Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is running the course?

The course has been developed and will be delivered/maintained by James Michie. James is currently a Leader for Media Studies & Key Stage Four English at The Chalfonts Community College, an ‘Outstanding’ school in Buckinghamshire, UK. He is a passionate learner, currently in the final year of an MA in Education. His primary areas of interest are ‘in(ter)dependent learning’, ‘educational technologies’, ‘assessment for learning’ and the future of education, particularly models of learning based around the web and distance education. You can find out more about James via his blog’s about page.

2. How long does the course last?

The course runs for six weeks. The first week is an orientation week and serves as an introduction to the themes and structure of the course. The following five weeks have a specific skill focus.

3. Who is this course for?

The course is open and by that fact, anyone can participate. However, the resources that will be used in the course are quite academic and are specifically targeted towards learners who are considering studying towards A-Levels or beyond.

4. Why should I enrol in #crit101? What do I get out of it?

Participating in #crit101 will potentially help you to achieve the following:

  • develop a set of skills that used across all of your subjects
  • engage in new ways of learning that you are likely to encounter at FE, HE or within your chosen career
  • learn to be a more in(ter)dependent learner
  • give you a way of setting yourself out from the crowd when applying for sixth form/college or university/jobs
  • give you that something extra to discuss at interviews
  • have skills and attributes, that are not always assessed, acknowledged in a more formal way

5. Is this a case study?

Yes. This course is part of a Masters level research project, seeking to answer the following question:

“To what extent can virtual courses support the development of independent learning beyond ‘real time’ curriculum delivery?”

You can find out more by reading the research proposal.

6. If this is part of a case study, will all participants’ data be used.

Yes. All participants will be asked to complete pre-course and post-course questionnaires  This data will be used as part of the study. However, a focus group will also be selected from within the course and they will be notified that they have been selected. They will be asked to participate in post-course interviews and discussions. Those selected will have the choice to opt out.

7. As participants in the case study will our anonymity be maintained?

Yes it will. Obviously the course is open and online so anything shared and discussed is open to public viewing. However, in terms of the case study, all data will be handled with care and participants’ real names will not be used.

8. If I complete the course, what will I get to show for it?

Successful completion of each week’s assignment will result in the issuing of a digital badge. The badge contains meta-data pertaining to the course participated in and activities that resulted in you achieving the badge. There is be a badge for each skill and one final badge to show that you completed the entire course. These can be displayed on a webpage, blog or online CV. A full list of the badges that can be earned by participating in #crit101 can be found here.

9. Why do I need to have a blog and Twitter account to participate?

The course is inspired and modelled on the recent growth of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) within Higher Education. As such, its purpose is to investigate how effective a course like this could be in developing in(ter)dependent learning skills in students who are in Sixth Form or Further Education. MOOCs take place entirely online and commonly involve the following key attributes: collaboration, discussion, sharing and assessment. As such, blogs act as a space for sharing and assessment, Twitter as a space for discussion and collaboration. They are integral to the learning approach of the course.

10. How do I keep up to date with the course?

Updates will appear on the blog and on Twitter. You can subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed using an RSS Reader such as Google Reader; or you can follow the course leader via Twitter: @jamesmichie; or by using the course hashtag: #crit101.

11. What is the course content like, is it always going to involve a lot of reading?

Each week includes an introductory video lecture which will introduce the main concept for that week. There is a page for each week of the course. These pages include a short preamble and then a series of links. These will be made up of reading material: blog posts, articles, research; as well as video, audio and other related media. The amount will vary depending on the topic. After each Twitter discussion an archive of the tweets will also be made available for participants who were unable to join in.

12. Will I always be working on my own?

No. Each week you will be asked to write a reflective post which is a personal activity. However, most of the assignments are collaborative, sometimes in a small group and other times in a pair. The weekly Twitter discussion is included to foster interaction between participants. Moreover, you will be part of a comment group, giving other participants feedback on their assignments and progress.

13. How will I receive feedback during the course?

In the main, feedback will be given in the form of comments on your blog posts. However, you will also receive feedback informally during Twitter discussions. Feedback will come from your fellow participants each week. To facilitate this in a manageable way, you will be put into a comment group. This means you will only have to read 3-4 other participants work. You will also receive feedback from the course leader.

14. I’m using Tumblr how do I receive feedback on my blog posts?

Tumblr does not have comments built in but receiving feedback and discussing the concepts encountered during the course is very important. Therefore, we recommend that you install the Disqus comment system on your Tumblr blog. It is free to sign up and is very easy to install.

15. What if I can’t attend the Twitter discussion?

The Twitter discussion is an important part of the course as it is an opportunity to share ideas. However, if you are unable to attend, an archive of the tweets will be published shortly after the end of the discussion.

16. What happens if I don’t complete an assignment or blog post?

Failure to complete an assignment will result in you not achieving the related badge. However, you can still continue with the course. Moreover, you can go back and complete a missed assignment at any time. This is tied directly to the independent nature of the course. To earn your #crit101 badge, you must attain all of the other badges.

17. How do you know if I have completed an assignment or blog post?

When you enrolled on the course you provided a blog address where you will publish all of your work. All participants blogs are syndicated with this one. You are required to tag your posts with #crit101, this ensures that anything you publish that is related to the course will also be published here.