Monthly Archives: October 2012

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

About two months ago I started a course on

Before I start on my experiences, I want to make it clear that I absolutely 100% support free education such as courses on and I love the fact that we’re making this information and education accessible to anyone who can get on the Internet – which, to be fair, is pretty much anyone these days. Yes yes, there are still people in third world countries who can’t. But didn’t we recently have an ad on TV saying that the Internet in some rural, out-of-the-way small country was better than what we have here in NZ? And we have it free in our public libraries here. You don’t even need to bring your own computer.

I digress.

Free education is coming to the world, and it looks great. looks really great. There are many universities around the world who are contributing actual, tertiary-level course material. They are building these courses, which include video lectures (which can be downloaded to your computer or device and viewed at your leisure), quizzes, peer assessments, assignments, exams… all the things you would expect from a tertiary level course. And they’re delivered entirely online, and entirely free.

What’s not to like?

So I did a course called Gamification. I have to say that at the start I was very motivated. The content was interesting, I handed in my assignments and got full marks, I got full marks on the quizzes. Yet I never completed the course. I never did the final assignment or the final exam.

Why? What happened?

What happened is the same thing that happens to a lot of students. They come into the semester all motivated, enthused, keen to try something new and exciting. Then about midway through, no matter how exciting or interesting the material, motivation lacks.

In fact, this gamification course talked a lot about motivation.

At the start there was a lot of intrinsic motivation to do the course. I was keen, I wanted to learn new things for myself. I was a motivated student.

When I got full marks on the first quiz I was motivated to continue. A little bit of extrinsic motivation there. Same with the grades on the first assignment, though they took a while to get to me. The feedback on that wasn’t quite immediate enough for the motivation to hit me.

By the time I got to the last week, I had no more intrinsic motivation left, and there was no extrinsic motivation for me to continue with the course.

  • I hadn’t paid for it, so I wasn’t losing any money.
  • No one else was requiring me to do this course for any reason, so I wasn’t letting anyone down.
  • I wasn’t going to get a qualification.

The only extrinsic motivation I could find was, “Oh, it would be neat to put this on my CV and maybe get the certificate.” It wasn’t enough.

So I suffered the same fate that a lot of other students do – I stopped trying. I stopped working. I was interested in the material, but without any further motivation to read / watch it, I found more interesting things to do with my time. I had no investment in completing the course, so I just didn’t.

What could have been done to keep me interested? I’m not sure, but I know what frustrated me:

  • Having to wait so long for feedback on my assignments.
  • Having to watch 10 – 15 videos in one week (the format never changed, I would have liked some variety – podcasts, videos, text, interactive journeys)

And this course was only 6 weeks long.

I signed up to another course called Design. We’re one and a bit weeks in and I haven’t even watched the first lot of videos or submitted the first assignment. I’ve lost this one before I’ve even started. The lack of motivation that I felt in finishing the first course leaked over into this course, causing me to not even start it. And I LOVE the idea of design.

So I will be taking a rest from the free online courses until I can figure out why I lost the motivation so utterly and completely that I didn’t even bother starting the second one, and what I can do to make sure that motivation stays. Perhaps if I figure that out, I can figure out some sort of secret formula that can be applied to the classroom as well!


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Moodle 2: Looking Beyond the Online Filing Cabinet

I did a presentation today at ULearn all about looking at what you can do with an LMS such as Moodle other than just upload files to it.

See this course on for further details. Work your way through the course as a student to see what sort of interactive activities are available.

Also, you can view my presentation below, in the form of a PDF. It won’t make a lot of sense unless you were there, really.

BeyondTheCabinet.pdf Download this file

Links to the places on the last slide:

Why bother with an LMS?

Mat Bury, an elearning researcher and developer gives a few examples of the benefits of an using an LMS

  • One place for everything
  • More coherently organsied courses
  • More appropriate types of roles for users
  • Record keeping and management
  • More coherent communication
  • Assessment tools
  • Integration with 3rd party software and web services

Click here to read his blog

Symposiums at Unitec – a great learning and sharing experience

Recently we have had two great symposiums at Unitec that highlighted some of the innovations happening right here, as well as opening us to new strategies from local experts.
Teaching and Learning Symposium

