An experience with AI…

I confess that this was the most difficult topic for me and that is the reason I’ve been postponing this reflection. I really don’t know what to write. I think I’m still reflecting on it, without arriving at any conclusion…

We (PBL group) choose to try out ChatGPT to help us with something related to teaching. Well, I choose to ask for a syllabus on a subject I teach for PhD students in Education. I used a prompt from a prompts library and reformulated it several times without being satisfied with the results.

It was a mixed feeling of interest and frustration.

Maybe AI tools can be helpful, and it is I who don’t know how to interact with them, but for now, I still believe that I shall rely mainly (or only) on the human brain…




The arrival…

Taking part in ONL 241 was quite a ride!

Topic 1 was the most impactful for me. It was like discovering a whole new world. Even using several digital tools, I was unaware of how I used them. It was just a natural thing of life. However, I learned a lot of new tools and found some difficulties in using and understanding them. This made me realise that I am not as digitally advanced as I thought, even if I am more advanced than my department colleagues.
Topic 3, about collaborative learning, was very interesting. It made me think about how collaborative group work can be. Is collaboration referring to building work for the same end, even if the methodology is to divide the tasks by several group members? Or is it referring to being together, reflecting, and constructing the work together? I am still not sure.

Participating in a PBL group was challenging at times but also highly rewarding. I often find that my perspective differs from others, which makes it difficult to engage in group work. If the discussions were conducted in my native language, I would debate my point of view until I had no further arguments. However, using English makes me less comfortable, and it seems to widen the gap. Nevertheless, this was also an excellent way of practising the use of English.
I must admit, I’m pleased this course is ending. It’s been very demanding, with so many interesting resources to keep up with. However, I’ll miss the Take V’ers (my PBL group). They’ve been great, and I’ve learned a lot.

From this journey, I take with me all the learning, resources and friendship. Tools like Miro, Mural and Unsplash will be extremely useful in the future as well as awareness about copyright and creative commons licences 🙂

I still have a lot of questions,  but these are most prevalent: How to build an online course from scratch? How to do a good reflection?

Now, to finalise…

I believe that the course would be more beneficial for me if the sessions were more spaced out over time, so I could make better use of the resources. A PBL meeting per week would be enough to keep in touch and get the work done. I believe that topics could take three weeks, even to do a good reflection on them. Just an opinion…



Opening the mind…

Being aware that the way we think is rooted in our life experiences and education is very important in breaking the rigidity of thinking and being open to listening and integrating other perspectives. Then, knowledge can happen. One of my personal development goals is to try to identify and understand why people see the same issue from different perspectives and to put myself in their shoes. I believe that achieving this understanding will make me able to accept more of other people’s perspectives and make me a wise person (one day…).

I am part of a research community of practice. I think it is similar to the communities of practice discussed by Wenger (2010).
We are a group of Masters and PhD students and junior researchers. There is also a senior researcher who is a teacher and the supervisor of most of the students. We learn by presenting, commenting on and discussing each other’s work. The supervisor also comments on the work, but she’s also subject to the comments on the students’ presentations. There is no criticism, only discussion of research options and suggestions for improvement. When I presented this experience to my PBL group, a colleague raised the question of power issues that might be present in such a community, given the involvement of a senior researcher. I never felt it, but I cannot deny that there could be power imbalances in my research community of practice, especially for Masters students.

Participating in my research community of practice, as well as (and especially) in my PBL group, is very challenging as I can’t always follow the line of thought of the other participants. But participating in such groups is also very enriching because I can connect with other ways of thinking that are grounded in people’s personal and professional life experiences. And that is certainly a step towards one of my life’s goals.

Just a note: my research community of practice is called JEDI ( 🙂


Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 179-198). Springer London.

In the Open wide space…

As visitors or residents (White & Le Cornu, 2011), every day, we are faced with an immense open space of information through internet access. There are numerous opportunities to access resources to learn about something of interest. The challenge is to select trustworthy content from the available options. Of course, each one interests depend on many (structural) variables that may condition access to quality information. This reflection stays for another ride…

Topic 2 has prompted me to reflect on various aspects related to the resources available in open access. Here they are:

1) I often use OER to improve my learning about different interests I have in life, be it personal or professional. My favourite platform to do some MOOCs is Coursera. I believe it is trustworthy. I’m currently attending two courses. One about Research Methods, and the other about Data Analytics. All the content to learn about the topic is available to anyone, but to get a certificate, we must pay. Thus, the knowledge is openly available, but the proof of the knowledge acquired is not. I understand. But do the fees for obtaining a certificate go to the course creators or to Coursera? Are the authors of the courses being compensated for their work?

