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Help with this course

Activities and tools

This free course, Sustainable pedagogies, uses a variety of interactive tools to help you develop your ideas. The following pages of this guidance section should provide you with all the information you need to use these tools and approaches effectively. You may prefer not to read through all at once, but to refer back to it as necessary while you work through the course.

The main ways you will participate in this course are:

  • ‘Reflection’ activities, in which we ask questions designed to help you reflect on the ideas discussed in the course. You may find it useful to take notes about these reflections, as the ideas you have at these points will feed into later activities. It is up to you whether you take these notes on paper or as a digital file. You will not need to share these notes but they will help you when drafting our course forum posts. They will also be useful to refer to when you answer the quiz questions.
  • ‘Explore’ activities which are optional further reading activities for those who want to explore the ideas and/or pedagogies being discussed further.
  • Course forums in which you will respond to set tasks and be able to read the responses of other members of the course. Reading others’ contributions will help you think further about the ideas raised in this course, especially when the responses are from people of different backgrounds and nationalities to you. Documents, such as mind maps and photos, can be uploaded as part of your responses. For the forum activities we will sometimes ask you to post a response and then refer to at least two other participants’ responses. This may require coming back to the discussion board on more than one occasion, as posts will appear over time. You can find more information on how to use the course forums in Using the forums.

You will also be invited to engage with the following tools to help you develop your ideas and articulate your thinking:

  • Learner journal to make notes as you go through the course. All the numbered course activities and ‘Reflection’ and ‘Explore’ activities are in this file. The file is available to help you record notes and learning points that you may want for future reference.
  • Mind mapping in Activity 5.3 to help you brainstorm ideas and connect them with one another. You can do this task on paper, using Word in your learner journal, or digitally – such as using the online tool Mindmup.com. These mind maps will be for personal reference.
  • A ‘padlet wall’ task in Activity 7.1, where you can put up a virtual sticky note on which you have made concise points. This note can be seen by all course participants and you can position your note alongside other people's contributions if you think there is a shared theme or connection of some kind. Read more about how to do this in Using the padlet wall.
  • A word cloud in Units 1 and 5 that takes learner input and generates a cloud from their words. The most common words will be the biggest. It is responsive and reactive and will re-draw and resize after is has been updated.

  • Sustainable pedagogies cards – onscreen and print-friendly PDF versions are available. In Activity 8.3 ‘This is the time to act’ you are asked to conduct a learning session which can be a face-to-face or online meeting.
    • A face-to-face meeting – in this case the print friendly PDFs of the cards will be useful as they have been designed to be printed and cut out.

    • An online meeting – in this case the onscreen versions will be the most useful and will work well using a ‘share screen’ function.

The course is continuously open and is designed to take around 24 hours of study time. You may experience that some fellow learners will join or leave the interactive and collaborative areas while you are studying. However, a tutor will be moderating the site and you will always be able to interact with a group of other participants.

Next go to Using the forums.

Using the forums

Our Sustainable pedagogies badged course forums are an online discussion area where you will be invited to post comments on a topic and respond to comments made by other people. You will be asked to contribute to this forum regularly throughout the course. When you are directed to use the forum as part of an activity, look for the discussion that is titled with the corresponding week and activity number.

Please be aware that we may wish to reuse some of your forum contributions , anonymously, in future sessions of this course as examples of good practice. Email FELS-Masters-Admin@open.ac.uk if you wish to opt out of this.

To reply to a post: Click the title of a discussion in the forum to read the posts. To reply to a post, click ‘Reply’. You can edit your post up to 30 minutes after posting it – this allows you to correct spelling mistakes, for example, or amend the tone of your post if you think it could be misinterpreted.

To add an image: First make sure you have saved the image file to your computer, and then click on the image icon (an image of a mountain and sun) and select ‘Browse repositories...’. Click on ‘Browse’ so that you can locate and upload the image. Once you have selected your image, give it a description and click ‘Save image’. The image will then be applied to your post. Please ensure that you are only using images that are copyright-cleared.

To add audio: To add your post as an audio, drag and drop a .mp3 file into the attachment area.

To link to a post: Click ‘Permalink’ to obtain the web address for a specific post.

To delete a post: If the forum allows you to delete your post (for example, it is within the 30-minute edit period), click the ‘Delete post’ button. The post will remain in position but the content will be removed.

To search the forum: Use the ‘Search this forum’ box within the navigation bar at the top of each page in the forum.

To navigate: Use the ‘crumb trail’ at the top of each page in the forum to return to the forum home page. The format is: Module home page > Forum home page > Discussion.

Acceptable conduct

Please ensure that you treat all other users with respect in any comments you make, and think carefully about how others might react to what you have written. You must also ensure you do not post images of children – such as students from your classrooms – in this forum.

Here are a few tips for making valuable contributions to the online forum:

  • make the title of your post relevant and helpful
  • only use images that are copyright-cleared if you are not using you own for any reason
  • if you referring to or using text or images taken from elsewhere, make the source clear
  • avoid using sarcasm, as this can be easily misinterpreted
  • stay on topic
  • be concise
  • use appropriate language.

Using the padlet wall

The padlet wall is a collaborative space for you to share short ideas with other members of the course. You will use the padlet wall for Unit 7 Activity 7.1.

To add an item to the wall, double click anywhere on the wall. You should see a box appear in which you can write your post and give it a title. Press return and it will appear on the wall. To move it, click and drag.