognitivism etc. I liked the idea of making graphical presentations very much (especially the Behaviorism-group) and I found the atmosphere nice. It was a real pleasure to work in such a creative class! 

Just some good-night thoughts…

Well, tomorrow is our pre-last session and that’s why it’s one of my last posts for this semester. I can say already that eLearning does make fun and that I’ve learned a lot of things in our seminar. Actually I’ve been telling myself everyday that I should write a post with my thoughts but I mostly forget it… I think that this is the biggest aspect about eLearning: self-discipline.  

Task 5 Feedback: Our First Virtual Session…

Here are my impressions. I will start with the positive ones:

1. It was unusual – a new experience.

2. It was funny and the “virtual” atmosphere was very relaxed – everyone made jokes etc.

3. I was able to take part on the session directly from home, it means no long annoying ways with the public transport and no bad mood because of bad weather – one does not need to go anywhere. Home sweet home…

Negative aspects:

1. Technical problems – if someone cannot hear/see/speak/log in etc, it takes much of the session’s time to solve these problems.

2. No clear plan – I cannot figure out a specific theme or a goal of our session. Well, we’ve seen a video and have tried out software but I cannot definitely say that I have learned something.

To sum up, it was a trial session and I’m sure that with a bit more experience and a better organization it can become a great alternative to a formal lesson.       

Task 6: Learning Environment

Ralf has asked us to take two pictures of our eLearning and non-eLearning PLE. My typical problem: I’ve taken the pictures on the weekend and have forgotten to upload them in time. Somehow I start to think that I am a “bad” eLearner because everytime I turn on my notebook I become so easily distracted by my E-mails and all the stuff I have to download and print for my lectures that I end up turning off my pc some hours later without having done important tasks   :(…

Anyway, here are the pictures I’ve made. Don’t be surprised that both pictures show locations in my appartment. The explanation is quite simple: There’s no better place than home. Only at home I have the atmosphere that I need in order to enjoy learning. First of all, there I am mostly alone (as my husband comes back pretty late after work) and no one disturbs me; I have all the books I may need; I have an Internet access and a printer; I have my tee and a full fridge; I have my sofa, my favorite chair, my favorite lamp and all the things that can make learning so pleasant and comfortable.  

Therefore, as my favorite eLearning LE (summer version) I have choosed the sunny balcony where learning becomes so cozy, when I sit there with my notebook, surrounded by flowers, trees and birds. Since I have W-LAN this dream has come true:).

My favorite non-eLearning location is the sofa in the living-room. It is the best sofa for laying and reading ever:)!

Feedback: the last presentation session

Last week we had two more presentations: LMS (Learning Management Systems) and PLE (Personal Learning Environment). It actually turned out that LMS and PLE were two modern terms for things that we all know and use everyday. Thus, we found out that many universities in Germany work with three main LMS platforms: Blackboard, CommSy and Moogle. For instance, an example of a Blackboard-based LMS platform is STiNE. Uni Hamburg also offers several CommSy pages for different faculties (during the excercise we tried out the CommSy service of the math faculty).

The second presentation about PLE was much shorter, but very entertaining due to two videos that the group had prepared.   

Unfortunately we haven’t managed to present our “masterpiece”. On one hand, it’s a pity because Selma and I have invested time & efforts in preparing the slides and the videos and we do like the final version of our presentation; but on the other hand there have been some difficulties in organizing the “male” part of our group. As a result, we found out that we had a new guy in the group…one day before the presentation deadline! It was very surprising because of the fact that this person had never worked with us in class and had also never introduced himself to Selma or me/ or never contacted us. Therefore, our guys did some work that wasn’t really coordinated with us and wasn’t big help:(…  

Video editing software

Ralf has just asked me to share the results of my today’s software research:). The program I’ve used is a DVD Ripper 2.82 that can be found at www.boilsoft.com/download. The unregistered version (a “free trial”) allows converting a whole DVD or its certain chapters into such formats, as AVI, WMV etc; however the editing extracts length can’t be longer as 5 minutes. Unlimited options are of course available in case that the full version is purchased.  

Making of: first troubles

Well, today I’ve definitely experienced the first disadvantage of eLearning: it requires specific hardware and software. As I’ve already mentioned, my task is to edit the films Selma and I have made; it means I have to convert them in a suitable video fomat and to cut out the parts we don’t want to use. Problem No. 1: my camcorder works with mini-DVD format and not with a hard-disc; that’s why I could not just erase the “defected” chapters of our films. Therefore, I’ve spent almost 5 hours in the web, downloading and trying out different DVD-editing software types. Problem No. 2: it’s really hard to find such a software! Most of them were either only for purchase (20 euro and more!) or did not function!

Finally I’ve found one and have just finished editing our videos. It was a long-long day…

Micro-learning and Mobile-learning, continued

Another aspect we’ve discussed on Tuesday was the difference between formal, non-formal and informal learning. To sum up, formal and non-formal are two forms of intentional learning with one major difference: formal learning includes such features as a learning institution (school, university etc), presense of a teacher/coach/tutor who controlls/leads the learning process and such units, as hometasks/essays/tests etc. Non-formal learning takes place outside common learning institutions and may contain unconventional learning methods.

Informal learning is an unintentional form of learning. E.g. when someone hears an informative conversation of other people in the subway and learns from it.

After all there was a big discussion and I’ve somehow lost the clue of the whole presentation because there were so many different confusing opinions and rather few key words that would have helped to make notes etc.