Moving ALS online
Wednesday saw Teacher Angelyn and yours truly at the Barangay Loyola Heights Learning Center brainstorming the movement of ALS to the internet through eLearning. Thinking about this issue made me realize that this is truly our role as the National University: not to teach students directly, but to help institutions such as the ALS to create quality learning environments online.
I suggested that we come up with a draft proposal first before meeting everyone else for the project, and Teach readily agreed. The project already has the go signal from DepEd QC, DepEd BALS, and UPOU Faculty of Education, so its a go-go-go already :-)
Pilot ALS Online for ALS QC
Background of the issue:
We have to paint a picture of the ALS QC as a big, diverse group of mobile learners with different needs, situations, and abilities. Within this group is a small cohort of students who are already independent learners with a capacity to use digital technologies for learning. This will be the target learners for the pilot offering. To start off, we will set a cap of 300 students, based on student characteristics (how to measure?) and ALS facilitator recommendations. Having an e-Learning ready student cohort will minimize the need for technical support and allow the ALS Online team to concentrate more on delivery of materials rather than student support (but this is seen as a limitation to the pilot and one which should be considered if eventually offered to a larger number of learners).
1. ALS QC demographics: Learning centers, Institutions and organizations involved, number of students and student demographics.
2. Need to review the research of Dr. Flor on BALS.
Advantages of putting up an Online ALS for QC, from the POV of:
1. Learners: self-paced, access, multimodal, learners community, online portfolio
2. Parents (if applicable): can also be included as learners in community, can monitor children's work
3. ALS Facilitators: Record keeping and follow up of learners, can track learners even if they are mobile, can track and highlight assessments, can add online resources to existing
4. BALS: Record of learners and learning process, can study learner behavior, can assess modules and effectivity for online offering, can share online modules and eSkwela learning objects with Bureau of Secondary and Elementary Education.
5. DepEd QC: Can benefit from online modules and online record-keeping of facilitators. Can use Online ALS modules for online and residential classes.
Are there any more benefits?
Draft set-up (This is actually based on the concept for EdeN Education eNetwork that Profs Aleta Villanueva, Bobby Figueroa, and myself have envisioned last year but have yet to put up for UPOU.)
The ALS Facilitators already have in place a system of taking in learners on a residential basis. For the pilot, it is practical to keep this residential system in place but with the view of eventually putting up an online system. Here are some aspects we would like to see online:
A Welcome page where you would find the Login Page as well as news and announcements and links to the magazine.
1. Online FLT
2. Online chat-based system of putting up an Independent Learning Agreement and interview for RPL
The RPL and ILA results will be posted on the Student's moodle Profile page. The Student's moodle Profile Page can be customized for ALS learner particularities. An area should be reserved for Badges that the ALS Facilitator would give to the Learner once the learner has finished a module or a particular interim or terminal assessment. There would be no need for grades because the badges will take the place of grades.
A Learning Portal page is the next step where the learner can access any of the four learning environments:
1. ALS modules (one icon for each of the 5 strands) portal
2. Learning Community Forum
3. Online ALS Magazine. Highlights ALS activities, badges earned by students, online and F2F activities, etc.
4. Learner's Personalized Learning Environment. The student's blog and website can be part of this page. This page can also be linked to the student's about.me site. Google, Twitter, RSS feeds, and FB for learning. This is not a requirement for the Pilot, but it could follow.
Each icon in the ALS modules portal would lead to the learning strand page. The learning strand page would ask the student which language they would prefer. Each language has a particular icon/color code. Upon choosing the language, the learner enters a clickable mindmap or list of modules available. The student the clicks on a module to enter the module site. List can be color-coded for Basic Literacy, Elementary, or High school level. We hope that artwork can also be created for the modules, as well as introductory video to explain what the module is about.
Each module is accessible as a moodle class site. This is already in place.
Academic support would be offered off-moodle. There should be a button within the course site for learners to click when they encounter problems with comprehension. This button can either lead to an online chat session with an ALS facilitator or ALS volunteer (co-learner, parent, whatever), or to the Learning Community Forum for learners or facilitators to answer.
Facilitators can be taught to add resources to the moodle class sites related to the modules. But they are not required to behave as FICs. i.e., An NGO working with a particular interest group (i.e., young parents) can put up a forum in the Learning Community, as well as add videos and related material to the modules in the moodle site. Another alternative is to put up a similar moodle site with materials particular to their interest group.
Eventually, facilitators can also sign up non-Online ALS learners within the online ALS system as a means to keeping track of learner activity (i.e., which modules the learner has already finished, etc.)
Facilitators can have a class list where learners in their Learning Centers are listed, and the facilitator can track learner activity and progress.
Students and Facilitators and the moodle Admin can be trained for online learning by the UPOU through a MOA (should be signed by February 2013).
The Online ALS can be piloted as soon as the important pages have been put up and the facilitators have been briefed and students have been chosen. A review of the pilot Online ALS can be done 2 months, 6 months, and a year hence.
We still have a loooong way to go, but baby steps will get us there. For those who want to join the group, please let us know!