Tuesday 18 December 2012

Here Goes: Quadblogging with Nigel, Willa and Kelcy

Have you ever been pregnant? When you are, everyone else is pregnant too. Amazing. 

Ever done a MOOC? The whole world seems to be doing one. In fact, everyone's online, isn't that the only way we all want to learn now?

I'm here to find out how we learn by doing it this way. I just have to remember that it's not a reality for everyone...yet!!

I'm part of group 2 of the EDCMOOC foundation quadblogging brigade. Very sensible, beginning 7 days before Christmas. Luckily I have decided on a non consumeristic approach so the fact that I have not bought any presents to date shouldn't pose a problem for combining blogging with (lack of) preparation this year!

So that in mind, hi to Nigel, Willa and Kelcy, my fellow first time quadbloggers.

I live in Australia (born in Scotland, Aussie accent), about 100km south west of Sydney in a picturesque district called the Southern Highlands. Cool climate, European gardens, slow life, rural, conservative, safe. In another life, I was a molecular biologist, then a restaurateur for a short while before my husband embarked on a 16 year career in the media (in which I played a major supporting but backstage role) which led to all things TV, publishing, teaching, travel, marketing and the superficial fluff that comes with the territory. 

A determination to head back to academic life led me to Integrated Human Studies and the decision to do a PhD, something I almost embarked on before changing tack all those years ago. 

I am now part of a teaching team of 3: Prof. Neville Bruce, Mark Paynter (fellow PhD candidate) and myself, co-ordinating the only fully online course at the University of Western Australia, in which a bit like Coursera courses, we have graduate students from all over the world drawn from a wide range of professions: from medico's to barristers, to professors at other institutions, dancers, artists, scientists, engineers, film producers, town planners... you name it. And in keeping with the whole online experience where distance exists only in the mind, I live on the other side of the continent to Neville, (a 5 hour flight to Perth) and Mark lives a 5 hour drive south of Perth. We've all met on more than one occasion, but that seems immaterial. We are in daily contact with each other and with our highly engaged student community.

So, I am educating the well educated, and educating myself at the same time, social constructivism in action.

I have done one MOOC, Introduction to Sustainability, which I did in tandem with a friend from ANU, and we both loved. It filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge for the content I am teaching in IHS, and gave me a student perspective of the MOOC experience. EDC is my second MOOC, and I'm not sure if it because I want to wallpaper my office with coursera certificates or whether I just love the brain stimulation, but I've enrolled in several more for 2013. Who needs a PhD anyhow...

Like most of us off and running way ahead of time, the sharing of ideas, resources and the whole social experience is giving me a lot of food for thought. My blog is initially a learning journal, now morphing into a quadblogging tool and eventually whatever it is required to be after January 28. 

I have several wordpress sites, so thought I'd try blogger this time. It's a little cluttered and homely. I prefer the sleek lines of most wordpress sites and not really drawn to blogger, not even my own, and I keep changing the theme, hoping for a miracle. But still boring. 

So as an introductory first quadblog, I hope this gives you guys an idea of my eLearning background. In earlier posts, maybe the storify one, there are links to flickr, other blogs and links if you are interested.

NB: I wanted to comment on this post but it won't let me. So... fellow quadbloggers, I've just read it the next morning, with a critical eye. I would tell my own students, what was the point of this post? Did the introduction engage the reader to keep going? Did it have a conclusion? By my own writing criteria, this is a pretty poor effort! I never returned to the original concept.

What can we learn from this:

  1. writing with some real people in mind might help create a more disciplined approach to writing..dont know if this is good or if it will impinge on free flowing thought
  2. if one is to take up space, be it bytes, brain energy, paper, time slots, it should done be with some  considered thought, not some self indulgent, poorly planned, badly expressed random stuff
  3. stick to one point in a post, give it a beginning, a middle and an end
That's it, I'm going to resubmit, but later!


  1. Hi Angela
    In answer to you first question no I have never been pregnant, maybe I have just been nluckt, who knows!
    I enjoyed this post and it is good to get some biography of people I am working with.
    You seem to have led an interesting life to date and obviously have a passion for teaching and learning.
    Regarding point 2. I think random can often be quite liberating but I see what yopu are driving at.

    The writing style in my posts is almost conversational but I do try to stick to a theme, or one point as you suggest, but that is not always possible as my thought process sometimes takes me to strange and wonderfull places.

  2. Was everyone else nluckt too?!

    Thanks Nigel, yes, I think my life got more interesting when I left academia first time round, and then 4 kids and a broad life experience gave me some skills to arrive at teaching a little later. It's actually mentoring I am more interested in, not sure if it is the same. Topic for another post perhaps.

    I like your writing style, and I would prefer to keep my blog conversational too. I think we all get enough opportunity for formal writing in the rest of life and here, the freedom to drift to wherever the mind wants to go is probably more important.

    However, it have rewritten this post, actually it's totally different, but it sticks to the first point, and I will try to keep them short and if the topic wanders (as it often does), I might make it a new post. See how it evolves.

  3. Angela, Blogger may be ugly but you make up for it with great visual interests. I totally ignored the surroundings as the images captured my mind. I enjoyed the post although I don't know how much it may have changed. I like your three points but I don't think all of them are necessary for a good post. But which is most important is hard to say - maybe that even varies.