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Week one was an exciting success. I purposefully made something this week and received tremendous feedback from the #teachtheweb community.

We were asked to “make” as our homework for week one. Making can be intimidating, especially if you are intending to publish what you are making. Thankfully, the Teach the Web group built in specific constraints, a clear purpose, and powerful tools for the work.

We were tasked with building an introduction of ourselves that could be published or shared. We were then directed to the possible tools to use and some outstanding models.

I used Ankit Gadgil’s profile, built on the Mozilla Thimble platform, as my model. It thankfully became clear to me what my project could become and how to accomplish my goal. I started with the profile template and plugged away manipulating the “html” and “css.” I made some design choices to best present the information that I wanted to display. I “hacked” the code dropping in <br />, margins, padding, even attempting (and failing) <float>. I added classes and attributes through the page. Just as I felt I was getting my mind around <div>, I pinged the Div Master badge.

image of Div Master badge

Spending those couple of hours coding was not my preferred activity for a Friday night, but I had to finish my homework before a weekend of play. Finishing the work was productive and rewarding.

The incredible bonus to the delight of making were the responses received from “mentors” on Teach the Web. Chad Sansing, Paul Oh and Doug Belshaw, mentors of mine, linked to and commented on my work. The inspiration of this is akin to the feeling I received from James Michie through his comments on my work during the Crit101 course.

I am awed by the care that these educators share in open courses. I am stunned by the value in content aggregation, assignment building, and feedback openly available in open courses like Teach the Web.

Week one was a success. I am excited for what is in store for the rest of this course.

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I have just signed up for a new MOOC (Massively Open Online Course): Teach the Web. After the incredible experience with CRIT101, I am very excited. This course offering is very serendipitous for me because I have some time availible for continued learning and I have a direct purpose to which to apply my learning.

In the fall, I get to take advantage of a new teaching opportunity that has been long in the making. I am going to teach two sections of a course titled “Information, Literacy, and Technology.” This will be the first elective from the English Department offered at Corning Union High School. It is very exciting.

Over my teaching career, I have followed and developed my interests in literacy, technology, coding, development, and publishing. I have applied learning in these fields to my craft. Teach the Web will help me connect to others who have the same interests and goals. It will help me develop compelling curriculum. It will help me clarify objectives for my students and myself.

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Posted by & filed under #crit101, Reflection.

I have enjoyed the course of developing my interdependent skills, because firstly it was unlike anything I have taken part in before. I have learnt that the world of online courses is one that I should explore further, and that the badges are a good acknowledgement of your achievements. I found my first experience of a online course good and I am therefore keen to try others. 

I believe my progress as an independent learner has progress some what, because I was encouraged to go away and conduct research and blog posts by my own with self motivation. I think this was a good achievement because only a number of the participants managed to complete the course this far. 

As for my interdependence, especially working with those that I don’t know, has improved greatly. Due to the weekly time constraints I was encouraged to take control and allocate positions within the group. This skill is not something I perhaps would have previously always done in the past. I have definitely learnt that greater efficiency within a project is division of labour and working online at the same time.

Clearly I have gained the new skills taught in each of the weeks themes, which are already helping me with school work, such as evaluations. But I have also acquired greater leadership skills within a group and time management skills. These will be especially important to me in higher education. 

Thank you very much James Michie for creating #crit101, I definitely found it beneficial! 

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What challenges did you face and how did you respond to them?

One challenge I faced throughout the course was uploading and sending my video (week 5) to my other group members. I found this difficult as editing and uploading videos is a totally new skill. I responded to this difficulty by asking my teacher for help and then googled the advice they gave me. I then watched a you tube clip on how to convert videos. This helped me as I was then able to upload my video clip and I learnt a skill for the future. 

What obstacles got in your way and how did you get around them?

An obstacle I faced was I was away for one week and it was difficult to still participate in the activity whilst being away. I overcame this difficulty by managing my time and prioritising the task. I completed the task by doing little bits at a time. 

How much effort did you put into the course and what did you get out of it?

I put a lot of effort into the course and tried to make every weeks assignment the best i could make it. From this I have learnt lots of new vocabulary and learnt to read much more complex material. I have also learnt to be adaptable to every task I come across

What feedback (criticism) did you receive and how did you take it?

I received criticism that in week two we didn’t have any secondary knowledge. We lacked secondary knowledge as we lacked teamwork. Overall, I did most of the asssignment and I though that another team member would have added to my work. Instead, one member of the team just put my primary evidence into a table. I found that week 2 in particular I did majority of the work. I responded, to this criticism by reading articles on triangulation and the best ways to find and attach secondary evidence. 

What success did other participants have and how did that make you feel?

In week 5 Nadia edited our groups video extremely well and to a very high standard. As I was so impressed with the final video i sent her a message on the group document saying how good I thought it was and telling her how well she had done.

Your progress as an in(ter)dependent learner?

Overall my progress as an independent learner has been good as i have had to manage my own schedule and complete all of the tasks to my own accord. Although, the first few weeks i found the in(ter)dependent aspect difficult as I wasn’t very confident in starting the discussions. Instead, I would just wait for other team members to start it. Although, in week 5 I made a great effort to get involved in discussions as give some ideas. I found this really helped my confidence and my input into the group task. 

What you believe you gained out of completing the course (skills, attributes…?)

I think I have gain a sense of self motivation and my confidence levels have improved in teamwork situations where I do not know anybody else. I have also developed my reading skills, as I have read different genres of writing. As well as that, I have expanded my vocabulary as majority of the articles were more sophisticated then ones I would normally read. 

What you will take away with you and how/where you think you will use it?

I will take away with me the self motivation and determination to find my own answers. I think I will use these skills in A levels or work life where independent learning is key. Also, I have learnt how to work in teams with strangers and be confident to voice my own views. I think I will use this is later life when applying for a job or when I am in a working environment. 


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This week’s project involved working in a group of three to complete a collaborative video under the title of: Chicken or Egg?
The assignment was quite unusual and challenging as it involved the 3 of us creating different parts of a video and then merging them together. As neither of us had ever had any experience making videos before, it was certainly interesting!
Firstly, we had a discussion to decide what each of us would contribute to the video, and decided on 3 main subjects: Theology, Science and the Cyclical View of Time. 
I took on Theology and the different ideas religion has about whether the chicken came first or the egg. For example, from a creationist’s point of view, (religions such as Christianity) God create all animals in one day. This would include the chicken. Therefore, the chicken came before the egg.

Unfortunately, I had some technical difficulties when attempting to share my video and therefore my part has not been added to the final project. However, making my part of the video itself was useful in helping me become a more interdependent learner as collaborating with strangers and learning to use tools outside of what I would normally refer to has given me the opportunity to explore all areas of learning. 

The final video link is:

 http://bit.ly/crit101-chickens