This blog post is one part of the series “learning diary” for a course at my university.
Goal of this report is to take and rate a online learning unit. For the third learning unit we should take either a webinar or a MOOC. I participated in the course Design 1o1 Redux - Part 2: My House from the Iversity platform.
Short synopsis of the unit:
The course “Design 1o1 Redux – Part 2: My House” was the second of three courses on the platform Iversity created by the Design 1o1 Community. The target group was everyone who is interested in learning some basic design attitudes.
For eight weeks every day an email with a task was sent to all participants (I only attended one week). The mail (and the corresponding page on the Iversity platform) consisted of a short video (~15 seconds) with an abstract content. The content (mashups of drawing and images) was accomplished by a short introductory text.
The task for every day was written in a *.pdf file which consisted of four to six pages. Additional to the task there have been added some background information, learning goals, reasoning (“Why do we do this?”) and questions to interest one further.
All tasks were related to “My House” and in the one week I attended to the topic “My Room”. The overall goal of this week was to create some pictures in a Minecraft-like world and upload these pictures to Instagram (see them here).
After the first week all participants were asked to grade seven fellow participants based on six categories and three sub categories each. The grading criteria had been predefined. Two weeks after the start of this course every grading participant received their own grading.
Reflection on your personal learning experience
I choose the course to learn something I didn’t had the faintest clue of. I hadn’t had contact with any design related topics beside software design. Therefore, I’ve been curious what I’ll have to do as well what I’ll learn.
The first task had been trivial (installing a Minecraft-like game, finding a good place for our room and make three screenshots which should be uploaded). Yet even on this trivial task I learned to transport ideas to other environments. It took me a while to find a “good” place for my room, mostly because I didn’t know what I was looking for, until I found it. My perfect place needed to be at the shore and a village needed to be in sight.
I learned to transport my room in another world. This world hadn’t had everything I needed but I found the abstract concept I was looking for.
The second task was to measure our own room and transport this in the Minecraft-like world. The participants were asked to take on of the blocks from the world and define a measurement for all dimensions. Also we were asked to make an image with our rooms overall proportions. I created that one in Excel, using different border styles to create a folding instruction of my room.
I learned about myself that I’m missing some key skills in image manipulations. And that I’m a very used to Excel. Also I choose to take the default measurement of Minecraft (1m x 1m x 1m) which wasn’t a good Idea.
For the third task we created a “colour palette” of all blocks we wanted to use in the construction of our room. This palette then should be used to create our boundaries or walls of the room.
I learned that I had no clue about colours and how they work together.
The fourth task was an abstraction task. The participants were tasked to take an object of their room (a lamp, a chair, etc. …) and abstract this object in the Minecraft-like world, honouring the measurements of the second task and not using different material other than the palette from the fourth task.
I learned to abstract my room… Given my colour palette and the measurements my abstractions needed to be… very abstract. Two blocks were my desk; another block my PC…
The final task was to “step into the Minecraft-like room”. With some kind of image editing we were tasked to integrate us in our newly created room. I replaced the Minecraft arm one always can see in the game with a picture of my own arm.
I learned how to make my Minecraft world more “real” with replacing my hand. That way the real world and the Minecraft world had been connected in some way.
After one week of this course I was asked to rate seven other participants. After seeing the other contributions, I found out, I really am an uncreative guy. There have been extremely creative images on the submitted pages, both from a technical view (how they created the images, the quality of the implementation) as well as the conception view (interesting ideas, very abstract topics).
I learned that there are many different ways to interpret the task. I’ve seen some good contributions which had been so essentially different to mine, although we all had the same task.
Did you achieve the stated learning goals?
The learning goal was to “Develop some basic design attitudes for better understanding the mechanics of today’s world”. I think this goal (or better, the achievement of the goal) is very hard to measure. I definitely learned some design ideas. Yet I wouldn’t dare to claim that I now understand the mechanics of today’s world better.
On the other hand, this is the stated learning goal for the whole eight-week course, so maybe I would achieve the goal in the next seven weeks. But honestly I doubt that. The tasks are too abstract for me to get connected to any real world mechanics.
Nonetheless I learned some things about myself and my abilities. At least that was a good thing.
Did the given time suffice?
The time frame which is given by the “Didaktics of Media” course for our e-learning assessments is around 90 minutes. I did not manage to get this course done in that time frame. The assumed workload of the Iversity course “Design 1o1 Redux – Part 2: My House” itself is between four to seven hours. I needed 5 hours and 30 minutes to complete all tasks plus the time needed to evaluate my peers (additional 30 minutes). The assumed time from the Iversity course is sufficient to finish the course (albeit other participants maybe took longer, judging by their high quality contributions.
Comment on the design - what was good, what could be made better?
The design of the course was satisfying. The many small tasks and the intermediate feedback (other people in the course “like” your Instagram images) had been a nice touch. The tasks build up one another and this motivates you to not skip a task.
Also the theme was nicely integrated in all tasks. All task revolved around “My Room” (and with the next weeks-tasks) the overall course will take the “My House” topic in consideration.
One of the drawbacks of the design had been the *.pdf files. They have been to big (or the plugin used to display them was to slow). The site often froze for several seconds if the *.pdf was used.
Positive and negative aspects of the contents of the unit
- The tasks have been described in detail (what to do, where to upload, how to tag)
- The allocated time was sufficient
- The tasks have been very divers (building, abstraction, image manipulation, drawing…)
- The *.pdf watcher in the platform was slow (maybe to big)
- The *.pdf files were very cluttered. Lots of images, different colours, the background wasn’t ideal (see next image).
- The grading was not ideal. The given grading criteria discriminated the really creative people contributions.
- The introductory videos had no meaning to me.
Grade the course on a scale of 0-10.
I would grade this course with a seven out of ten. I was satisfied with this course in overall, but I did not reach the stated learning goal (not even 1⁄8 of the learning goal, as I did only one of eight weeks). Maybe my rating is too harsh in this case but I assumed a bit more. In the end I used Minecraft as a tool to transport my room in another world. That was not what I assumed when I read about “Develop some basic design attitudes”.
It was the first time I uploaded something to Instagram but it was a nice way to show everyone his work and see the work of the other participants.
Update: This was my first post written with the Open Live Writer of which I heard from Scott Hanselman. I needed to update some small format bugs.