Communities of Practice Online (CoPo)

Communities of Practice Online (CoPo)

Monday, August 23, 2004

The importantance of relevance for motivation - Learning by Playing: Games in your WebCT Course

This course was delivered online via WebCT as part of the University of Calgary e-Learning Conference. While the facilitators did a fantastic job with this course I did not complete the course. Why?

The course was an online course on how to set up games in a WebCT Online course using Quizmaster. I thought this would be very relevant our Faculty utilises WebCT and has access to the Quiz master software. However the facilitators, while trying to make the course as interesting as possible asked the participants to pretend we were part of a group that was trying to stop endangered animal species. We were required to break into groups and create a website based on our research on these animals. First of all while yes, I am concerned about how we as a human race are endangering some species, I do not have a week to research this topic. Secondly, we were asked to create a web page - many participants did not have those skills (the facilitators did give us a link to many tutorials on how to do this!), finally we were required to go in and research tigers, elephants etc.

While I thought it was a unique idea and 'fun' at the beginning I quickly realised that in one week I would not be able to finish researching this topic, let alone learn how to create a complete web page from scratch - oh yes I forgot to mention we were asked to break in groups and collaborate on the development of the webpage. WHEN, was I going to learn how to create games. This course was only allocated nominal hours of 8 hours over a 5 day period!!!!

So I did withdraw after the second day. The faciliators did direct me to their final notes which I was able to downloard. It was a fantastic booklet that they have produced which is a step by step instruction guide on how to develop and use many great games including 'Who wants to be a Millionaire'.

So while I realise the instructors were trying to make the course 'fun' I think it is vital teachers remember that students today are time poor so it is best to keep to the topic. I like their concept but I think it would have worked better if we as participants had to research 'Games in Online courses'.

So while I did not complete the course, I did learn what I had set out to ie. 'how to set up games in your WebCT course' and also more importantly this highlighted to me the importance of keeping courses relevant. This would also apply in any CoPs. Yes, while most feedback is telling me to make CoPs fun, any activity or information still must be relevant.

Does anyone else have any examples similar to this one?


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