WP 5 Learner supportframeworkSupport review and planningIoannis Stamelos/Vaios KolofotiasComputer Science DepartmentAristotle University of Thessaloniki
OpenED today…The Opened.eu platform has 5,009visits since May 25, 2011 and anaverage of 50 visitors per day.There are 604 currently registeredusers that interact with each other intothis active community.It is expected that something can gowrong, so the Learner support must bea strong card for this platform.
Current Learner Support The main tool facilitated by the OpenED platform forhelping learners is the Forum. Registered users can posttheir questions there and either they are technical or courserelated, they will get an answer as soon as possible. There are, also, chat sessions at the beginning of everymodule and during it, where tutors discuss with learners onthe course related issues.
Support Planning Although the current support structure seems enough for thedemands of the community, we can add morefunctionalities to improve it. That should lead to moresatisfied learners who will promote our project even furtherthrough their circles.
F.A.Q(Frequently AskedQuestions) “Frequently asked questions are listed questions andanswers, all supposed to be commonly asked in somecontext, and pertaining to a particulartopic”(source:wikipedia).There should be a page where we can all(tutors and technicalstuff) submit common learner questions and the answersthat we provide to them(concerning technical or learningrelated issues).
F.A.Q(Frequently AskedQuestions) 2/2 This functionality merely exists in OpenED as we can see at“How to start studying” under Help menu, but is limitedand concerns only the starting process. The FAQ functionality proposed will have several topicsthat concern users and questions & answers under them. A proposed format follows
Questions & Answers 1/2 Another, more web 2.0, approach is to create a questionsand answers page which will work like this: A learner willsubmit a question to a provided textfield and then otherusers or us will answer on this question. There can beseveral answers and users will vote the most accurate one. The questions posted will be about the platform but they canalso expand to open education. With this move, we maysoon have some interesting data submitted by learners andtutors that will help us improve the platform and study thelearners perspective on all these.
Questions & Answers 1/2 Users may also have the ability to share an answer to socialmedia like facebook,twitter etc, which will bring morepublicity to our platform. Some popular examples of this idea are:http://stackoverflow.comhttp://answers.yahoo.com
Conclusion Learners support at OpenED is quite satisfying at the momentbut if we would like to improve it the two proposals mentionedwill surely boost it a little more. The F.A.Q although it’s a known and widely used method forproviding support is quite steady and does not promote userinteraction. It gathers all information together, which means itwould be more easy to browse. At the other hand, questions and answers functionality will giveour platform a breath of fresh air and push users to interact witheach other and spend more time logged-in.