Landing : Athabascau University


  • Jonathan Rempel published a blog post Unit 0 - Learning Diary in the group COMP 266 July 15, 2015 - 3:48pm
    Hey All,About Me:- Started with a year of college after highschool on Cisco networking, cable/fiber installation, and hardware/software repair- Worked as a Tech-Support Analyst for 2 years- Currently finishing up some summer courses before...
    • Welcome, Jonathan!

      Indeed, lorem ipsum would not do, unless it were a site about nonsense Latin. Part of the idea behind the course is to encourage a bit of design thinking, so what you produce needs to be fit for purpose. At least, there has to be sufficient appropriate content that we can see how and why it is appropriate. We don't mind the use of filler where you have already demonstrated that the site fits its purposes, personas and scenarios, but there always has to be some relevant content. Maybe one way you might make it fit your needs would be to create a site about the technical side? That could be a great exemplar for other students and it would be terrifically easy to generate those personas and scenarios - they are all here on this course!

      Re the grading criteria, there's a little bit of professional judgement involved (true of the authentic assessment of any creative pursuit like programming and web development) but the criteria are fairly easily applied and we have a moderation process that helps to keep things consistent. The moderation is barely needed as there's notably little (if any) discrepancy between markers, 99% of the time. On the whole, we tend to agree with the majority of student self-evaluations too, albeit rather less consistently: by the time students have learned enough to really understand what the criteria mean, they tend to be exceptionally good at identifying how well they have done. Most of the times we disagree tend to result from students prematurely submitting finished work.  One of our students has volunteered his work as an exemplar, that I will link to once it is fully ratified so that you can see one way of doing it and get a sense of what we think of it. If anyone else would be willing to share, do mention it, because I'd like to provide more examples, especially good ones! I very much want to avoid channelling anyone to take a particular kind of path, however. One of the things I am most pleased with in the design of this course is that there a millions of ways to succeed. In fairness, there are as many billions of ways to fail as there are millions to succeed, but almost all the students that complete the course take one of the successful paths, at least by the end.

      The lack of hierarchy and top-down control on the Landing is very intentional. Apart from the odd bits here and there in groups that might reflect a more rigid hierarchy, it deliberately follows two social patterns, network and set, that are substantially hierarchy-free. The form reflects the function. It's exactly because it is not neatly organized from the top down that it is worth using instead of a teacher-controlled space for the kind of work done here, where we are trying to to reduce the boundaries and barriers to the minimum and to positively encourage and nurture diversity. We don't want to make you think like us - we want to help you develop your own thinking, as well as to valorize the diversity of skills and talents of our students so everyone can stand on the shoulders of everyone else. I agree, though, it doesn't make things easy to find and it certainly feels quite confusing and chaotic at times. It's more of a fast-flowing stream, with the odd pocket of organization like an FAQ poking its head up here and there, than a carefully organized catalogue. We continue to use Moodle too, exactly because it gives us control and supports such hierarchies. Horses for courses!

      I hope you enjoy the course. It's not like most courses and it does take some getting used to, but one of the things I really love about it is that, unlike its predecessor, we often get passionate students producing masterpieces rather than simply doing what we have told them to do. Even those that are more focused on grades frequently produce amazing work: we've tried hard to align the assessment with things that are meaningful and useful. Another thing that I love is that, once the marks are in, the lessons are not forgotten but can be built upon and retained indefinitely. When it works, it really works well! If it feels confusing, or you feel lacking in direction, do use your tutor and, especially, this group to help find a useful path.


      Jon Dron July 16, 2015 - 6:50pm