Phase 1. Develop the Conceptual Understanding


This provides high level view of what the the project should achieve and why, the scope, the context, the participants, the method, the budget and the timeframe.  It may also include the measures by which success may be evaluated. In general it answers questions of the nature of – what is the general purpose of the project, who will be involved, why are we doing it etc.  This phase is the basis for all the stages and helps to identify what those stages will be, however it will be re-visited at the start of each new stage to confirm that all contextual information is in place for the stage.

Phase Leader:  Lead Educator
Suggested activities:

The activities for this phase are concerned with capturing the views of a number of external stakeholders (students, staff, institution, external bodies etc.) as well as prompting thought and discussion on what the overall learning experience is intended to achieve and for whom.  Any method may be used to capture this information but the following are current suggestions:

  • use blog postings to put forward ideas and to collect comments from others
  • An audio recording of a meeting between staff (and students?) talking about their context
  • Use for more or less the same thing
The result of these conversations, however they are held, need to be summarised to capture the essential information and it is preferable that this summary takes the form of a document that can be readily shared by all interested parties.  Where a formal proposal has been written, the information within it will also be an important part of the contextual information.

Any more suggestions here?

Required information:
  • The rationale behind the proposed learning experience
  • The rationale behind using Second Life as all or part of the proposed learning experience
  • Identification and description of type (level etc) of students who are the target for the proposed learning experience
  • Identification of stakeholders and their thinking on the proposed learning experience
  • Identification of the learning outcomes covered by the proposed learning experience and the courses that they sit within
  • Description (general) of the learning outcomes
  • Identification of the staff who will contribute to the development of resources, including Lead Educator
  • Identification of the staff who will be involved with the delivery of the proposed learning experience
  • Identification of the training needs of such staff
  • Identification of important dates within the proposed development of the learning experience (e.g. date for final delivery, date for final testing, dates for end of stages etc.)
  • Identification of probable resource need (e.g. land in SL, time for design of the learning activities, time for the design and construction of the relevant resources etc.)
  • Identification of any potential obstacles to the successful delivery of the proposed learning experience
  • Identification and initial description of the stages in which the development will be built (if appropriate).

What else is needed?

Final Document:  Context Summary Document

This document is intended to act as a brief record of the work undertaken within this phase.  It should be as succinct as possible.
The items bulleted under ‘required information’ could act as a heading structure for the document. Under each heading would appear the final outcome of the conversations that have taken place.  Some of this content would also have been collected from the formal proposal.

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