Tim Cunningham

Tim Cunningham

Retired (sort-of), global nomad, mad about bikes, rugby coach. Pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad.

Location Gogledd Cymru



  • Perhaps we'll see learning platforms become more 'normal' than the exception.

  • Interestingly, @StephenPhipps , my last school was in China and they had shut down since Chinese New Year. In my 4 years there, I tried to get a VLE off the ground, but no-one wanted it. Even now, teachers in that school are having to find their own way to provide support to their students. Some are using Schoology, others using EdModo and WeChat.
    I believe...

  • @StephenPhipps I tried to use Twitter on H818 but found it lacking as a reseach tool, especially trying to tap into my networking groups. Seems that International School teachers prefer other platforms.

  • Yes, Paul, I'd second that. I'm not a professional researcher either; indeed for my last module in my MA ODE, I became an amateur researcher and found it didn't really help that much. The platforms used by my network groups are LinkedIn, Facebook and, in China, WeChat. I got more out of each of these than I did with Twitter.

  • Resident for work and study; infrequent visitor for personal life

  • @SimonWright As part of my previous module H818, I chose to do my project as mini-MOOC to teach educators in the use of Open Educational Resources. The project is still only partially-developed as I had some very big questions of my own to answer. The shortened version of the story is that I set out to develop a short course on a free MoodleCloud instance....

  • I'm a resident if it is anything to do with work/study. When I was studying module H818, I had to be a resident; it is the whole point of the module.
    For my personal life, I am a visitor to the shed quite infrequently, taking out the lawnmower when the grass needs cutting (to extend the analogy even further) :-)

  • In another OU module for my MA ODE, I was asked to use Twitter to experience it in a networking setting. So I did. And with it countless hours of time evaporated for seemingly very little gain. I already had LinkedIn and Facebook groups with which I interact.
    My feelings about Twitter are that could be useful if one didn't have the propensity to...

  • I find it useful to connect with peers, so that we can share professional experiences and, sometimes, resources. I'm not sure I need to have an online identity to have students see more of my personality or providing a way to be able to experiment.

  • Yes, this is my area of reseach as well. Rather than just look at web conferencing, I'm wondering if mini-MOOCs could be used, with the facilitator available synchronously?

  • Tim Cunningham replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    I guess you'll end up with a Yes/No outcome. Maybe that's not what you want? Maybe you want to know how electronic voting might impact student learning?

  • How can a face-to-face teacher training company move its entire range of courses to an online environment? I recognize that this is not a research question; it is too broad and too vague. However, it is one of the questions that I've been considering over the past few months as I worked alongside a company that wishes such a move.

  • This is a great question. I was Principal of the Ulink College in Shanghai and we polled students on adding a Virtual Learning Environment so we could plan for contingencies such as CoViD-19. Students didn't want it!

  • Thanks Monica. Great link

  • I find Bridging the Threory-Practice divide as the more convincing article. It is backed up by examples and i'm getting more of the back story.
    Neither would convince me to use it in my teaching, however. There are already too many apps and platforms out there! I don't need another one.

  • I recently studied a Masters module H818 from the Open University. One of challenges was, in preparation for our online conference, to make our poster as accessible as we could. All these resources here were incredibly useful.

  • I think this approach is flawed in the sense that she has only considered the needs of one learner. By considering multiple personas, she could have come up with a wider scope.
    Should educators spend their precious time...? Well, Yes, that's what their precious time is for: preparing materials for learning.

  • Yes, leveling up is the way. I noted the notion of 'not providing equal access' and being open to litigation.

  • I like the idea of a signing avatar. Great idea

  • This seems a very pragmatic approach and one that I've used myself ove the years.

  • I prefer learning through diagrams, photos and videos to text. However, I can adapt. I believe that providing multiple means of representation can help many learners, not just those challenged by disability.

  • @VictoriaWilliams I'm with you on this one. I'm struggling to write something as I've not felt that Wow! factor with innovation.

  • My experiences with online learning have only been positive so far. I haven't felt excluded at all at any time.

  • You make some good points, Thalia. I know from experience that Welsh speakers can also request Welsh-speaking tutors. The OU really does support the language.

  • I like your idea of organizational policies about technology toolkits. One for the policy-makers and decision-makers in schools.

  • Hi Michael, I wonder how the course will be set up for minors. As Ron is under the age of 18, I guess that special safeguarding measures will need to be set in place. Also, I believe that tutors (who mostly are based in the UK, I guess) would need to be mindful of the 12 hour difference in time zone, especially when scheduling tutorials.

  • Yes, I wonder whether that's our focus rather than inventing fictitious people?

  • At first I thought the idea of using personas was such a revelation. I had not used this idea before and at first glance, I could see its potential. However, when I went through the exercise, I found myself designing a fictional character who had some issues - I understood this to be the whole point of the exercise: see the type of learners you might attract...

  • Isn't student testing just the fine-tuning?

  • At first I thought the idea of using personas was such a revelation. I had not used this idea before and at first glance, I could see its potential. However, when I went through the exercise, I found myself designing a fictional character who had some issues - I understood this to be the whole point of the exercise: see the type of learners you might attract...

  • This and other OU modules has opened my eyes to new pedagogies (and andragogies, I guess). This course is where I'm finding out totally new ideas

  • Yes, I'd agree with you that loss of focus could be a problem with all those shiny new toys on offer.

  • Hi Edward, what I find interesting is that when I lived and worked in Shanghai, I had a constant stream of Principals and teachers from Chinese middle schools and high schools come to my college (an international school teaching A levels and IB Diploma) to find out how incredibly successful we were at teaching Mathematics. I had foreign and Chinese teachers in...

  • Hi Jean, I guess the course needs to take into account some participants might have some very basic computer skills and that the course designers might need to provide some parallel 'self-help'-type course so that participants can upskill themselves?

  • Name: Arwel Jones
    Age: 52
    Gender: Arwel defines himself very strongly with the male gender
    Lives in Llanfyllin, north Wales. Arwel lives alone on his small hillside farm and has family living in London.
    Education and experience: Arwel is educated to Bachelors level in agriculture. He lectures in agricultural science in an agricultural college some 30Km...

  • Hi Edward, I read your persona's goals as to 'make classes for fun and engaging'. Would I be right?

  • I find this incredibly interesting and a complete 180-degree approach to the one I encountered throughout my career in education. It really does appear student-centred; far more student-centred that any of the practices that I've been involved in for the past 40 years or more.
    Teaching set curricular outcomes, such as A level and, to a point, IB Diploma I've...

  • I agree that the driving force is people; technology is one of the tools we can use.

  • Yes, I think I see things this way too. Technology as a tool; not Technology as our saviour.

  • I can see AI being used to teach basic skills to massive numbers of people. For example, some Duolingo courses are available that make language learning a lot of fun, and these courses are, I believe, underpinned by learning algorithms.

  • I believe Second Life could be very useful. It was 'before its time', I think. About 10 years ago, I was an e-learning company running online courses for IB teachers. We set up a Second Life channel in our business to see what might happen. It slowly faded and we didn't use it.