Personally I am interested in exploring ways of helping me manage my wellbeing as I try to cut down on the anti depressants I have been on for the last 12 years (a process that seems to have stalled around the 20mg mark). I’ve also recently been exploring the concept of happiness and what we mean when we talk about it.
Professionally I led on the exploration and implementation of online learning within YouthNet. This means I am interested in how simple online activities can help our young users make the most of the information and expert knowledge we have available and really embed positive skills and actions in their lives. After being sent the link by a blogging friend (thanks Lauren) I decided to sign up to Happify and see what it had to offer. Continue reading →
Do you ever start something new and find yourself thinking ‘I should have been doing this for ages’? I had a very strong case of that this week as I began a new Coursera course called ‘E Learning and Digital Cultures‘ online.
Last year I watched a fascinating TED talk by Daphne Koller, one of the founders of Coursera. I could identify with a lot of the learnings she spoke about. They were similar to conclusions I had reached from the initial forays into e learning I had been making at YouthNet using Moodle. These included ideas around the improved experience online learning can provide (particularly for a range of differently abled and variably focused students), the importance of a community of learners and the potential of using peer grading to scale feedback. I wrote a blog post about these ideas and how we had been putting them into action when developing our online training in support skills at YouthNet. But at the time I didn’t explore the possibility of doing a Coursera course myself.
E Learning and Digital Cultures – a metaMOOC?
I’m lucky to have had really inspiring colleagues – and in this case it was Helen Williams (@nellsberry – also blogging about the course) who told me about this particular Coursera course. It sounded enormously interesting and relevant so I leapt on board as well. And luckily, with Coursera, it’s pretty easy to leap on board. The course is a MOOC (standing for Massive Open Online Course) which means there are literally thousands of participants. While it opens and closes at a particular time and there are deadlines for our final assignment, individuals all over the world can choose when they read, watch and comment on the weekly papers, articles and films. Continue reading →
After a recent dinnertime debate was resolved using the internet, a friend of mine said wistfully
“Sometimes I just speculate indefinitely for old times’ sake”.
I expect that this is a sentiment that we all recognise – the way we approach what we don’t know and the way we develop our knowledge is changing.
So…tell me about your experiences of online learning?
This is a question I have not only been asking new YouthNet volunteers but also in meetings within the organisation. Initially the answer is often “erm, I haven’t had much”. But who hasn’t looked up an answer to a question on Google, or Wikipedia – or found a video on Youtube to show you how to reset your phone, cast on in knitting, or even get the info needed to help your child with their homework?
We use the web to research and learn without even thinking about it now. For the younger generation it’s expected and deeply embedded in much of the curriculum. Using the web to facilitate learning and training within YouthNet has been something I’ve been exploring over the last year or so. I’ve been developing online courses for YouthNet volunteers and for participants in a country wide Money Skills programme. Continue reading →
The essential skills advisors and peer supporters need for giving advice, information or support online
These are some of the basic skills that supporters and advisors find useful when working online. The support offered might be one to one (email style), peer or expert support, moderating forums or moderating real time chat. Depending on the type of support being offered I’ve emphasised certain areas or added additional advanced skills to my training. This training tends to be offered to people who are taking on a specific supporter role, rather than individuals who are part of the community. With adjustments, it can also be offered to community members to help them look after themselves and get more out of their experience online. Continue reading →
This is a write up of my thoughts, experience and findings from the In Petto conference ‘Exploring Online Peer to Peer Support’ in Antwerp. I attended this, along with a volunteer peer advisor last November.
Structures and systems for providing online peer support.
At the conference we were focusing in more depth on peer support and how this could be given online. Before giving our own workshop, we heard from a range of other organisations, each with quite different ways of offering peer support online. Continue reading →