In the ONL course an important part of the learning process is to reflect on the things you are experiencing and how you understand it. This is an on-going activity during the course and you should write down your thoughts and present them after each topic. In the instructions for each topic you will be presented with specific reflective tasks.
Why should you reflect?
Reflection is a process of exploring and examining ourselves, our perspectives in relation to others, based on your experiences and expectations, in this case specifically in your interaction with the material provided, your interactions with your PBL group, and in participating in the webinars and activities organized.
Writing is a form of thinking and can help you in applying what you have learned in your context and to align back to your learning goals when you signed up for ONL. By reflecting you will learn and develop your metacognitive skills.
The reflections can be presented in the form of a text, a video, an audio file etc. We encourage you to continuously collect your thoughts, ideas and reflections from your learning experience, as you go through the course.
Keep a learning diary
To collect your thoughts along the way, to save a memory of your learning points, ideas, challenges you face, and what you enjoy you can keep a learning diary. Material in your learning diary can go into your group presentation and also help you in the writing of your reflections.
Share your reflections
Many of our participants have shared their reflections openly. We encourage you to do so as well and connect your individual reflection space to the course homepage. By doing so, your posts will be shared with the ONL community and you can get input and feedback from other course participants and the course team.
Your individual reflections in ONL
One way to write course reflections is to write a post for each course topic (please find information about course requirements at How to participate). Your post should fulfill the following criteria:
- A reflective post of at least 400 words with thoughts on the relevant topic such as how you can use your new skills in your own practice, understanding of student’s experiences etc.
- Include references to course literature and other relevant sources
You can also post audio or video reflections on your individual reflection space. Just record a video or audio file and upload or link it to your space. These posts should also be reflective, referring to the course topic and relevant sources.
A large part of the course focuses on group work but the individual reflection space allows you to present your own thoughts. You are also encouraged to read and comment on your colleagues’ reflections as much as possible. Hopefully you will enjoy using your individual reflection space to reflect on your learning and might consider continuing writing also after the course.
How do I start an individual reflection space?
You have at least two ways of starting an individual reflection space. The easiest and most supported way is to create your space directly on opennetworkedlearning.se. The second way is to choose one of the many external providers for such services, such as WordPress.com, Blogger and Weebly.
Individual reflection space on opennetworkedlearning.se
We offer the possibility to set up your own individual reflection space directly on the ONL course homepage during the iteration of the course. You can even have it for a couple of months after the course has finished. All you need to do is log in with your ONL user account and visit https://www.opennetworkedlearning.se/create-your-individual-reflection-space/.
What happens to my reflections after the course is finished?
It is easy to download all your texts from your individual reflection space and upload them on another WordPress installation, either on WordPress.com, your institution or a WordPress installation on any web hosting service. If you are unsure how to do this we will send out some instructions on how to do it. It is as easy as creating your space.
Using an external provider for you individual reflection space
WordPress.com is probably the most common tool for this purpose and has an enormous range of features so you can produce a very attractive space if you are prepared to spend time on it. Over 30% of all internet sites are run with WordPress. It is open source and for free. Blogger is owned by Google and if you have a Google account (g-mail) you automatically have access to Blogger. Both offer nice easy templates so you can create a reflection space and publish your first post in less than half an hour. We highly recommend you using WordPress though, as it will make things easier during the course if you want to connect your space to the ONL course homepage. The free version of WordPress can be a bit tricky to find. Here you can find some help. In the last step watch for the top of the screen, not the big blocks of plans (see picture below).
Now connect your space for people to find it
Remember that once you have started a reflection space it is impossible to find it in Google until people start visiting it, so make sure you tell as many people as possible the address to your reflection space and connect it to opennetworkedlearning.se.
One of the main reasons to use an individual reflection space is to get outside the “walls” of a Learning Management System or Virtual Learning Environment and to share participants’ work publicly with a broader audience. This helps provide an audience for work which can make it more relevant and meaningful, since it can potentially have a “real world” audience.
That being said, there are times when privacy is needed. WordPress can accommodate that. Read more about it here. You can always change this setting at a later stage. If you make your reflection space private, you will not be able to connect it. Make also sure that your Facilitator has access to your individual reflections.
Support for your individual reflection space
The course team will offer general support for reflection from a pedagogical perspective as well as for support for more technical aspects of your individual reflection space. During the getting started week, there will be scheduled activities and workshops. See the course overview for dates and times.
We are also offering individual reflection writing clinics
This one-hour workshop is for anyone on the ONL course who wants to know more about how to write their individual reflections, or developing their writing.
We know that writing can be a source of stress for many knowledge workers, so we will use practical strategies to get your writing moving. Participants will develop possible topics for their next post, think about their authorial voice, and discuss their ideas with peers. And you will also do some writing!
The sessions will not be recorded, as it is very personal and we want to make sure to create a safe space for the participants to share their ideas.
The individual reflection team will lead the workshop. You will find more information on the ONL222 Community space.