The aim of this blogpost is to evaluate my participation in the cMooc Open networked Learning. The first thing that strikes me about the course is the absence of techno/instrumental bias. The course has included many tools and learning platforms - but they have all been pedagogically motivated and are aligned with the learning processes they are intended to promote. Which makes me realise even more what a common mistake/pitfall it otherwise normally is when e-learning is used in education.
Writing blogposts throughout the various steps of the course has been a good way to find space for reflection. The blogposts are still there and it is easy now to go back and follow my development through the course... And they can be useful in the future, in a much more live way than handwritten exam papers handed in and returned - for one thing it would not have been possible to give and recieve feedback among course participants the way we were encouraged to do...
How will aquired knowledge change my teaching and practise?
One of the strongest inspirations from the ONL-course will be the strenght of enabling and encouraging social learning: creating an interesting and stimulating environment where students/participants connect, communicate and share experience with one another. Many educational theories strongly emphasize learning as a social activity. I have worked for many years with group assessment in online environments, but I have not previously designed online environments for social learning in this clear and focused way.
I am also aware that the reason I managed to go through with the course was the encouragement from the facilitators and interaction and group strength which was formed with the other members of the PBL group. In other words: enabling space for connections and relationships in online courses must be the most effective way to counteract the otherwise common problem of low completion rates...
The course was built up on a wide variety of learning activities, all very different and called for different types of approaches:
the webinars based on the classical webinar format with a number of presenters and a parallell chat-window conversation going on, providing the place with a sense of meeting with all the course participants in one place
setting up a blog and writing blogposts - perhaps the most individual activity
a google plus place for the PBL-group combined with emailing and google hangout for the group work
In the beginning the many environments/learning spaces felt confusing, but over time I more and more got the "feel" of how the functionality in the different places worked, and which tool to use for wich purpose. Analysing the course, I see how the choice for the different environments are based on an idea of what type of learning activity is to take place there - as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, this will be the most valuable insight which I will bring with me, and I even feel very eager to start planning courses and be able to try this out for real.