Resume - English

My personal resume in English

Profile Information

Dominique-Alain JAN's profile picture

Mahara and Moodle advocate / Mahara French translator.

I am Director of ICT and a teacher of Economics at the Gymnase de Nyon - a further education college of 1400 students between 16-20 years old - in Canton de Vaud (Switzerland). Since 2007, in addition to my day-to-day teaching at the Gymnase, I have been lecturing on new technology and e-Learning methodology at the State's Teacher Training School (HEP) in Lausanne.

In my school, I am particularly active in alternative learning strategies and I have introduced a course about "Learning to learn". This is a programme given by three colleagues and myself, that helps students with a range of learning difficulties to discover and learn strategies for improving their way of learning and helping them to understand new methods of knowledge acquisition. Furthermore I have developed and I am maintaining our eLearning services on a Moodle platform with more than 45 lessons given in blended learning conditions (part in class, part distance learning).

Latest News about my Work

December 2015

  • End of my 7th session of my course MSMSC25 - "TIC dans l'enseignement des maths et des sciences". My students presented three different personal projects in Technology Enhanced Learning/Teaching. Was very impressed by the progress of one group of two "digital migrants" who presented the best project of the three.

October 2015

  • Paid a visit to the Vienna Teachers School for some research and interviews for my thesis. Very interesting visit to compare how teachers training is organised in Austria comparing to UK, Switzerland, France or Austrasia. Here some traces I left there.
  • Taking part to a Swiss national project on ePortfolios, targeting young unemployed people. My participation in this project includes the development of a training concept for jobs placement professionals. Aims are to update their knowledge about digital identiy, ePortfolio and present ways of acquiring soft and hard skill.

September 2015

  • Positive practitioners feedback after one year of consulting at the HES-SO École de santé in Fribourg. My mission was to help the pedagogical team to build a new syllabus embedding ePortfolios and web 2.0 technologies.

June 2015

  • Program committee of the 2015 edition of Mahara Hui and Moodlemoot francophone in Tours
  • Three papers delivered at the Mahara Hui and Moodlemoot FR in Tours

May 2015

  • Keynote speaker at the Mahara Hui NZ in Auckland (New Zealand)
  • Kenyote speaker at the Moodle-Mahara meetup in Adelaide (Australia)

Lastest News on my learning

I received my final pass results toward the Master of Art in Online and Distance Education with The Open University (UK)

Dominique-Alain JAN - MA ODE (Open)

Qualified with following results

H808 - The Elearning Professional (30 credits ECTS)

Dominique-Alain JAN - PG Cert ODE (Open)

Qualified with following results

H800 - Technology Enhanced Learning: practices and debates (60 credits ECTS)

Overall examinable score (OES): 82
Overall continuous assessment score (OCAS): 76

H810 - Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students (30 credits ECTS)

Overall examinable score (OES): 87
Overall continuous assessment score (OCAS): 77

H809 - Practice-based research in educational technology (30 credits ECTS)

Overall examinable score (OES): 85
Overall continuous assessment score (OCAS): 82

H807 - Innovation in elearning (30 credits ECTS)

Overall examinable score (OES): 82
Overall continuous assessment score (OCAS): 76

H800 - Technology Enhanced Learning: practices and debates (60 credits ECTS)

Overall examinable score (OES): 82
Overall continuous assessment score (OCAS): 76

H807 - Innovation in elearning (30 credits ECTA)

Overall examinable score (OES): 83
Overall continuous assessment score (OCAS): 71

40 -> Pass
85 -> Distinction

Education History

Master's Degree in Distance Education and e-Learning (MA) at The Open University
February 2009 - March 2011

Qualified with a result of H800 - Technology Enhanced Learning: practices and debates (60 credits ECTA) Overall examinable score (OES): 82 Overall continuous assessment score (OCAS): 76 H807 - Innovation in elearning (30 credits ECTA) Overall examinable score (OES): 83 Overall continuous assessment score (OCAS): 71 40 -> Pass 85 -> Distinction

Education Science : Mentoring and Training Teachers (Certificate) at Haute Ecole Pédagogique [HEP]– Lausanne / Switzerland
2004 - 2007

Master’s Degree in Science, Technology and Society (MA) at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne [EPFL]
1999 - 2000

Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (ND) at The Can. College of Naturopathic Medecine
1996 - 1999

Certificate of Pedagogy for Teaching in College and High School : Biology (MA) at Séminaire pédagogique pour l'Enseignement Supérieur (SPES, now HEP) – Lausanne / Switzerland
1997 - 1998

Certificate of Pedagogy for Teaching in College and High School : Economics, Business and Law (MA) at Séminaire pédagogique pour l'Enseignement Supérieur (SPES, now HEP) – Lausanne / Switzerland
1996 - 1997

Naturopathic Medicine (BA) at Heilpraktiker Hochschule - Saarbrücken / Germany
1990 - 1996

Master’s Degree in Business Information Systems (MBI) (MA) at University of Lausanne / Switzerland : Faculty of Hautes Etudes Commerciales [HEC]
1992 - 1993

Politics and Commercial Studies – graduated “Cum laude” (BA) at University of Fribourg / Switzerland : Sciences Economiques et Sociales, and Lausanne HEC
1988 - 1992


Employment History

HEP is the State’s Teacher Training School in Lausanne (Switzerland), a postgraduate training of one to two years, for a Master’s Degree in Education Science My syllabus covers the historical and the diversifying usage of technology in teaching, and the practical and didactical change implied by the new technical developments in pedagogy. The students are trained in the use of new learning tools such as wikis, blogs, social networking, web 2.0 and e-Learning with different platforms (Dokeos, Moodle, eXe,…). This program is new at the HEP. I began with a first class of 14 students for the 2007 spring term and, due to its success with an average level of satisfaction of 80%, the course is now oversubscribed, with 37 students selecting it this term out of a maximum of 27 available places.

Moodle, Mahara and Open Badges advocate. My aim is to help institution in building successful eLearning projects. My clients are worldwide. I have already worked for companies, schools, secondary and tertiary education institutions and governments in France, Australia, New-Zeeland, Germany, Tunisia, Morocco, Finland and Switzerland. My framework a good Learning Design approach, putting the tools after the concepts, putting the Learning Outcomes first and the technology second.

The Gymnase de Nyon is a sixth form college of 1,400 students aged 16 to 20. I am responsible for mentoring new teachers during their probationary period. I am also in charge of the school’s web site and I am developing new tools in the e-learning field to help disabled students with distance learning. Since October 2007, I am leading our web Task Force to encourage, promote and manage the usage and the development of new web services, including Web 2.0 and community-driven applications. Since January 2007, I have been in charge of developing relations between our school and the EYP (European Youth Parliament) program. My team represented Switzerland at the EYP Easter 2007 session in Potsdam and did so again at Rotterdam in March 2008. In 2009, Rotterdam is the European Youth Capital, and my team will return there in January 2009 for a special EEYP session.

I will contribute to the design, development and implementation of an ePortfolio system, such as Mahara. This will involve helping the teachers to identify the learning outcomes to be integrated, establishing how the system will fit in with academic processes and how the technology will work within the virtual learning environment Moodle. The project must help students to identify their areas of strength and weakness, crediting them for prior learning and experience and meeting competencies that are proving difficult, with the idea of being incorporated in a postgraduate syllabus that emphasises professional learning and integrates authentic simulation. I will have also to take into account the continuing rising number of students and try to reduce the overall cost of the project.

This Secondary School is a High School of 1,200 pupils aged 12 to 16. As the Head of Department for Computer Science and Biology, I was responsible for designing the curriculum for both subjects and managing the Science Laboratories. I was also responsible for developing, maintaining and supporting the school’s computing network of 150 users (predominantly Macintosh but also some PC’s running Windows). I left when I was invited to create a CD-Rom for the DFJ (Federal Department for Teaching) on the subject of “Education à la citoyenneté” (Education for citizenship).

Eracom is a Graphic Arts College of 200 students. I was in charge of different courses including Sociological changes in the technical sphere, Web design for Technical and Medical sites, and Computer- User Interactions. I was responsible for a group of 10 teachers creating Web Based Learning material and developed the e-Learning platform for the school. We were running Ganesha, Moodle, eTeach and WebCT platform to serve 300 users. I left because the e-Learning project was set for a limited period of time. I still visit the school as a Federal Expert, assessing the terminal examinations each year.