The Teaching and Learning Symposium on 1 October started with keynotes from Mike Walker of University of Auckland and Brian Evans of Kelston Boys High School. Mike shared his early explorations into teaching, tackling the low participation of Maori and Pacific Island students in sciences. He found taking the emotion out of the conversation and presenting the facts helped him increase student involvement in studies of New Zealand history.
Brian Evans presented many strategies for teaching Pacific Island boys, based on his Masters research and his experience as Prinicipal of Kelston Boys High and previously at De La Salle College. The message around developing relationships with trust and respect was loud and clear. He tells a story of achievement, not failures, as teachers need to STOP believing students will not achieve but create a culture promoting success and belief in achievement for all students. Brian says Change the Language, and remove the teacher as the barrier. One strategy was publishing student credits to create competition amongst students. Students responded to well prepared classes and activities with clear achievement goals; they want to know success criteria and believe feedback is important. They have a strong attendance push, there are homework groups and holiday programmes that are well attended. Create pathways and curriculum options, ensure every student leaves knowing they contribute to society. Challenge and confront students, celebrate success publicly.

One session I attended was with Sue Wake and Lucia Cha, with the title “Empowering learners through a case study with children: an undergraduate research report”. Not only was the research they conducted interesting, but Sue shared her journey as a research supervisor and the challenges to be found in supporting a research student studying in her own field of research interest.

Another great session was offered by Chris Lynch and Nikki Timu titled “The evolving learner and teacher identity with a portfolio as assessment”. They reflected on two different approaches to portfolio use with sports students; one class used portfolios for assessment and the other class used portfolios as a reflection tool. They found the assessment class challenged in the understanding of why they were required to create a portfolio, and the other class were challenged by the reflection task and the level of depth required in reflection and analysis. Chris and Nikki identified that teachers tend to transpose their own identity onto the student. They are looking to change their use of portfolios to offer more blended assessment, wider programme cohesion with less silos, and greater external involvement from industry.


Research Symposium

On the 3 October there was a Research Symposium presenting currently completed and progressing Unitec research. Nominees for the Research with Impact Award gave the audience a brief overview of their entries. After this, I attended the yellow stream session, with Bettina’s action research participants starting the session with ‘I learn through my research: Teaching and learning enquiry as the nexus between teaching, learning and research’. Giles Dodson gave a very fast but exciting and action packed talk on ‘A conservation partnership for development? Marine conservation and indigenous empowerment at Mimiwhangata’. One of the best topics I listened to was Annemarie Meijnen, Bettina Schwneger, Hua Dai, and Ksenija Napan: ‘Teachers in the sandpit: Playing with academic co-creative inquiry’, which definitely peaked my interest to read some more and look at what I might do differently in my own teaching practice. Mark Farnworth shared his findings on his research into the ‘Incidence of dog bites and public attitudes towards dog care and management in Samoa’, with many points being identified with, by those of us who have walked the streets of Samoa after dark. Gillian Whalley closed this session with a talk on  ‘Collaboration in research – an impenetrable barrier or essential for knowledge advancement?’, a topic dear to my heart, as an open source contributor and advocate for open data research.

There were many other talks throughout the day, so I am going to recommend people review the abstracts here and find time to talk to their colleagues about their work.


The MIT Challenge

Scott Young is a blogger/reporter/journalist who has spent the last year taking  the entire 4-year MIT curriculum for Computer Science, without taking any classes.  All classes were taken through MIT OPEN Course-ware and were completely free (plus a few text books).

Scott has just completed his challenge, and although he does not get the official MIT Degree in Computer Science, his motivation to show people that learning faster is possible and can be fun at the same time.

Check our Scott’s informative Blog on some very surprising strategies and outcomes the he experienced completing the MIT Challenge here

…..also his 11 minute talk on TedxEastsidePrep – Scott Young – Can you get an MIT education for $2,000?

Wairaka accounts – our Google instance

I had a play with what I could do with my Wairaka student account to see what our students have access to. I am sharing it here for others who have been wondering the same thing. The following is by no means a definitive account, but rather a little exploration to provide a starting point:

Has Google Drive – can share with wairaka and oustide emails
Has Calendar
Has Google Sites – can create sites
Has Groups – maybe only searches within wairaka but can add wairaka account to existing external group, couldn’t find a way to create a group. Create group by going to Home > New Group – Miriam
Has contacts, Has maps, Has youtube
Has news, translate, Has mobile, shopping
Has blogger – creates a blog with address
Has reader – works as expected
Has finance
Has photos – picasa, seems to work as expected, has a visibility option for “Unitec New Zealand” as well as private and public on web and anyone with the link or anyone at Unitec with the link, not easy to narrow search to Unitec uploads
Has videos – can see videos provided by other Unitec people but it needs permission changes to allow the uploading of other videos

Google Plus is not available with Wairaka BUT it seems like you can turn it on as there is a message for administrators – there is a checklist for preparing –