How to build a less formal online learning space

Sarah Jane Crowson

Hereford College of Arts, Folly Lane, Hereford, HR1 1LT; S.Crowson@hca.ac.uk

23rd March 2016

Abstract

Encouraging collaborative learning and the creation of meaning in a digital space may, in some instances, require a digital learning space that is not part of a traditional VLE.

Sarah and Simon’s current research at HCA uses free open source software to create a flexible collaborative learning space that can support action learning and is responsive to learner needs. This workshop aims to create a shared definition of how less formal learning spaces might be useful in a range of educational contexts.

The workshop will demonstrate how free commercial software can be used to create a participatory and collaborative online learning space which supports learners accessing academic content as part of a L5 'Critical Studies' programme. We will investigate how the site has developed as a flipped classroom and reflective space which can be adapted according to specific need and discuss how spaces such as these can support learners from non-traditional academic backgrounds. During the session a 'live' site will be designed using free open source software (see below) and developed in collaboration with delegates.

Delivery structure:

* A tour of the presenters’ non formal website

* Evaluation of how useful such a site might be in our own pedagogical practice

* Discussion of potential content.

* Live site designed and created as part of a collaborative group activity.