Immunosa SA is a laboratory specializing in blood analyses I was in charge of staff training and responsible for implementing the ISO (International Standards Organisation) 9002 quality criteria. In my position I had to develop and monitor the ISO 9002 quality system and ensure that it was adhered to by staff. I was first employed on a temporary basis through an independent consultancy, and after six months I was offered a full employment contract. I left when the owners of the company changed and decided to relocate the laboratory to another part of Switzerland and to lower their standards in the quality control.

Macif are one of the biggest mutuality insurance firms in France, specialising in car insurance and small businesses insurance. As a consultant I was given a period of time to analyze the effects of changing from mainframe computers to a system of microcomputers, focusing particularly on potential effects on relationships within the company. My report became tbasis of company policy in this field for three years after I left Macif.

As a junior consultant, I have been involved in the development of Apple’s software HyperCard, the ancestor of many actual multimedia development tools. I was incorporated in the French translation team for the product and I also worked on user-computer interface solutions. Back in Switzerland, I continued as a part time consultant for Apple, and was in charge of training the Swiss re- sellers, writing the training syllabus and creating the marketing documentation about Hypercard.


Books and Publications

As an expert I took part to the redaction of this document for the French Minister of Education. This document contains a set of recommendation for tertiary education institutions who must implement an ePortfolio in the near future.

Attached files (1)

The World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning, designed to bring together the world's leading mobile learning researchers, developers and activists in an environment that will stimulate increased deployment of mobile learning and accelerate enhanced innovation. mLearn was the first conference on Mobile Learning and is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious international conferences in the field

at Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK Three presentations and papers, in English, about e-learning, Moodle and Mahara: “About World Economic Forum : an example of blended learning with students of 18”; “Playing with the Roles”; “Mahara, an e-Portfolio experience”.


Professional Memberships

International Association for Mobile Learning
December 2008 - Present time
Association Suisse des Officiers de Protection ABC
2001 - Present time
Association Professionnelle Suisse des Heilpraktikers
October 1999 - November 2007
Association des Praticiens en Thérapie Naturelle (APTN)
March 1999 - Present time
Association Professionnelle Suisse des Heilpraktikers
October 1999 - November 2007
Association des Praticiens en Thérapie Naturelle (APTN)
March 1999 - Present time

ALT is a professional and scholarly association which seeks to bring together those with an interest in the use of learning technology. We have over 200 organisations and over 500 individuals in membership


Contact Information

Postal address Rte de Vevey 23
Town Forel (Lavaux)
Country Switzerland
Mobile phone +41 79 240 70 10

Postal address in UK

21F Sheen Lane

SW14 8HY Mortlake



  • e-learning in business and education
  • Technology
  • Education
  • Sociology

Academic Goals

Doctorate in Education

My Last Tweets RSS

Twitter updates from Dominique-Alain JAN / dajan.
  1. dajan: How Can We Stop Cheating In Online Courses? via @wagjuer | @scoopit

    dajan: How Can We Stop Cheating In Online Courses? via @wagjuer | @scoopit

  2. dajan: L'essentiel sur les savoirs tacites | Formation et culture numérique - Thot Cursus via @JFCeci | @scoopit

    dajan: L'essentiel sur les savoirs tacites | Formation et culture numérique - Thot Cursus via @JFCeci | @scoopit

  3. dajan: Je viens d'acheter : Mind Amplifier: Can Our Digital Tools Make Us Smarter? (Kindle Single)' de... via @amazonkindle

    dajan: Je viens d'acheter : Mind Amplifier: Can Our Digital Tools Make Us Smarter? (Kindle Single)' de... via @amazonkindle

  4. dajan: 5 Ways To Have A High-Tech Classroom With What You Already Have via @eddebainbridge | @scoopit

    dajan: 5 Ways To Have A High-Tech Classroom With What You Already Have via @eddebainbridge | @scoopit

  5. dajan: Je viens d'acheter : The E-Portfolio Paradigm: Informing, Educating, Assessing, and Managing With... via @amazonfr

    dajan: Je viens d'acheter : The E-Portfolio Paradigm: Informing, Educating, Assessing, and Managing With... via @amazonfr

  6. dajan: I have just posted a new message, numbered 404, on the #mahara forum. And this is not an error. :-)

    dajan: I have just posted a new message, numbered 404, on the #mahara forum. And this is not an error. :-)

