Questions on Zoraina’s SMS in Open University Malaysia #change11

Professor my questions:
1. Do you use SMS for activating student academic behavior because it is cheap or because it is the best way to get results?
2. In Comments: Zoraini’s presentation of using the SMS technology in OUM #change11 Louise Lee writes about her skepticism. I do share these questions with Louise.
3. Do you trust the answers of the students where they tell you they are very pleased with the SMS? Are the students just being polite?
4. I like to know what academic behavior you want the students to perform? What is your view on academic behavior?

I do like my fellow MOOC’ers to join the conversation.


7 thoughts on “Questions on Zoraina’s SMS in Open University Malaysia #change11

  1. I would give it one more question: Is it really m-learning or the use of a new resource to deliver blended-learning?

  2. Interesting set of questions.

    1. We used SMS because it was what students were using a lot of. They were familiar with it already and it was easy to manage plus it was affordable. The podcasts we produced before we used SMS were not popular. It is believed that students were already receiving content from the print module, their tutorials (five times a semester) and from interactions in the LMS. We needed to enhance the blended learning we already had in place, taking into account, what students were already doing, not doing, weak in, etc. and used m-learning to provide the SMSes in the five categories (which included content but only in terms of driving them to read the content).

    2. Asian students are generally polite with each other and even more polite with those older than them (but it’s getting less so with the younger generation). They also tend to be extra polite with guests or visitors and this includes expatriate lecturers. When answering anonymous questionnaires, they will be more free to express their views and this includes putting down negative remarks. Being polite, also meants not saying anything or saying little. When we evaluated the project, we also looked at what they did not only what they said. I hope this helps.

  3. On the academic behaviors we wanted to see:

    1. students reading the module (supplied to all students..this is like a “tutorial in print” in place of textbooks. the modules are written by subject matter expers trained in writing for distance learners) before attending their tutorials
    2. students more actively participating in the online forums
    3. students realising the key concepts in the module
    4. students developing good habits as online distance learners

  4. Excellent Blog and pertinent questions! How do you pace, schedule and assess learning via SMS? If Q&A sessions exist, when and how do they expire???

  5. I will try to address your questions part by part.

    1. Pacing and schedule of the SMS

    We developed a matrix that had category, purpose, SMS text to be sent, date to be sent.

    The pacing was based on what students said would be an appropriate quantity. It was 3 time a week so as not to overwhelm them.

    The timing was crucial taking into account what was scheduled to happen in the course that particular week and we sent based on the content supposed to be covered, activities and due dates of assignments or exam dates. Note that OUM is a distance learning institution where implementation of courses are standardized as much as possible. SMS sent are from OUM main office.

    2. Assessment of learning

    There are many elements involved in the learning of the course. For eg., the tutor (we have about 80 part-time tutors for one single course) and the location/physical classroom facilities and timing (morning or afternoon). Also, the students have different e-tutors whom they interact with online. It would not be a true assessment of learning due to the various factors. The purpose of SMS was not to improve their score…more of helping them to become better distance learners in terms of habits. In addition, to highlight some of the key concepts in the module (contents of the course) by making it in such a way that they will want to read the module.

    3. Q&A sessions

    These are typically carried out in the class f2f or online in the forums. There are a few quiz questions sent via SMS, one question each time. Students may choose to respond to the question.

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