Sunday, March 30, 2008

Week starting 8 April 2008

The introduction to principles of sustainability module has now moved to the group project stage. You should all have now received notice of the group that you have been assigned. If you haven't please get in touch with David ASAP.

With respect to the rest of the course, just keep on working through the learning modules and assessments.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Introduction to Principles of Sustainability


  • Progress of the class
  • Introduction to Principles of Sustainability
  • Elluminate (again)


In this type of online learning it’s usual to feel a bit overloaded with information to start with. This has been coming through in some of the feedback that I’ve gotten from you - Too many different things to keep track of, hard to find your way around, etc. Luckily, this does get easier after a period of time, which some people are already finding.

On the upside, many people seem to be enjoying the fact that they can study at a time that suits them, and some people are enjoying learning about the use of computers, or having new online experiences.

I’ve started receiving assignments in from some people - thanks for that.

If you’re falling behind please take steps to remedy this now before it gets too late.

If you’re struggling with technology, please ensure that you plug into some of the support options which are available to you. Me, helpdesk, community learning centres, etc.

Introduction to Principles of Sustainability

This week we will start our Introduction to Principles of Sustainability module, and this will run over the period 17 March - 4 April.

Task 6 requires you to watch an online video - The Story of Stuff, takes notes on it, then work collaboratively with your classmates to build up a comprehensive set of notes on a page within the Google Group. To access this page log into the Google group, and look under pages for The Story of Stuff.

Please note that the task says “Add two points to the google document”.

  • I have had to change the task to working on a Google group page rather than a google document (as stated in the assessment task)
  • Do not add more than two points. You’ll make it more difficult for your classmates.

Later in the week I will assign you to the group of students which you work with in the second part of the assessment. At least one person in each group will live outside of Dunedin, so that you will need to use the online communication options available to you.


I sent an email out to the people who have not yet attended an Elluminate session last week, and only two of these people have gotten back to me - thanks Shannon & Hannah. I’m planning to run one more introduction to Elluminate session. So that we can organize this I need the dates & times that you are all available. Can you please answer the email I sent you ASAP.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Week 3 - Consolidation

Main Topics
  • Where are we in the course?
  • Online communication difficulties
  • Elluminate
  • Assessments, Policies, Information
  • Windows Live Spaces

Where are we in the course?

I would like to get started on Introducing Principles of Sustainability either this week or next week, but before we start on this, people need to have some familiarity with searching for information on the web. This is one of the reasons that I’ve asked you to complete a survey for me.

At this point, 6 students have answered my email. The results are telling me

  • The online learning experience is well within these students capabilities
  • These students are progressing through the learning modules well, and are mostly about where I expected the class to be
  • All respondents have completed the connect to and surf the internet learning resource

I’m not sure that these students represent the entire class, so I’ve decided to hold off on making my decision until we have at least 12 responses (half the class).

Can you please make it a priority to visit the survey, and give me your perspective?

In the meantime, I suggest that you should continue spending time working through the learning resources, and completing your assessment tasks.

Please note that the learning resources - Use a Wordprocessor & Use local & distance library services have not yet been completed. I’m getting there.

Online communication difficulties

There has been one comment that at least one of you is finding it difficult having to keep track of so many different websites, and how they all relate.

To clarify things - the communication channels that we are using are email & Pageflakes. Pageflakes is now the primary channel. The email group is now primarily used for discussion.

In addition to this, there are websites that you will be directed to from Pageflakes (Blackboard, elluminate, etc.). From time to time you will need to return to a website periodically (e.g. Pageflakes, Study Skills). If this is the case, you should save the site to your favourites.

So all you really need to keep track of is your emails & Pageflakes. During your study you will build a library of internet resources (in your favourites) that you can use to help you when you need them (e.g. Study Skills pages).


Wednesday, 12th March 1-2pm

Click on this link to login to the session
(at least 30 minutes before the session starts)

From the responses I’ve had, it seems that Wednesday, 1-3pm is the window that is available to all of us.