  7. dajan: History of the Internet [video] | @scoopit via @knolinfos

    dajan: History of the Internet [video] | @scoopit via @knolinfos

  8. dajan: Méthodologies pour le développement de cours e-learning via @JFCeci | @scoopit

    dajan: Méthodologies pour le développement de cours e-learning via @JFCeci | @scoopit

  9. dajan: An Index of Educational Technology Journals via @eddebainbridge | @scoopit

    dajan: An Index of Educational Technology Journals via @eddebainbridge | @scoopit

  10. dajan: La boite à outils du formateur innovant via @JFCeci | @scoopit

    dajan: La boite à outils du formateur innovant via @JFCeci | @scoopit

Last updated on Not specified

MAODE: My work in Progress RSS

Doctorate in Education: My Work in Progress
Activities, Reflection, Essays during my OU Master of Art in Online and Distance Education training and EdD Research

A conference from Helen Barrett on ePortfolio and Social networks

Browsing the web I found this Helen Barrett’s talk of ePortfolio. Helen Barret is presented as the grandmother of ePorfolio, and according with all the work and researches she dedicated to ePortfolios in the last 20 years, I agree with this claim.

In this 19 minutes conference extract she is speaking about students ownership and compare ePortfolios with social networks.

Interesting references are given.

You can access this here :

I unfortunately missed her talk at ePic 2011 in London a few weeks ago and regret it.

D844 Block One – Exercice 2 Question 3: What do the two models have in common?

According to Hammersley and Atkinson (2007) the two competing philosophical positions in ethnography: positivism and naturalism, have in common that they both try to maintain a detached position of the researcher, and they both consider social interactions or phenomena as objects.

They should be seen as complementary each other instead of  rival methods.


Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. (2007) Ethnography: Principles in practice, Taylor & Francis.

D844 Block One – Exercice 2 Question 2: What differing philosophical positions have underlain qualitative and quantitative research?

What differing philosophical positions have underlain qualitative and quantitative research? (Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007, p. 4-10)

Hammersley and Atkinson speak about a clash between two competing philosophical positions: positivism and naturalism (Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007, p. 4).

They consider the major tenets of  ‘positivism’ as the following :

  1. experiment results must be quantitavely measurable
  2. events are explained in  deductive fashion by appeal to universal laws
  3. the foundation of positive-science is observation
  4. the method is concerned by the testing of theories and hypotheses (see Descartes, 2001)
  5. the facts that the method and observations collect are theory-neutral
  6. the final aim is the search for universal laws

On the other hand, ‘naturalism’ is presented as:

  1. developed by the what called School of Chicago
  2. underpinning ideas coming from the holistic movement of thinking, following Melèse (1972), Wygotsky (2003) or Wiener’s (1952) systemic approach
  3. being an approach to understand cultural meanings
  4. focusing more on the relation between the sing and the significance and its evolution through time than on facts
  5. using a set of qualitatives tools
  6. not trying to sum up observation but recording events and observations with a huge sense of the details.


Descartes, R. (2001) Discourse on method, optics, geometry, and meteorology, Hackett Publishing.

Gindis, Vladimir S. Ageyev and Miller, Suzanne M. (2003) Vygotsky’s Educational Theory in Cultural Context (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. (2007) Ethnography: Principles in practice, Taylor & Francis.

Mélèse, Jacques (1972) L’analyse modulaire des systèmes, Paris, Edition des Hommes et Techniques.

Wiener, Norbert (1952) Cybernétique et société, Deux Rives.

D844 Block One – Exercice 2 Question 1: What is ethnography, according to Hammersley and Atkison?

What is ethnography, according to Hammersley and Atkinson (2007, p. 1-5)

Hammersley an Atkison, claim that ethnography comes from nineteenth-century Western anthropology. Ethnography was primarily ‘a descriptive account of a community or culture, usually one located outside the West’ (ibid, p 1).

Mainly ethnography in the twentieth-century means writing about the experiences and observations (data) gathered from living with a group of people (fieldwork) for a long time. Aims in ethnography research studies are to understand other’s people lives.

