This blog’s title – ”My journey through ONL” – is very appropriate. For it has indeed been a journey. And the journey will continue after the end of the course, when I start implementing what I have learned in my teaching.
However, since I am embarking on a real journey (to Australia!) tomorrow the last stage of my journey of learning is characterized by stress…
The most important thing I have learned is without doubt that I am more digitally literate than I thought. This has boosted my confidence. And it has made me realize that it is an important pedagogical task to help my students get a similar boost. Taking an online course can be a scary thing, and if the students are not confident that they will learn to master the tools, then things can get messy. I have not yet decided on a strategy for dealing with this, but I am sure that I will come up with on. (And, if I fail, I can always contact the members of my PBL-group and ask them for help.)
Another thing that have learned is that there are lots of digital tools out there that can be used for online collaboration. In my PBL-group we have made padlets, held Zoom-metings, worked on shared Google documents etc. I will definatley have my students use these tools, and encourage them to find and test other ones. Thereby I will not only make it possible for them to collaborate – I will also help them develop their digital literacy (which is a great bonus for students taking for example literature classes).
Taking this course has, by the way, developed my understanding of how powerful collaborative learning can be. Therefore I will definitely try to strengthen the collaborative dimension in my courses. In my PBL-group our collaboration got stronger over time. Instead of people dropping out, we all increased our level of engagement. I think that the facilitators helped us achieve this, by getting us started, and this is indeed something I will try to learn from when designing new courses.
I think that I have also become much more positive toward the idea of openness and sharing. However, I think that there are issues that could have been addressed more explicitly during the course. Can openness be a threat to personal integrity? Is there a danger in relying to much on learning materials produced at the big and prestigious universities in the US?
Of course, openness and sharing is conditioned by intellectual property rights. Getting to learn more about this, and getting to explore Creative Commons has certainly been a great thing, and I have already begun Creative Commons licensing on my teaching material.
The fourth topic – designing learning activities – was indeed the most challenging one. But thanks to the well-functioning PBL-group we were successful. One of the problems was probabaly that not all of us were committed to a specific pedagogical idea. Perhaps this course works best if the participants already know about, for example, constructive alignment. The construction of learning activities is dependent on pedagogical “ideology,” and that is not something one constructs quickly.
OK, now I am off to Australia. But the journey continues…