What did you learn?
I have learned how to give my students an online course experience which will give them the environment for learning, yet allow them freedom and responsibility for their own acquisition of knowledge. I have learned to create a community of inquiry, where students ask questions and help each other learn, because connection with others is an important aspect of learning content and learning who we are in relation to what we learn. I have learned that assessment of ourselves and of others, along with reflection, enhances our learning.
How do you know you learned it?
A change in philosophy, in the way I think about online education. I aim to be more student-centered, and to step down from the podium as the sage on stage. A change in affect, how I feel about teaching and learning online. I am enthusiastic about the prospects, and excited to teach my first class. I want to try out all of these great things I have learned! A change in behavior, the way I teach, both online and in the classroom. I am designing more activities for class, and less lecture; more questions and fewer answers; more for the students to do, and less for me.
Can you provide examples of things that you have learned? – be specific, give details.
There are so many things, where to begin? Well, one thing that impressed me is how to use discussions as a platform for students to learn about what interests them, and to teach others. I knew discussion was an important element of an online class, but I did not fully understand how, why, or to what extent. I also have learned how to let go of some control to allow students to take up the reigns and drive their own learning goals. I don’t have to teach them everything that they will need to know, it is better to teach them how to ask the questions and how to discover their own answers. I can let them search for their own content. I can let them develop their own products. I learned how to use Moodle, although I don’t know if or when I will use it again. I also have fallen in love with Diigo; I can now book mark my life. I use it for other classes, for lesson planning, even for ideas for decorating our new house. I also learned how to use Edublog, which I will use in my own courses. There are other tools that I still haven’t really learned to use, but have learned of their existence, like voice and audio recording, streaming PowerPoints, and this second life (which I am still looking forward to trying).
What helped your learning?
Hands on experience helped me in the technicalities of the course design. Experiencing this course, and viewing other examples, as models for developing my own course. Researching answers to my own questions for the discussions. Reviewing my peer’s courses.
What would have helped your learning more?
What hindered your learning?
Some of my own resistance to change was a hindrance, but I feel I have gotten past a lot of that. Honestly, some of my resistance was not even a resistance to the ideas presented in the course, but resistance of the course itself. I felt very overwhelmed and overloaded with assignments. I felt that spending 20-25 hours per module just on discussions was too much, and because of it I was becoming resistant and resentful. Not to say that I was not learning, because I do feel that I learned a great deal, but I believe that I could have been equally as effective in less time. There were times when I was just looking for anything to talk about, not because I was interested or had questions, but because I needed to fine MORE to discuss. The amount of time spent on discussions also took away from time I could have spent on other assignments and building my course.
What got in the way of your learning?
I don’t feel that anything got in my way, as to me that implies that there was a prevention of the learning process. As I mentioned above, there were some road blocks, but I feel I navigated through accordingly and learned what I set out to learn.
How did you feel?
As I said, through much of the course I have felt overwhelmed, overloaded, and even resistant and resentful. I also felt determined. I was not going to give up out of frustration. I felt satisfied with my learning and when I accomplished my goals, despite anything else I had been feeling at the time. I don’t typically have this experience with my courses, as I doubt I would continue with my education if I experienced this every time I took a class.
And, how do you feel now?
Now, I feel relieved that the class is over, and satisfied with what I have learned. I also am experiencing some dissonance due to inadequate justification—feeling that the time and energy I put forth did not get me the return that I had expected. Typically, when you put as much time and effort into a class as I have this summer, you get a great grade. As I cannot get an A at this point, I feel why put in any more effort than necessary, as best as I can get is a B now anyway.