The purpose of this session will just be getting you familiar with getting access to and making use of the communication tools in our virtual classroom. It is a requirement of your assessment you are able to log in, and communicate using both the text and the voice functions of elluminate. If you’ve already done this, then there’s no need for you to participate. If you’d like to anyway, you’re welcome of course.

We may need to schedule an evening elluminate session for those part-timers who are working during the day (I'm talking about you Sam). :-)

Assessment, Policies, Information

There is a page of information containing information that you might find useful being constructed on WikiEducator. (Remember to add it to your favourites)

  • General information on the course
  • Assessment schedules
  • Departmental policies & forms

Please note that this is a work in progress. If you go looking for something which isn’t here, please get in touch with me & I’ll see what I can do.

Windows Live Spaces

I’ve had three people reply to my request of “friendship” in Spaces. This really means that you are happy for me to visit your space, and receive updates about what you’re posting to it. If you’ve got a request from me, can you please reply to it. If you haven’t got a request from me, can you please “Invite” me.


It's getting to the point in the course where I really need to know what stage you are all at in order to give directions. I've put together a survey to assess this.

Could you please go to this survey, and fill it out.
I'll get back to you later this afternoon with what you need to be getting on with this week.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Week starting 3/3/08 – Expanding the communication channels


The class is predictably at different stages in the process of moving through the Study Skills course. Some are finding it fairly comfortable, and slow-going, whereas others are struggling, and feeling out of their depth. Such is the way with computers. I’ve intentionally kept the main communication channel to the email group up to now.

Aim - Expanding the Communication Channels

This week I’d like to expand things to include the pageflakes course hub, MSN Messenger and Elluminate.


How much time are you spending on your studies at present?

This is a full-time course, which means that you should expect to spend approximately 40 hours per week on it. You might choose to study from 8am – 5pm every weekday, or you might choose to study at other times that suit you. At present that time should be split between Study Skills & Basic Massage. Over the next week you should aim to spend approximately 30 hours (6/day) on Study Skills and 10 hours (2/day) on Basic Massage. The study skills workload is clumped at the start of the course to give you some time to get familiar with the technology platforms that we are using, and to gain some skills for learning.

After the next block, Anatomy 1, Bioscience 1, Communication 1 & Fundamentals of Massage will start which will mean that you have less time for Study Skills.

Weekly Tasks

This week you’re going to get some experience of communicating using MSN Messenger & Elluminate.

Windows Live & MSN Messenger

If you’re still working your way through getting familiar with emails & Windows Live don’t panic. This course is designed to be largely self-paced. If you’re really struggling, consider booking a time at one of the Community Learning Centres for some face-to-face support. Also remember that Helpdesk (479-6039) should be able to help you with any problems using Windows Live or MSN messenger.

Once you’ve set up your Windows Live account and have MSN messenger working on your computer, you should aim to keep these open as much as possible when your computer is on. To do this, open a separate tab or window for Windows Live. Messenger has it’s own window. Please note that using MSN is not assessed or required in this course, but it is highly recommended. It is an invaluable way of communicating with classmates & some lecturers. If someone sends you a message via MSN your computer will inform you of the message.


Our first Elluminate meeting will be on Wednesday at 1pm. To login to the meeting you will need to have completed the following Wikieducator Learning Resources.

Here is a link to the meeting. To go to the meeting, either click on this link or right-click on it select "copy link" and paste it into your web browser. It's a good idea to do this at least 30 minutes before the meeting. If you have any trouble connecting, please send an email through the course email group.

Can you please email me directly ( to let me know if you can or cannot attend. I may be able to reschedule it so let me know what times suit you.


You should also be starting to work your way through Approaches to Learning.

By the end of this week I expect that most of the class should have completed Task 5, or be well on their way to this. Again don’t panic if this isn’t true for you. It’s not the end of the world. Just make sure that you’re putting in the time that you need to put in and getting the support that you need.

Support Options

Me (479-8378)
  • Email group
  • Wikieducator
  • Direction

· Helpdesk (479-6039) for any issues related to

  • Windows
  • Windows Live
  • Your computer
  • Using Elluminate
  • Using Blackboard
Community Learning Centres or Open Access Suite
  • Face-to-face computer support for the same types of things that Helpdesk supports