Welcome to my blog, where I will be sharing reflections from ONL202 Open Networked Learning over the next few weeks.
I am a lecturer and curator at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore (NUS). I started teaching for the first time last semester and it was an interesting time adapting and managing students’ expectations week-by-week as the semester (and pandemic) progressed. I was lucky to be able to complete all my lectures face-to-face with a few of the final sessions conducted in a hybrid manner (live + Zoom). But the group project, which was to be a mini museum showcasing biodiversity conservation topics, had to be moved to an online presentation.
As I mulled over the student and peer feedback from that first challenging semester and was looking into making the necessary modifications to the course, I received the email about signing up for ONL202 and was intrigued by the course description (though with some hesitation, more on that later). I figured that the course would be an excellent opportunity to learn more about teaching online.
The first two weeks of the course were a time to connect with other participants from NUS, followed by our respective PBL (Problem-based Learning) groups. My group (PBL04) consists of a mix of participants, who are mostly based in Europe, with only me and another NUS colleague being based in Asia. Our backgrounds represent quite a good diversity—both culturally and professionally. Having only started this job last year and being a novice lecturer with little exposure (or rather, awareness) to pedagogical techniques, I look forward to learning from, and together with, the rest of my group as we tackle a variety of scenarios related to online learning over the next couple of months.
As I went through the course description prior to the start of this course, I felt a little anxious as it felt like returning to school and having to face the first day of class all over again. Upon reflection, it is a good chance to experience this feeling from the point of view of students, especially those who were thrown into the deep end (along with their lecturers) six months ago. I hope that as the weeks go by, I will find that these early jitters are unfounded, and also learn to accommodate similar anxieties as an educator.