The features that characterise ethnography are :

  1. People’s actions are studied in everyday contexts and not in laboratories
  2. Data, which are more often qualitative reports and field-notes, than quantitative figures, are gathered from a range of sources
  3. Gathered data are for the most part, unstructured
  4. Fieldwork is made of few cases, which facilitates in-depth study but doesn’t give a truthful picture of the whole
  5. Analysis involves interpretation of the meaning
  6. Studies employ a relatively open-ended approach (Maxwell, 2005)

Hammersley and Atkinson also claim the importance for the researchers to negotiate their position in the community they seek to study. This negotiation is an never-ending process, the researchers taking part to the community evolves and their roles may change and then must be re-negotiated regularly (Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007, p. 4)


Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. (2007) Ethnography: Principles in practice, Taylor & Francis.
Maxwell, J.A. (2005) Qualitative research design: An interactive approach, Sage Publications, Inc.

D844 Block One – Exercice 1: What is ethnography?

In D884, the OU’s course named “Ethnography”, the fist question of module one is: “What is ethnography”. Through the reading of a few articles’ and books’ extract the course guide invites the student to build a representation of what is ethnography with their own words.

The common grip among the plethora of definitions and concepts covered by the ethnography field of research is certainly that it involves, above all, observational and qualitatives research methods (Mason, 1996; Denzin, 1997; Fielding, 1993). It seems also clear that ethnography results are mostly presented as a descriptive and accurate writing about what has been observed by one or many researchers, living with the specimen they observe for a rather long period of time (Mason, 1996; Denzin, 1997; Willis and Trondman, 2000; D844, 2011 p. 8; Baszanger and Dodier, 2004).

This writing has to present the reality in the most convincing way (Malinoswki in Denz, 1997). This creates a tension between two schools of thinking: the naturalists who assume that researchers living and observing a population have not influence on it and the constructionists who claim that results and the research itself is influenced by the researchers’ posture or even by the just the fact the observers are observing.

It seems that, in ethnography, a big place is given to descriptive writings of the reality observed, whereas a smaller place is left for quantitative data analysis, statistical decisions and inferences.

In short and as a first definition of “What is ethnography”, I would say:

“This is a form of research that implies researchers to study a field of research in situ and for a long time, to provide, with a set of empirical tools, a written report of their experience and observations, which are as close as possible to what it could have been observed by anyone in the same place and the same time, but also knowing that the collection of data may have been different if the researchers were not there”.

I will have to rethink about this later during the course.

Baszanger, I. and Dodier, N. (2002) ‘Relating the part to the whole’, Qualitative research: Theory, method and practice. London: Sage publications.
D844 (2011) ‘D844 Block one – The ethnography tradition’, The Open University.
Denzin, N.K. (1997) Interpretive ethnography: Ethnographic practices for the 21st century, Sage Publications, Inc.
Fielding, N. (1993) ‘Ethnography’,.
Gilbert, G.N. (2001) Researching social life, Sage Publications Ltd.
Mason, J. (2002) Qualitative researching, Sage Publications Ltd.
Willis, P. and Trondman, M. (2000) ‘Manifesto for ethnography’, Ethnography, 1(1), pp. 5-16.

MoodleMoot FR a commencé

Voici le stream des Tweet envoyés lors du MoodleMoot FR 2010 à Troyes

Mahoodle ! Pourquoi il ne faut pas attendre Moodle 2.0 ?

Using wiki with students as a notebook for ICT learning

Executive summary

In this report I will explain what is a wiki and how I use it in my ICT course with my students as a participative notebook. I will point out the different outcomes and drawbacks I have noticed after two years of practice. Finally I will provide some recommendations for using wikis with students and give some further readings.


Although the web service Wikipedia is well known by most Internet users, the concept behind wiki remain obscure for most of them. A wiki is a piece of software usually accessible on the web in which users can create, edit and improve text as in a word processor.
Text authors embed links, multi-media such as images, sound or video. Wikis are called social tool because they let other users to interact with published media and edit in the same time or at different time. Documents can then be created within a group of users. Authors or wiki managers can attribute roles to each actor and limit the right to edit or create to certain or all readers/users.
An history is preserved and shows all the editing together with the name of those who made them. From this, it is always possible to rollback and return to a previous version of the wiki documents or to decide to purge the history and then freeze the document in its latest stage.

