Not knowing what to expect from this course, and unsure about my own competences regarding on-line tools, I must admit that I have been rather nervous during the start-up phase.
However, I already feel more confident. One reason for this is that I have realized that my digital literacy is actually better than I thought.
David White’s films about “visitors” and “residents” made me realize that I am actually much more active on line than I realized. The facts that I have a blog where I write about my professional activities and that I have produced quite a bit of on-line teaching material actually places me in the camp of “residents”.
Getting more acquainted with the concept of digital literatry – for example by reading the “JISC Guide to Developing Digital Literacies” also made me realize that I am much more competent than I imagined.
Another thing that helped me overcome some of my initial fears was the interaction with the other members of my PBL-group. Live interaction through webcams really does add a valuable aspect to on-line learning by making it a bit more personal.
I will try to learn from these experiences when developing my own on-line courses. First of all, I will try to develop strategies for helping student overcome nervousness regarding their digital competency. I will also try to give the courses more of a “personal touch”. (Last year I substituted the weekly newsletter for short film clips of myself. Unfortunately changes in the learning platform have made this difficult, but I am sure that I can figure out some sort of solution.)
Parallel to my growing confidence I have also become somewhat sceptical of some of the ideas that I have encountered in the course material. As one of the members in my PBL group pointed out, White’s mapping of resident and visitor behavior is not crystal clear. In addition to this I think that it highlights only one dimension of the immense differences between individual and groups when it comes to using the Internet. I also think that the distinction between our professional and private behaviour needs to be further analyzed and theorized. My experience is that many students have difficulties developing a professional attitude when taking on-line courses. That is: their behavior on the learning platform is more like their behavior on Facebok than on campus.
Another thing that I noticed is that the literature on PBL seems to be somewhat problematic. It is, among other things, laden with jargon and – hence – not very precise. A good example of this can be found in Megan Y. C. A. Kek and Henk Huijser, “21st Century Skills: Problem Based Learning and the University of the Future” ( 2015). Their “human ecology for learning model”, for example, is very messy and full of relatively empty concepts (such as “History” and “Society”). I think that the jargon surrounding innovative pedagogical forms (and modern technology!) constitutes a major obstacle to the development of Online Networked Learning. It scares away students and teachers!
Last, but not least, I have also receved a couple of good pedagogical ideas. One of these is to have student write Wikipedia articles. That is a good way to get them to communicate with (potentially) large audiences. In addition they will improve their digital literacy, by having to reflect critically on what is already on Wikipedia, having to figure out how to publish on Wikipedia etc.