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.

2 thoughts on “Reflections on Topic 4: Design for online and blended learning

  1. Hi Fazila,
    The socio-emotional aspects of learning especially in an online environment is also something we talked about often in my PBL group. I do agree that it did not quite receive a major focus in terms of being its own topic. However looking back now that the course is finished and we have been through all the topics, it seems the socio-emotional was sort of subtly part of most of the topics. For example, anxieties for the likely outcome of openness, digital presence and footprints etc. These are shared by both teachers and learners alike. Interestingly, frameworks like Salmons etc, sort of take this into consideration by addressing online socialization, which is an important strategy to address the socio-emotional aspects..


  2. Thanks for your valuable reflections – it seems a sound suggestion to have this topic earlier and to have more socio-emotional activities within the group to foster it; one must as the saying go, practice what you preach (or teach):)


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