Current practice

With my first year Gymnasium students (secondary school, students in age 16-17) I give an IT course. This course is given half class (about 16 students) every two weeks. One of the most problems is students’ memorisation of taught concepts between two session. Sometimes, taking account of the holiday and imponderables more than one month can separate two lessons.
Until 2007, I requested students to take notes of what we studied during a lesson. Especially when working on Excel with some complex formula or concepts. More than
once, notes were lost and not taken by students and then assessment always shows poor results.
Since 2008, after each didactic sequence, students are asked to write a small report on a wiki for memory. They also have to write step-by-step instructions to show they have understood how to proceed with tasks and to remember the process in the future. These notes are shared among the groups and each member can come on one other’s wiki and edit it if he finds that corrections have to be done.
The result of this is already a better rate of pass at the final assessment. I have observed that students go by themselves to find information in their wiki’s notes whenever they need to recall some procedure in Excel or in Word. They are more critics on the notes they take and on the notes others have taken.
In the future I would like to observe whether the reflexive task requested after each learning sequences gives students more confidence or doesn’t change long term retention.


To extend or adapt use of wikis in teaching, we must be aware that a wiki is not a tool our students have already use. A phase of learning a about the tools is essential, and exercises using wikipedia, for example, could be positive.
Installation of wiki is relatively complicated. But a simple wiki with basic functions is available in Moodle as activity. This activity module supports groups and grouping to crate group, private, or class wikis.
Without tasks that demand collaboration a wiki is useless. And wikis are to develop interactive and dynamic, multimedia, hyperlinked documents. For any other use of text processing, wikis have to be replaced by fora or blogs which are more common to practitioners.


The main issue is in the nature of wikis which is not very well understood by users. Wiki is a tools belonging to the Web 2.0 family. It encompasses collaborative, multimedia and hypertext facilities. It resembles to a word processor but has to be use differently.
Page layout editing is most of the time less straightforward than in a word processor, in a blog or in a forum. Editing wikis has some limitations that are minors if other functionalities (group, link, multimedia) are used. .

Further reading

Duffy, Peter D. and Bruns, Axel (2006) The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities. In: Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, 26 Sep. 2006, Brisbane. Available from (accessed on 11 January (2010)
Educause (2005), 7 things you should know about… wikis, Educause, Available online (accessed on 10 January 20010)
Mader (2006), Using Wiki in Education, Steward Mader ed.
Richardson, W. (2009) Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for
Classrooms Corwin Press; Wikipedia (2010), (accessed 11 January 2010)

H808-Core Activity 8-11: Creating a podcast

Here is the transcript of my podcast created for Activity 8-11 in the H808 course by the Open University. If time is money, podcasts are expensive.

———— Transcript ————

Hello I am Dominique-Alain JAN, a student in the H808 Open University course called “The elearning professional”.
For the purpose of activity 8-11, I am delivering this podcast about: “elearning professionals and podcasting”.

First, I will just reflect on my own experience of creating this, my first podcast ever. Then I will talk a bit about podcasting as an activity for elearning professionals.

To begin with, I made some recording trials with Quicktime Pro and Audacity but I was rapidly disappointed by the poor quality of my output and I was puzzled by the complexity of editing the work. My first strategy was to re-record my text again and again, every time I made a mistake in reading, trying to improve the speech.

Later I tried another strategy: never stopping the recording and editing the work to correct, delete or copy paste the different parts to create the final podcast. This task was full of learning, but took me ages and the final product was not any better according to my personal standards.

I then decided to go a bit further into podcasting by finding information about how professionals were doing it. I found some information on the Apple Web site about using their GarageBand software solution for creating and delivering podcasts on Macintosh. I also subscribed to for a course on “Creating podcasts with GarageBand 3.0” which is an outdated version, but concepts in the course are still valid.

I chose to create this podcast with GarageBand and used some of the program’s key features which allow you to include “slides”, “jingles” and “URLs” in the podcast.

So if you are listening to this on iTunes or an iPhone or iPod, you should get more information than just my “funny french accent” talking to you.

Now I come to the point about where, why or when podcasts could be useful. Listening to my previous attempts and to different podcasts over the web, I think that an mp3 file of a few minutes is not very useful and sometimes boring. Except maybe if those are recordings of broadcast radio programmes or interviews, where the context makes us ready to just listen to them.

