OpenTurf (H818) project update

TMA02 Part1

Good progress has been made on developing the ‘proof of concept’ online platform. Originally I was thinking along the lines of having just a comment feature for each individual criteria of the new Apprenticeship Standard (Sports Turf Operative) so that users could add suggestions and links for what they find useful for learning about the specific criterion. After further research I realised this wasn’t really challenging, or engaging enough, so have extended the idea much further.

To help capture what I am developing I’ve worked on a mind map using Popplet – I’ve attached a jpeg for those without a popplet account, and am aiming to replicate this (more attractively) in a poster for TMA02 Part 1, but my content is mostly there, it just needs jiggling about and ‘tarting up’.

Mind map for TMA02 Part 1

Mind map for TMA02 Part 1

I do need to decide on the actual delivery format of the poster (for the TMA Part 1) as there does seem quite a few possibilities to consider, but that’s for another blog to expand on.

The research to-date has informed me of suitable Web 2.0 tools to include within the project; to get these working there are 4 MySql databases connected to different parts of the platform – blog, comment system, wiki, and forum. The live platform is

At the time of writing there is obviously still more to do but I’m pleased the concept has been deployed and actually works; I just need to develop it further and get feedback from users; and analyse research papers further to support the concept.

An API widget (Web 2.0 technology) has also been included which provides a feed from the UK Government’s Apprenticeship web site showing all the apprentice jobs currently available in the Horticulture sector.

The contact form uses AJAX so users do not see a page refresh – again another web 2.0 feature.

Of particular interest in deciding on what to include within the platform has been the research of Song & Lee. The research paper evaluated a range of informal learning websites, identifying the diverse range of tools which can encourage online participation in supporting informal learning.

(Song, D. & Lee, J. (2014), ‘Has Web 2.0 revitalized informal learning? The relationship between Web 2.0 and informal learning’, Volume 30, Issue 6, pages 511–533, December 2014, retrieved from accessed 28 November 2015)

The idea for the OpenTurf platform is to encourage users in determining what they want to learn and in a way that suits them, and on a web platform that provides the interest and enthusiasm to stay engaged with the learning process. All of this is to develop towards a defined outcome of having a better understanding of what it is to be a craft level sports turf operative within Groundsmanship.

It’s only been 2-months since the start of the H818 course with the Open University, but I think significant progress has already been made. Just need to keep the momentum going now.



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