"Champagne at the Winery" by Tom Coates is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Reflecting on my learnings from attending the ONL191 course
It is amazing how quick time passes when you have fun. When the ONL course started I was attending a project meeting in Maputo, the capitol of Mozambique. I logged in to the ONL site for the first time seeking information about the outline of the course. Soon I realised that I had to develop a website, a blog, where I was expected to publish regular posts related to the course. Wow, this was exciting! This blog is the result. The blogging has been one of the highlights of this course, to have to reflect and share your thoughts related to the different topics addressed during the course. This experience has made me contemplate to continue blogging after this course is over.
When thinking back, trying to identify what has been the most important thing that I have learnt during this course, I realise that I have learnt a lot during the past weeks, and it is difficult to identify what was the most important. However, the entire course was based on four main topics, all addressing different aspects of on-line networked learning. To use PBL as the foundation for the collaborative learning was great. The different topics were all rather vague and fuzzy, but they resulted in many insights and understanding. The regular meetings with the PBL group and the group facilitators, discussing the topics and using the FISh model to guide us in the analysis of each topic was a new experience. This worked so well so I will try to implement a similar approach as part of my own on-line courses.
The topic I appreciated most was Topic 4: Design for on-line and blended learning. This topic gave me a theoretical framework for how to design and implement on-line learning, frameworks that were new to me. It was also great to realise that the approach that we taken in our established on-line courses is in line with these theories. However, I also learnt that there is still a lot to do, to make our courses more engaging and fulfilling for the students that take them.
Another topic that was an eye-opener was Topic 2: Open learning – sharing and openness. Here I got valuable insights into the issues related to on-line resources, e.g. pictures and illustrations that you can find on Internet. The introduction of the Creative Commons licensing was very valuable and someting that made me think about how I handle these sources in my lectures and in other documents.
A final reflection is that while working on the different topics in the PBL group we were exposed to a range of new interesting digital tools for on-line collaboration. The foundation of our collaboration has been Zoom, a tool that I am using more or less daily, not only for this course, but for meetings with colleagues all over the world, as well as within the University. Without the regular Zoom meetings this course would not have been such a great experience that it was. Other tools that were introduced are: Flipgrip, Trello, Coggle, Paddlet, Mindmup etc… All these opened up new possibilities to enhance engagement and collaborative learning, which I will try to implement in my own on-line courses in the future.
Towards the end of the course I was back in Maputo for another project meeting, and this time I found myself sitting in the garden of the same hotel where I was staying when the course started. This time I had to record a video, using Flipgrid, elaborating on how to engage on-line students, taking the social-, cognitive- and teacher presence into consideration. That’s when I realised that the ONL191 course really given me some new valuable insight into on-line learning.
Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to the Facilitators of PBL group 4, Tore and Fernanda. You did a great job facilitating the group meetings, guiding us through the process. Finally, thank you to my fellow participants in PBL group 4, it was great getting to know you and to work with you during this course. I hope we will be able to keep in touch.