LeContract presentation at the PLE Conference

July 8th, 2010

Today we are presenting the LeContract concept at the PLE Conference in Barcelona. Instead of doing presentation slides we prepared a short video. A more detailed description of LeContract is published in our paper Externalization of a PLE: Conceptual Design of LeContract (pdf). Our participation in the conference was supported by the Tiger University program.

LeContract concept map

June 9th, 2010

Main concepts of LeContract environment are described in the following concept map.

LeContract concept map

Scenario 5: Browsing the learning contracts

June 4th, 2010

Carl completed his university studies more than 10 years ago. Now when he is working as a freelancer photographer he has time to take interesting online courses from different universities. He is specially interested in foreign cultures, history, arts and architecture. He is also an active user of social networking sites.

In Facebook he notices that one of his contacts has published a learning contract in a site called LeContract. Thats seems to be interesting and Carl follows the link. He finds out that his friend is studying a web design course. He didn’t knew anything about learning contracts before. He thinks that this kind of contracts could help to keep participants motivated in online courses.

Next to the learning contract there are tags and links to other learning contracts with similar objectives. By browsing around he finds a learning contract that was created in an art history course. The woman who wrote the learning contract has published it almost a year ago. This looks like a course that Carl would also participate. In the comments he noticed also a link to the course website. Carl follows the link and finds out that it is an online course that will start again in three weeks. That is a really great news. Soon he can try to create his own learning contract.

Questions:

  • Did this scenario wake up any thoughts?
  • Is there something you would like to change in that scenario?
  • Could you image yourself to the role of the person?

Scenario 4: Creating a new template

June 4th, 2010

Diana has been using LeContract in a few courses that were running in English. In these courses they were using the default template to write their learning contracts. Now she will start a new course that will be in Estonian.

Diana knows that LeContract users are able to create custom templates in different languages or for different courses. She logs in and find quickly how to create a new template. She will add the same four fields that are used in the default LeContract template. However, she will write a more detailed help descriptions for the fields. When she is done with editing the template she will save and publish it.

She will put a link to the new template in her course blog. This way she is sure that her students will use this template to write their learning contracts.

Questions:

  • Did this scenario wake up any thoughts?
  • Is there something you would like to change in that scenario?
  • Could you image yourself to the role of the teacher?
  • What kind of structure do you use in the learning contracts?

Scenario 3: Reviewing the learning contracts

June 4th, 2010

Diana is teaching a course on learning theories. In the beginning of the course all her students wrote personal learning contracts. It was easy to find the contracts from LeContract, because all the students used the template that she created for this course.

Diana wrote short comments for all the learning contracts. With some contracts she agreed completely while with others she suggested several improvements.

Maria received an e-mail notification that the teacher has commented her learning contract. She went to LeContract and found out that her strategy to achieve the learning objectives was not detailed enough. She opened her learning contract for editing and rewrote her learning strategy. When she was done with the changes she saved the contract again.

A few days later Diana was visiting the learning contracts again. She compared the recent versions of learning contracts with the initial versions. It was possible because all the versions are saved just like a wiki page.

The students were asked to review and edit their learning contracts in the middle of the course. They wrote a comment on the current status: which objectives have they received, have they used the strategy that they planned, etc. Then they edited the learning contract if there were some necessary changes.

A final review of the learning contracts was done at the end of the course.

Questions:

  • Did this scenario wake up any thoughts?
  • Is there something you would like to change in that scenario?
  • How were you reviewing learning contracts in your courses?

Scenario 2: Writing a learning contract

June 4th, 2010

Maria is a master student who is taking a course on learning theories. In the beginning of the course all the students are asked to write a learning contract. Their teacher is suggesting to use LeContract web site to compose their learning contracts.

Maria goes to LeContract website. She explores the site for a minute and then creates a user account for herself. After logging in she finds quickly how to create a learning contract. LeContract provides learning contract templates in different languages. Maria will choose a template that their teacher suggested to use and will start writing her learning contract. The template has fields for the learning objectives, resources that she will need, strategy to achieve the objectives and evaluation criteria. There are also short help texts that explain what she could write in the learning contract.

When she is done with the learning contract she will add a few keywords that characterize her contract. It is possible to choose from the set of predefined keywords or add her own keywords. In this course she is interested in constructivism, planning to read Piaget and Vygotski.

Finally she is ready to save and publish the learning contract. She will notice that it is also possible to adjust the privacy settings, share the learning contract to social networking sites and get an embed code. When the contract is published she will copy the embed code and add it also to her study blog.

Questions:

  • Did this scenario wake up any thoughts?
  • Is there something you would like to change in that scenario?
  • Could you image yourself to the role of the learner?
  • Are there privacy issues related to the learning contracts? Can any learning contract be public?

Scenario 1: First experience with LeContract

June 4th, 2010

Diana is a young university lecturer and a PhD student in educational sciences. She has always been eager to try out various pedagogical methods. One of the methods that she is using in her courses is a personal learning contract.

Her courses are typically organized so that each student has a personal blog where s/he is reflecting on course topics. In the beginning of the course the students write a learning contract. In the contract they specify their learning objectives, resources that they will need, strategy to achieve their objectives and evaluation criteria. So far the students have written their learning contracts as blog posts. This has worked fine with some students but others need good examples and clear structure to complete their learning contracts.

Accidentally Diana reads a blog post about LeContract. This is a web page where people can write their learning contracts. Diana starts exploring the site. These learning contracts are quite similar to the ones that her students write. With each learning contract there are links to other learners with similar learning objectives. Just like Amazon has book recommendations with each book. Learning contracts can be embedded to other web sites. So the students could write learning contracts in LeContract and embed in their blog posts.

Diana thinks that she could use LeContract on her courses and creates a user account to explore the possibilities further.

Questions:

  • Did this scenario wake up any thoughts?
  • Have you used the learning contracts as a teacher or learner?
  • Did you face any difficulties when using the learning contracts?

LeContract persona Jakob

June 4th, 2010

Fourth persona is an older professor Jakob.

LeContract persona Jakob

LeContract persona Carl

June 4th, 2010

Third persona is an adult learner Carl.

LeContract persona Carl

LeContract persona Diana

June 4th, 2010

Second persona is a young university lecturer and PhD student Diana.

LeContract persona Diana