Topic 4 is a great summary and sharing of our ideas and experiences of online and blended learning. The learning materials and activities, especially the padlet and webinar activities were very engaging. I remember in the webinar’s breakout session, I was in the same breakout group as another female educator who also teaches engineering and found that we shared similar experiences in the aspect of emotional presence in the classroom both online and offline, and how sometimes we may be seen to be perceived like a “mother” in the classroom. Another interesting point we shared was how we sometimes also need to understand how the mindset and culture change in our students changes over the years. I recalled how i have been teaching a course in “renewable energy” since the start of my academic career and one of the examples that I illustrate to provide some thought provoking humor in class is a snapshot of one of the classic scene from a famous chinese movie by Stephen Chow. The first 2 batches of students i have taught immediately identified with the images and could understand the humor and message behind. But in the more recent years, i can clearly see that many of my students do not know/watch Stephen Chow movies and that the message then becomes less relevant. Nevertheless, these are part and parcel of our journey as an educator to constantly refine how we bring the message across to our students.
For the task on Blended and Online Learning, where we found that there were so much information to share and hence, deciding on the focus for the topic was the most challenging task in the beginning. However, it is also through our active interaction and discussion that we manage to move forward to bring our presentation to fruition. Our presentation can be found here: (click here) Despite the fact that we are a team of 7 (plus 2 facilitators) who has never met in person and from different countries and background. The tasks that we have been working together on for the past few months has helped us to build the necessary trust and rapport to work well together towards a common goal.
In line with our investigation on the 5-stage model by Gilly Salmon, I feel that one can clearly see how in the ONL201 course has supported our learning in the following ways:
1 Access and Motivation
Right at the start, our organizers provided a good summary of the schedule and overview of the course. The ONL website provides a good summary of the information we need and the first week was dedicated to making sure our blogs are connected right.
2 Online Socialization
The introductory meetings on Zoom and the group meetings helps us to get to know the community and also our group members. We also started by posting our introduction on the blogs. We got to know our facilitators and feel really assured that they are around to support us during the course.
3. Information exchange
Readings, videos and webinars can all be found and access on the ONL website. I find this so well-structured that it is not difficult to find the article recommended for our reading. Our PBL group Google Drive also provide fast and easy access to our group meeting and task materials.
4. Knowledge Construction
Every 2 weeks, we will work with our PBL group to complete one task and along the way, we discuss and exchange information and knowledge via our Zoom meetings.
After ever task, we are also encouraged to post our reflections on our blogs to document what are our biggest take-away and most importantly how to apply our learning to develop our own practice.
The course and this topic has helped me to better appreciate and understand how to design online and blended learning.
Some important issues are raised.
There can be two ways to design the blended learning. One is based on the course content. Depending on the expected learning outcomes, different activities or tools can be used. The other is based on the needs of students, resulted from different personalities and backgrounds. This may be more challenging, but can be more effective.