2) As an academic lecturing research methods with the support of a given software, I’ve been struggling for years with the idea of creating YouTube videos to explain data analysis using that software (there are already a lot in English, just a few in PT). Never advanced with that idea because of (time constraints, for sure) fear of creating a public resource and having someone steal my work. Now, I know (just) a little more about copyright, but I am still not sure about how to secure my work. Thus, for now, my option is not to make it.

3) As researchers we have like a demand of our job to publish our research in academic journals (publish or perish). Ok. That way, we share with the wider community the knowledge we acquire with our work and contribute to the wider knowledge on the field. But, even keeping the authorship of our paper, we give away copyright to publishers. If it is a real open access journal, we don’t pay APC and can share the article right away. The article is free to anyone. But, if it is a so-called ‘open access journal’ that charges APC, researchers have done the work, but to get the article available to share right away, they must pay a big amount of money (that not every researcher has available)… Then there is the option of not paying APC and having the article closed for sharing for at least 18 months… The article is available to download for anyone who is willing to pay for it. However, researchers do not get any of that amount. Well, maybe I can understand that publishers must earn money and pay their employees, but it is (maybe again) an easy way to get money with others’ work. Notice that usually, the journal editors are academics, not being paid to be editors (as far as I know); reviewers of the papers are not paid either (some get discounts to buy publishers’ publications; others get a sort of credit that can be discounted in APC). So, that leaves the administrators and employees who do the editing to get paid. And, of course, if they work, they shall be paid. But it seems to me it is a big industry and an easy way of making money. Maybe (also) I don’t know enough about the issue. The only thing I know is that, as researchers, we’re stuck in this trap.


White, D. & Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

How did I get here?!

I’m attending the ONL 241 course which is very challenging as I don’t have much available time (as many other people). But I’m finding it very interesting and useful!

Last week I watched the recording of the webinar with David White, which was very inspiring. David challenged the participants to draw a map of their footprint in the digital world. I thought it could be funny to draw mine and was surprised with what I got.



I thought of myself as a technological person, as I always look for tools that can make life (and especially work) easier and less time-consuming. Now, I consider ‘technology’ as a set of tools, and ‘digital’ as the way of using technology, but I’m not sure if technology is always digital. Is it?

Maybe I am more ‘digital’ than I thought I was. In fact, I never thought about the concept of digital applied to me. Nevertheless, as an example, I almost don’t use pen and paper to take notes… I use OneNote for professional notes, and Goggle Keep for personal ones.

Doing the map, I realised that I have two identities that I keep separate: the personal (in yellow) and the professional (in green).

It seems that I am moving through the continuum, being more of a visitor in some digital spaces and more of a resident in others. For example, I use Facebook and Instagram with personal accounts, but I almost don’t post anything there as I don’t like to expose my personal life. In the professional spot, essentially, I use tools that enhance productivity. Still, I am distant from being a real resident in the sense of producing content for digital sharing, that is, for sharing on the internet. But I have a doubt… being a resident in David White’s continuum means being an expert in the use of digital tools, or it means leaving a footprint on the internet?

The internet can be a very dangerous place, especially for personal exposure! Besides phishing practices, when we expose our opinions, we are subject to receiving unpolite comments from people who disagree. Yes, disagreement is positive as it can lead people to think better about a subject, but rudeness is not acceptable.

That brings me to the scenario set up for topic 1, ‘online participation and digital literacies’, and the debates in the Take V PBL group meetings. The group has come to focus on Critical Thinking Skills (CTS) as being important to filter the huge amount of information available on the internet. Critical thinking allows people to evaluate the trustworthiness of the information and its applicability. I believe that CTS are fundamental for every person in every context and not only for digital use. CTS should be developed in educational contexts since early childhood. I believe that the development of CTS could impact positively on relationships and, therefore, contribute to a better world as it would improve inclusion and social justice.

Is it a utopian view? I don’t believe in utopia, as several past utopias are a reality nowadays.