For education I believe that videocasts or podcasts with embedded media are more useful and will generate more interest and engagement from our students.

This raises the problem of how could we create such material. Looking at a course about screencasting, lighting, microphones, mix-tables and all such professional equipment seem to be indispensable to deliver quality material to students and learner.

As an elearning professional, could we afford that? Even if we could, do we have sufficient talent to do it? Is our voice, our expression or delivery good enough to be listened to for minutes at a time?

Maybe, maybe not. I personally don’t have talent for that, furthermore not in English.

I think that the true talent of an elearning professional is to know about technology, to know about what is feasible and what is not. What does it cost in terms of time, money, people to create engaging learning material.

To create them there are professionals in every art: our skill is to make them work all together.

Thank you for your attention.

H808 Core Activity 6-4: Reflecting on the group dimension of professional practice

In this activity we had to work in a group, chosen by our tutor, with the aim of making a presentation. The information we received was as follows :

—- begin paste  —–

  1. You can organise your group in any way you choose; for example, by choosing a coordinator, identifying who has the necessary technical skills or agreeing on a division of labour […].
  2. You should first use the one or two cases you have agreed on, to come to a consensus on a small number (five to ten) of key principles of practice that you believe to be central to effective elearning, and which are illustrated by the case(s).
  3. Identify which features of the example cases (screenshots, text, description, etc.) you can use to illustrate the presentation.
  4. Agree on the type of presentation you will create. For example, it could be a standalone series of PowerPoint slides; PowerPoint slides with notes outlining the oral part of the presentation; a single slide constructed like a conference poster; a leaflet produced in Word or PDF; or a mini-website […]
  5. Construct the presentation […].
  6. Finally, nominate someone in the group to post the presentation […].

— end paste —-

We had two weeks to complete the task which represents in OU vocabulary about 30 hours of work. I have the habit, when working in a group, of working as much as leader as a member. I have to say I am a bit disappointed by how things happened in our group.

Working in a group

Back at the beginning someone booted up the group and for me became de facto the group’s leader, but this contribution was not followed by other guidance. Until the end of the project it remained unclear what the group really wanted to do and we did something that made, I think, most of the participants happy (though it is difficult to say due to the lack of feedback from the group members on that activity and on what we achieved).

In e-learning as in many subjects where interdisciplinarity is the keyfactor, working in a group is important. By group I mean team and I differentiate a team from a group by the following claims:

A team has a leader

A group is simply a certain amount of people in the same place (physical or virtual) not necessarily driven by the same goals and objectives. A team has a structure and usually has a leader who steers the team by organising its life, distributing the task, controlling the feasibility and the accomplishment of the different sub-tasks. The leader leads and must have the big picture in mind which he can share with the team’s members but this is not mandatory.

As Henry Mintzberg described in his “The Structuring of Organizations: A Synthesis of the Research”, first published in 1973, leadership can take different forms,  from dictatorship to democracy to adhocracy.

Maybe in our group for this task 6-3 we all believed that adhocracy would save the project and that everyone would work in the same direction, taking the same decisions at the same time, without discussing it. While this may work in a few companies in Northern Europe, it certainly could not work here because we didn’t have enough at stake in that project, and we as group members were not implicated enough in its success (= reward).

A team has clear targets

What differentiates a group from a team is the clear understanding of the target that must be reached and the means mobilised to succeed. The first thing to do is to redefine, in the group, the task, its outcomes, the process, the time and the tools to engage. All team members must have a clear view of what place they will have in the project and all the main points must have been negotiated and accepted. In sociology we call this: defining the boundary-objects (Star, 1989). Here, the activity suggested by the H808 team/tutor is not clear at all, and we should have spent time negotiating a common project. Reading forum posts in different groups it appears to me that we all had different interpretations of the task, both in our group and between the different groups’ members.

A team works together

To make people work together it is not sufficient to show them the goal and shout “go”. A preliminary phase is essential to build the team, to learn each other and trust each other before starting to work together. In a distance environment Salmon Gilly suggests a rather long period of ice-breaking and team-building at the beginning of every new project (Salmon, 2002; 2004).

Here we had no time and moreover no tutor or group leader to create that emulation. I believe, and certain other members of other groups also suggested this, that a contact with any social cues would have rendered this process obvious and quick. A quick conference with Skype, Elluminate or other tools of this kind would put all the participants together at the same time although not physically in the same place. I personally can’t consider working with a group of people without having heard their voices, seen their faces and knowing how they want to participate in a project and what they want to achieve.

