The running joke in our discussion group has been that we will delete our blogs once the ONL202 course is over…
I’m not too sure myself if I would continue blogging, but it is nice to be able to reflect on the intensive weeks since mid-September, when we began this journey.
Although I have had limited prior teaching experience—having only started teaching earlier this year, I had not doubted the general consensus that student engagement online would be much reduced compared to face-to-face interaction.
Having gone through almost three months of a 100% online course has opened my eyes to the possibility that in-depth engagement and effective collaborative learning can be successful. The challenges faced over the past year, with decline in student engagement with the shift online was more likely because of the abruptness of the changes, which caught everyone by surprise.
As I reflected in my previous post, there were various factors built into the ONL course that provided a fertile ground for such engagement to flourish. I do hope to take my learnings from the course, in particular on matters like pedagogical theory that I had little to no previous experience on, and apply it to my teaching and re-evaluate how my course is run.
I had been relatively comfortable with incorporating the use of PollEverywhere in my lectures, but the course has exposed me to a whole suite of digital tools that can further enhance and encourage collaborative learning.
Being in the shoes of a student for this course has also allowed me to revisit the anxiety of taking a new class, facing the prospect of working with strangers, and these days, having to explore new digital tools. It has thus been a useful exercise to reflect on the different challenges that students may face with online learning and be able to better support them, instead of assuming that most students, being digital natives, would do just fine.
I have also discovered the difference between division of tasks in a group and true collaborative learning, and hope to incorporate group work with a learning outcome that would be more geared toward the latter.
During our final webinar, I realised that what all the participants who made it till the end had in common appeared to be the strong bonds and comfortable camaraderie amongst their groups. This was key for the overwhelming positive feelings my group felt for the course—we loved our group!
Although we had much in common, I appreciated being exposed to the different cultures and mindsets (also the stories and occasional sights of the faraway lands, since we won’t be able to travel for awhile). Twice a week, we were able to put aside the hecticness of everyday responsibilities for a little chit-chat and a lot of in-depth exploration of pedagogical concepts like openness and sharing.
One of the key things I was most struck by was the concept of Open Educational Resources, which I do hope to explore further. The topic of openness as a whole, also helped me to reflect, and hopefully, take a step forward in expanding my values as educator.
Twelve weeks sounded like a long time when we started this course, but time has flown by. I am grateful for the opportunity to have taken the first steps into the world of open networked learning and look forward to what comes next!