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)! 🙂