Reflections on Topic 5: Lessons learnt – future practice

Finally, the ONL191-course has come to an end, and it is time to reflect. This is quite a challenging task, and feels overwhelming. There has been so many topics, and sub-topics, discussions and perceptions, activities and tools and… Yes, you get me there! 🙂 So, to make this last blog understandable and sort my own thoughts I will focus on the first two questions posed by the course organizers.

First question, which reads “What are the most important things that you have learnt through your engagement in the ONL course? Why?” and the second questions: “How will your learning influence your practice?” are to me related. At least, given my experience and motivation during this course. I attended the course with the aim to learn more about online learning as I will be teaching a blended learning course myself from next year, and I wanted to experience what it is like to be an online student. Both aims have been touched upon throughout this course. So reflecting on the first question, I have really experienced what it is like being an online student. More importantly, how it feels to enter a course, become part of a group which you do not know but you are expected to work with – on issues that are familiar with but you are not proficient in.

So, to make these reflections a little more clear, I will use time as help. Meaning, when I look back- when the course started, I felt curious but uncomfortable. I struggled finding the necessary administrative plan for me to relax and know what is coming. Also, even though I had read the course expectations I found it a lot more challenging and time consuming in the beginning than I thought. This felt a little easier after a while when things started to become familiar and was put in my routine. This made me realise that good planning of meeting points, assignments might be key to such a course. Also, one of the most interesting experiences I had was that a 1hour meeting felt sooo long and exhausting. This made me feel stupid sometimes, and I often wondered if the other had the same experience. Honestly, I never brought this up being afraid that it might be misunderstood. After reflecting on this over and over, I have realized that sitting one hour in front of a computer screen, is quite intense, so no doubt it is exhausting. And very different from being in a meeting with a group face2face in which you do not have to stare at the others for full 60 minutes, but your eyes can wonder a bit more and body language helps you show that you are engaged. Therefore, when my colleagues suggested that we will arrange 3 hours online meetings, I shared my experience with them and we have decided on finding other solutionsJ

I have also experienced that it takes time to get groups work well together, and meeting often – but short might be effective. Moreover, it might be beneficial to have the expectations of group members clear from the beginning.

Exploring different digital tools throughout the course together with group members have been very interesting, and something I will suggest in other such courses. This was a great way of learning about new tools and trying them out given that someone in the group knew about them, and had positive experience using them.

Finally, being introduced to a framework for designing online and blended learning was very relevant to me. This is something I will continue working on after this course, and try to apply in practice.

There is so much more that could have been said, but there is a limit to everything. Therefore, I will conclude with: Thank you so much ONL191, this has been a great experience, I have truly learned a lot, and to me this is the end of a new beginning (I hope this makes sense, anyways- THANK YOU)! 🙂

Reflections on Topic 4: Design for online and blended learning

This topic has been interesting and I have as during the other topics, learned a lot! However, not in the same way. This topic was new to me – or I mean the framework(s) were rather new to me. I have no previous experience with designing an online course or teaching one. Actually, I joined the ONL191-course because I will start teaching a blended learning course from next semester and wanted to experience being a student in an online learning community and learn about online teaching.

Given my little experience from designing such course, I found myself as a listener and observer – a novice throughout this topic, trying to learn as much as possible, taking the new knowledge, for instance about the framework (i.e., 7 Principles of blended & online learning; Vaughan et al., 2013) and try to make it fit into my previous knowledge. During this topic, I felt that I could not contribute to the discussions in the same way as in the previous PBL meetings. Rather, I learned from the others, listened and posed questions. This was a nice experience, and made me realise the dynamics of a group, and the importance of having different group members sharing their experiences and knowledge.

One of the things that particularly puzzled me during this topic was the large emphasis on the socio-emotional aspects in online learning. As I acknowledge that this is an important part of being an online learner, I recognized that this was not something that received much focus in my PBL-group. I started to wonder if that was done on purpose. We had one activity in the beginning of the ONL-course, which was about presenting ourselves in a powerpoint-slide, in which we shared some information such as hobbies, kids, family, where we live. I found this great as it said something more about the persons in the group and not only their work-related info. Yet, we did not have other activities, which dealt with the socio-emotional aspects. However, when this was brought to attention during this topic, it made a lot sense and as something that had developed slowly during the PBL-meeting. Now, I wonder how it would have been if these aspects had been specifically dealt with in the beginning of the course.

Also, this topic seemed in many ways as a topic that might should have been introduced earlier – as a tool to create online learning. Anyways, working on the topics prior to this one provided knowledge and experience which made this topic fit somehow “better”. More importantly, the knowledge about this framework and the idea that there might be other frameworks which could potentially help creating an online course, is of great value to me – and which I will definitely explore further now when I will initiate the planning of the course I will be teaching.

Reflections on Topic 3: Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning

Now the time for reflecting on topic 3, Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning has come. My reflections are going all over the place. There are so mine dimensions related to this topic and I am struggling with finding one focus. I guess this is a way of acknowledging the importance of this topic. One example of the importance of collaborative learning is a quote by one former colleague (I am not sure whether it is his quote, but at least hanging in his office), something along these lines: “If you want to go fast – go alone, if you want to go far – go with someone”. I find this quote very relevant and recognize the essence of it from my own experiences. Hence, in this post I will focus my reflections on one of my own personal learning networks, how it developed and how it could be taken further.