For me anonymity is a limitation in group management and team building.

About the tools

Nowadays there are zillions of tools on the Web for teamworking. We worked with Google Document and we didn’t use all its potential. Collaborative tools are not necessary the easiest tool to use and need some work to understand and to delimit all their features. I just take the example of wikis: everyone knows about wikipedia but few know they can modify wikipedia content if they desire and fewer know exactly what is and how to use wikis in general.

During this activity, some other groups used Google Documents to communicate on all the different sub-tasks to be achieved by the team. In my experience it is often  simpler to adapt ourself to a known tool than trying to use new technologies promises. In our group we could have used Prezy, a web 2.0 service for presentation, instead of Google Documents – Presentation, but we preferred a more classic and limited, but relatively know tool.

Using new technologies on a so short amount of time where the target is to produce a final document is certainly too much demanding for a group, but maybe not necessarily  for a team where one person could be dedicated to discover and engage with it, in all other cases I think that the cheap and cheerful solution is certainly the best and only answer.


Salmon, G., 2004. E-Moderating, The Key to Online Teaching and Learning, Routledge. Available at: [Accessed July 16, 2009].

Salmon, G., 2002. e-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, London: Kogan Page. Available at: [Accessed July 15, 2009].

Star S.L. & Griesemer J.R. (1989), “Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39”. Social Studies of Science 19 (4) pp 387–420

H808 Core Activity 2-5: Criteria for reflective writing

In some courses, notably in nursing, teaching and other humanities learning, students are requested, encouraged or made to create and/or provide pieces of reflexive writing about their learning process. Starting such a task is not necessarily easy for everyone and writing about personal things, to look inside our personal thoughts, may seem to be for gifted students only. Nevertheless, I personally think that reflexive practice and reflexive writing about our learning is something that we can learn by practising. Here are some pieces of advice from a reflexive learner, me, reflexively writing about reflexive practice in learning.

Start small or K.I.S.S.

First of all, years ago, when I had to start a journal about my learning as a trainer teacher, I decided to start without too many expectations, and privileged regularity over quantity and quality. What was important was to start the process and write on a regular basis. To be focussed on the task more than on technology, Keep It Simple and Stupid (Kiss) and begin with what you are most happy with: pen and paper, emails to yourself, blog, e-porfolio, whatever suits you the best.

With time, you will discover that taking notes and posting them in an electronic form gives more freedom in the organisation of your work and the reuse of your editing.

From the surface to the depth

Writing directly about profound and personal thoughts on such an intimate subject as our transformation through learning is not easy, but this comes in time. Begin to write about facts to help your brain to focus on what happened, on what you learned or what you read, watched or listened to. Let your thoughts and feelings come up without any judgement. Think less and less about generalities and focus step by step on more specific points about the learning. These points should evoke agreement or disagreement, good or bad feelings, new ideas or bring back old personal experiences. Write all you get. Later, or in another post, you may go over and process your material to deepen or edit it. With time, this exercise will become more and more familiar and the path to your thoughts and deep memory will become brighter and quicker.

From privacy to publicity

It is important that this task must remain something you are confident about and trust in. Begin by writing your reflection for yourself and open them up to others with time. Opening your reflexive material, or a part of it, to others gives you the benefit of their comments on your work and the reciprocity to their own intimacy. This sharing can be made only with peers of the same cohort within a wider community. Making part of your thoughts obvious to the world gives you a way to be recognised for who you are. Whichever way, never lose the control of your image. When it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

Writing towards objectives

The question of having a living reflexive journal in whatever form it can take, is of course driven by targets. Even if we know, through literature, that reflexive activities give students wider ownership of their learning and foster a deeper learning approach with tangible results in higher marks and better learning, these activities are time consuming. Moreover if such tasks are compulsory and have to be assessed, the style, grammar and structure will have to be reviewed.

As a personal learning tool, a reflexive journal is something that has to be tried for a minimum basis of one course before you can discover its advantages, so persevere, or follow a syllabus where you will be forced to do it, if you need, as I did, such a ‘driver’.

Last updated on 06 January 2017, 9:02 AM