by Maria Disabato, CSP – Innovazione nelle ICT / University of Turin, Italy
Hi! I’m Maria and I’m a student attending the University of Turin. I’m preparing my thesis in “CSP – Innovazione nelle ICT” and I’m following MOOCs on the EMMA platform. I’m here to explain my experience and my opinion about the new EMMA feature, the Toolbox. Let me start by explaining what a toolbox is in this context and why I think its a useful feature as one of the tools offered by EMMA to support students in their learning experience. Toolbox is an exclusive component which saves portions of text of a single lesson, and allows students to build their own personal coursebook. This feature contains a set of tools or functions accessible by a single menu; to appreciate the value of the toolbox in an e-learning experience, it is important to understand what it allows the user to do. Let’s see how it works.
Students first enroll in a MOOC which gives them access to the different lessons in their chosen course. When they switch between different paragraphs on the lesson page with their mouse, the toolbox appears on that page. This feature appears in the form of a box in which there are a set of tools which the student can use to highlight an entire paragraph, and so put this in his or her personal lesson material. In the lesson page, the underlined text is in yellow and, like a physical coursebook, it draws attention to specific elements of course content. Learners can also ‘add to note’ the text that they consider relevant for their learning experience; that is an important function, because by using this “add to note” tool, students can built a sort of personal coursebook with notes from different MOOCs.
Learners can access all their notes through the tool “view all saved”, whereby EMMA directs students to specific pages of their notes. In order to learn in the best way possible, learners can also use another tool of the toolbox: through “add resources”, students can add links to external contents to a specific paragraph of a MOOC. Finally toolbox allows students to share the content of a specific lesson on social networks like Facebook or on Twitter. This is a useful way to expand and to disseminate knowledge and information about EMMA on social media channels.
From my point of view the EMMA toolbox is a useful and relevant feature for students, something that can help learners in their learning experience. I can take contents from different courses and put them together in a single coursebook, so I can create my “personal course”. Multilingual and free access to MOOCs accompanies and completes this potential. EMMA MOOCs offer a cross cultural and multilingual way to improve and acquire new knowledge and in doing so constitute a unique learning experience for me and for all learners. Students are protagonists in EMMA, they can built their own autonomous learning paths by taking different material and contents from the MOOCs available on the platform, and toolbox is one of the best features available to help students to do this effectively.