In this reflection, I am thinking about one particular collaboration between myself and two other researchers that has been working very well. I could have chosen other examples that has also been working well or those that have been a disaster. The reason for choosing the most positive experience and well working collaboration is that when collaboration works it is gold – and therefore reflecting on the processes to get there seems useful. To me collaborative learning is different from collaboration, because the component of learning is not necessarily something that comes out of all collaborations. Also, looking back at my experience from primary education – collaborative work was often associated with cooperative work. I remember that we (a group of students) received a task, which was solved by sharing responsibilities for parts of the task, put the bits together and presented or handed in – without further reflections or reviewing each others’ contributions. I do not see this as collaborative work or learning – rather parallel working or so… So, to keep this short, from my experience some of the essentials of well working collaborative learning communities are: a mutual interest in the task/field, feeling of belonging, a wish to contribute, taking responsibility for keeping the learning community continuing and developing. This is a process that takes time and consideration, and more importantly, like any other relation it needs continued attention. I believe even well-working learning communities may fade if the participants get lazy (free-riders) over longer periods. I believe there are also other aspects important to building learning communities, please leave a comment mentioning your experiences or thoughts! 🙂

Reflections on Topic 2: Open Learning – Sharing and Openness

Now, it has been sometime since my last post. However, I have been thinking a lot about it, just could not find time to sit down and do the actual writing. And here is an interesting reflection on (my)self – I actually look forward to the writing, and it has become a way of relaxing and “landing” all the thoughts, ideas and reflections that jump around in my mind 🙂

This topic started some interesting discussions in my group. I see the topic divided in two, one part about the regulations, ethics and use related to using digital material and resources, and the second regarding the openness of self, colleagues and others to share own material to the world outside. My reflections in this blogpost will be regarding the last, i.e., openness in my own context. While I like to use open resources I find on the Internet, and appreciate them a lot, I find it quite challenging to share my own material. I sometimes hesitate sharing. During this course, I have had the chance to reflect on my hesitations. And I asked myself some very honest questions, for instance, is it because: (1) I am afraid someone will “steal” my work or ideas; (2) that it is not good enough; (3) that it is embarrassing to share, someone might criticize it; (4) it was not meant to be shared; or (5) not relevant nor interesting for those outside the course. While it is difficult to point out one specific reason, I am quite sure that the reason behind my hesitations is not the first one. Rather a mix of the rest. In particular, making material open which I on beforehand had not decided should be open feels challenging, this I believe would be easier when I know it will be open. Also, making some of the material (that may appeal to a larger audience) open makes more sense than making the entire course open. Most importantly, the feeling of putting myself “out there” feels uncomfortable. Yet, I am sure there are ways of keeping oneself more “invisible”, emphasizing the core of the material. In the end, having these questions in mind, the most important take-home message for myself is that I need to be better at sharing to contribute, and not only be one that uses what others make open.

Reflections on topic 1: Online participation & digital literacies

I am a little late with this blog – which is about my reflections on the first topic of the ONL191-course. I have been travelling. I was in Mexico, and had huge plans about writing this blog post during my travel to Mexico from Oslo. This should have been possible during the 15 hours spent in the airplane, but no – my toddler refused to sleep. In Mexico, the internet was not as available as I am used to back home, and also the warm weather and much to do and see challenged this. However, I have been thinking a lot about the topic, and now I will try to type my reflections and share with you!

I was happy about this first topic; in particular, Digital literacy has been the core theme in my own work as researcher. My PhD was pretty much about students’ and teachers’ digital literacy (also called digital competence, ICT literacy, TPACK etc). This made me believe that I had a huge advantage. Yet, I learned that knowing things theoretically and experiencing things do not always go hand in hand. Also, it gets a little more challenging when this is happening in a group with others that you do not know on beforehand. Hence, I have learned a lot about myself as an individual in an online learning community. And more importantly, now I know how it may feel for others to for instance be part of an online course. During the first online meetings I really felt that I need very structured and well-planned sessions to get the most out of it. Also, that I have to be prepared, interested and active in order to benefit and not have the feeling of wasting time. Also, 1 hours which is so little in real feels a lot if the conversations and discussions do not float well, and the members are not prepared. I realized that for me the beginning of the course is critically important, and the way this was done in the ONL-course has been inspiring. It helps that everyone presents themselves – saying something about their professional life, but also their private life (e.g., interests, family etc). I will take this with me when planning an online course.

Secondly, even though I emphasize that teachers and educators need to have a certain level of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK, e.g., Scherer et al., 2018; Tondeur et al., 2017) in order to teach in digital environments and develop teaching and learning materials, I realize that having experience with several types of technological resources is vital. This has striked me as an even more important aspect as compared to earlier in which I thought that having pedagogical and didactical knowledge should be sufficient to select the relevant technological tools for the specific educational purposes. I find that still critical, but do also see the value of knowing and experiencing several tools to be able to evaluate their use in teaching. Also, because the tools can be alien to some users, exploring them together seems to be a good way of building ones technological repertoire!

I will end here, wishing you all a great weekend ahead!


Scherer, R., Tondeur, J., Siddiq, F., & Baran, Evrim. (2018). The importance of attitudes toward technology for pre-service teachers’ technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge: Comparing structural equation modelling approaches. Computers in Human Behavior.

Tondeur, J., Scherer, R., Siddiq, F., & Baran. (2017). A comprehensive investigation of TPACK within pre-service teachers’ ICT profiles: Mind the gap! Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 33(3). Doi:10.14742/ajet.3504

My first blog post!

It is morning, my daughter (6 months) is sleeping and I am a little excited about writing my first blog post. And frankly, in a way I am enjoying this moment! This is because (here comes a small confession..), I have been a little prejudiced against bloggers and the so-called influencers. Therefore, this feeling of doing something new and putting oneself out there is interesting. This also relates pretty much to the fact that I am participating in the ONL-course and learning new thing, both personally and professionally. I will elaborate more on this during the course!

For now, have a great day! 🙂