reflective journal

June 3, 2013
by Oonagh Monaghan

Online communication and collaboration – poster design

The task for Group Two is to create a poster displaying a selection of tools for online learning. Content should include contributions from the Activity Wiki for Learning Block Two as well as any additional content you might want to add since beginning this course. All the Blackboard Group tools have been enabled and you are free to choose which ever you feel might be useful for this activity. 

The task: You will need to agree among yourselves the methods of decision making and working together as a team. The poster size and format can be anything you choose so long as it can be uploaded as single file document. You should also choose how to communicate with your group members. This is an opportunity to try Skype, a Google Hangout, set up a Facebook site or stay with traditional email. 

Collaborative online working can create a powerful learning environment but for maximum collaboration, everyone needs to feel comfortable with the chosen formats or be supported in stretching themselves to try something new. This activity is your opportunity to become tutors and manage an online learning experience among yourselves.  
The challenge is to work remotely as a team and be able to upload the poster or a link to the poster on the Activity Wiki page for Learning Block Four in two weeks time.
We are a three member group, myself, Julian Beckton and Mark Swainson.  We decided to use Google + to ‘hangout’ together using webcam and audio facilities.  We managed to talk also via email.  Initially we came up with some ideas for the content and then worked on some potential poster ideas.  My idea was to use Prezi for an animated poster which I am not sure totally fulfils the brief but hopefully does push the boundaries as to what is considered a poster in the online environment.

March 26, 2013
by Oonagh Monaghan

What is a MOOC?

I admit I hadn’t heard of a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)

I found a few relevant courses centred around online learning:

One at the Open University at

I also found a MOOC at  However, I cannot explore this one further as it has not yet started and also would involved double the work on top of the course I am doing.  It would have been interesting to do them both at the same time to compare the experience because of the similarity of topic and discussion.  My initial impression is that the Coursera site is attractive and inviting and easy to use.

I also found a course on P2PU – which is interesting.  In fact I am now registered at – this seems to be more of a dip in and out of type course and not set over a few weeks.

More about MOOCs

Watch this video:

MOOC issues discussion

A good description of a MOOC can be found at .

Some discussion around MOOCs at

I have decided to focus on looking at the materials on the Open University MOOC and I am also interested in the the digital storytelling  MOOC at . Run by Jim Groom,  learners keep their own blogs, which are aggregated together into the main course blog. There is also an assignment bank where learners suggest assignments, and a radio station that is open to anyone to use for broadcasts.




March 19, 2013
by Oonagh Monaghan

Connectivism and libraries


Extending the Learning Process: Using the Theory of Connectivism to Inspire Student Collaboration

Presented by Melissa Mallon at the Kansas Library Association College & University Libraries Section Conference 10/5/12

For years, library instruction has taken place in 50-minute class periods in the library. Librarians have traditionally demonstrated various research tools, occasionally provided students with the opportunity for hands-on practice, and then sent them back to their regular classrooms. Due to these time constraints, this method does not always allow for one-on-one instruction or interaction among students in the class. By following the underlying principles advocated in contemporary learning theories, such as connectivism, librarians can work with teaching faculty to provide students with a collaborative learning experience that extends well beyond the library classroom.

I’ve also been listening to a podcast of George Siemens on Connectivism at

We need to see education differently. (George Siemens)

We need to see library education differently.

To stop individuals being overwhelmed by information.  What can they do with it.  We need to see connections and make sense of them.  Knowledge is the particular network. Learning is creating and shaping the networks. 

Basic level: Becoming aware of something

Active connection learning (finding a journal article and making connection with it)

Blogs, twitter etc enable connection and value of the resources.

You don’t become an expert by googling something.

Long sustained involvement in networks is vital.  Then reflect.

Libraries are there to assist students to become part of the network.


March 11, 2013
by Oonagh Monaghan

Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

My first week on the course has been interesting because it is really the first time I have fully participated in an online course and I am finding it to be a very useful exercise.  I decided to use a blog to record my time on the course because I have not done a more personal blog before.  It may be possible for me to use the blog after the course has finished to expand my online footprint and use it to talk about teaching, learning, libraries, information literacy etc etc.

My overwhelming feeling in my first week of the course is that eeek the course has started and I have to get on with it on my own.   Having had no other contact with any of the other participants means that I am getting used to logging on and reading when I can, making sure I contribute and remembering everything that I need to do within the time contraints I have.  Normally I might see Julian or Sue and chat about things but so far I haven’t discussed anything face to face and I am immersing myself in the online experience.  I think I am slowly adjusting!