The Professor Robin Mason prize is awarded in her honour for MAODE alumni, with the first prize award taking place in March 2011 and the second time in May 2012. The question which alumni were asked to answer in a maximum of 500 words was 'What has the MAODE contributed to the field of Technology Enhanced Learning and what has studying it meant to me?'
Professor Robin Mason was an international expert in online and distance education and one of the founders of The Open University's Masters in Online and Distance Education. She made stellar contributions to the field of Educational Technology throughout her career. Her standing in the field of education led to her membership of the RAE panel for education where she served with distinction. She also served for many years as Chair of the Association for Learning Technology's Research Committee, and as a trustee of the association. She died in June 2009 aged 63 after a short illness.
2012 first place prize winner:
In 2012 the MAODE graduates were asked the same question as for 2011: 'What has the MAODE contributed to the field of Technology Enhanced Learning and what has studying it meant to me?'
Judith Buendgens-Kosten, who graduated with the MAODE in 2011, applied what she had learned while studying and submitted her entry in the form of a tag cloud.
2011 joint first place prize winners:
- Mark Curcher
- Phil Greaney
Mark Curcher's entry:
"The MAODE’s contribution to the field of Technology Enhanced Learning is immense and far reaching and at the same time extremely difficult to quantify. This is because of the fact that MAODE graduates are themselves key influencers and connectors in their field. Thus, although there will undoubtedly be much personal growth and development during the MAODE program, this will also directly impact the students, immediate colleagues and other professionals in the wider community with whom the MAODE graduate comes into contact. That is the amazing nature of our increasingly networked world. So the reach of the knowledge, skills and understanding gained by a MAODE student is ‘multiplied’ right across their network. Given that the MAODE is one of the programs that the OU offers to students anywhere in the world, that ‘multiplier’ has a truly global impact.
To quote Marshall McLuhan “The Medium is the Message” and this was one of the factors that first attracted me to the MAODE. Where better to learn about online and distance education than with the world’s leading university for ODE? Closer examination of the program showed that it would provide both practical benefit for the classroom and my own students, while at the same time providing an academic and pedagogical framework on which to support that practical application. I was not disappointed.
Having failed my eleven plus and being something of a late developing learner, it was with some trepidation that I started my first MAODE module. There were times I felt overwhelmed and doubted my ability as a master’s level student. Thanks to support of excellent tutors and fellow learners, I was able to overcome these limiting beliefs and so the MAODE has given me a new level of confidence. I now have a completely different mindset and would describe myself as a passionate lifelong leaner.
Completing the MAODE has changed my life and I do not say that frivolously. Not only do I believe that I am now a better educator with an increased understanding of the complex issues around the use of technology to enhance learning, but I also have improved research and writing skills and I am better able to help and support my professional colleagues in their use of learning technologies. Completion of the MAODE has allowed me to develop my educational career into the area of professional development and teacher training. This in turn amplifies the contribution made by the MAODE program.
Since completing the MAODE I have been fortunate enough to present in conferences from Las Vegas to Vancouver and from Penang to Melbourne. I have been published in peer reviewed journals and had a book chapter and case study published. I continue to learn every single day from the wonderful network of educational technology enthusiasts that I developed on the MAODE. I feel very grateful for the opportunities which taking the MAODE has given me and to all those who work so hard to make the MAODE the excellent program that it is."
Phil Greaney's entry:
"As with other relatively new and growing fields of study, it is sometimes difficult to separate the trivial from the significant, the temporary from the longer lasting, the ineffectual from the influential. The MAODE does all this and more. It offers a space where those interested in persuing their interests – especially those motivated to follow a career in educational technology or related subjects – can work alongside other interested peers and experienced tutors on high-quality study materials.
Like any course of study, the courses that make up the MAODE do not attempt to offer a completely exhaustive account of all themes and ideas. That would be impossible in this developing field. Rather, it equips the student with the ability to develop a critical approach to their field; to learn to use evidence to evaluate idea and nurture a sense of best practice.
That said, it does cover a broad range of subjects and students can choose what to study with a selection of specialist courses. It covers all the major elements of educational technology, including the use of social media, mobile technologies in developing countries, accesibility, web-site usability and theoretical underpinnings on how learners learn.
As a former student of the MAODE, I recognise its unique place as a distance and blending learning approach that adopts many of the technologies in its teaching that it discusses in its text. When the courses asked us to assess collaborative working, it did so through getting us to together; when it asked us to asses the use of web 2.0 for education, it invited us to do this through hands-on work with web 2.0 tools. It’s this kind of applied experience – underpinned with theory and themes which run throughout the courses – that helps you feel that the work you do on the MAODE is concretely useful and relevant.
The actual business of studying the MAODE was a pleasure, too. The courses fit within your ways of studying. I’ve made useful contacts there, people that I hope will remain part of my network throughout my career. I felt it addressed many of the ideas, concerns and skills that I would hope for an expect from such a qualification.
What’s more, because I know that the MAODE comes from a long-standing, reputable University offering hundreds of accredited courses, it also gave me confidence that the courses I was studying towards a new MA in this rapidly-changing field. I trust the OU. That trust was rewarded, I think, with range of knowledge, experience and skills that the MAODE offers. The MAODE is something I’m proud to say I’ve earned and I’m sure it’s stood me in good stead in my career."