Thursday, March 28, 2013

Don't close the doors yet - OLDSMOOC has one more thing!

I got an email the other day that I was awarded a badge on OLDSMOOC (one of the peer reviewed badges), which prompted me to go into Cloudworks to see if there were any more peers that needed evaluating.  I had already completed one peer review (see here for the first one) so why not complete a second one?

It turns out that Itana Gimenes had submitted all her materials for the Learning Designer badge, so I decided to have a look and see what sort of review or feedback I could give her :)

Itana's course design revolves around Agile Software Engineering, something that brings me back to my MBA days when I was working on my IT concentration.  Back then we briefly touched upon Agile methodology since it was new, but now it's much more prevalent. In any case, I found it interesting that she was wondering (scrutinizing her own design in Week 2) the type of support learners would get so that they could both learn and have a realistic (authentic?) experience in Agile Methodology.  I am actually wondering how one could run a class using Agile.  I think when we teach (unless we lecture and don't shut up until the class is over) that we are agile, but I am curious to explore this a bit more. I think there is an opportunity here to incorporate agile methodologies in teaching so that learners are learning Agile methodologies, applying them, and seeing them in action.  Who knows, maybe someone has already done this, if so, kindly post some citations in the comments :-).

In Week 3, she has posted the results of her card activity, and there is one thing that doesn't stick well for me:  Exam Assessment.  It would seem to me that this course is more of a project-based course, learning about Agile software development while doing agile software development. The Exam doesn't seem to quite fit the bill for me for assessment.  I could be convinced, I just need to know why an exam is important :-)  Here I would have to say that my conception of an exam is a sit-down exam with multiple choice questions and short answers.  Maybe the conceived exam format is different than the one that comes to mind for me.

Her course map for this course is pretty interesting. I wanted to pick out two things:
  1. Under Reflection & Demonstration, the learners are meant to have a personal reflection blog for the course. I think this is a great idea. I think of it as a developer's blog where the progress (as well as frustrations) are documented, and perhaps this is where the community can help a bit
  2. Under Communication & Collaboration I see that "Synchronous interaction should be avoided." Now, don't get me wrong, I hate pointless syncrhonous communication, but why should it be avoided?  What if learners find it useful, in their dev-teams, to have synchronous communication for team meetings?  I think this point needs to be teased out a bit more. (This is something that seems to be a question in one of her subsequent MOOC deliverables, including an evaluation)
Overall I think the course is on a good track.  I think that the communication aspect needs to be teased out a little more, and perhaps make some tie-ins to help learners become better communicators.  One major point of failure in the agile process (in my opinion), is bad communication which can snowball into a giant monster. I think providing learners with some good guidelines for communication as part of this course would be beneficial.
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