A year has past since I experienced the few intense, and very interesting, months together with my PBL-group in ONL192. How little did we know as we met for the last time in December 2019, about the future and the how a lot of the things we hade worked on and discussed during the course, should become more present than ever before in the year of 2020. The pandemic caused by Covid-19 has changed the premises of work and education for many people all over the world. Digital is the new normal, and a huge digital leap has been forced onto many people and organisations, whether they like it or not. When I reread a quote from my blogpost in Topic 1, I got caught up with the definition of digital literacies:
“Digital literacies are those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society. Digital literacy looks beyond functional IT skills to describe a richer set of digital behaviours, practices and identities. What it means to be digitally literate changes over time and across contexts, so digital literacies are essentially a set of academic and professional situated practices supported by diverse and changing technologies.” Developing digital literacies Jisc infonet
The words time and context caught my attention, since it is more or less impossible to overlook the impact of the pandemic both it comes to time and context. I think it would be useful for many people to stop for a minute and reflect on how the past year has changed our skills and our behaviour. Maybe our identity? It is easy to quickly adapt, learn and accept new tools and situations, but how did it affect us? Our work and relations? Do we need a new set of digital literacies? No matter if we were skilled digital natives or less digital present before the outbreak of the pandemic, it is likely that the literacies and need for them, have changed. For me, who have worked with educational development and digital tools for many years, it felt like organisations reached a far more advanced digital level in a couple of weeks than we have in years.
What are the most important things that you have learnt through your engagement in the ONL course? Why?
ONL192 gave me a lot of new perspectives and a theoretical framework to rely on in my everyday work. Also, it made me realise how similar the challenges of education are. Our PBL-group consisted of people from different ages, countries and disciplines. However, a lot of the questions and pedagogical goals we had were the same. This would not have been possible to experience without the brilliant ONL-course design where meeting new people and collaborating with them is part of the concept. Collaboration takes time, and requires respect for everyones differences. The result, in groups like ours where the group work worked out very well, is a part of a democratic process that is nice to look back and think about now a year later.
How did your learning influence your practice?
Parallell to the course I participated in setting up a new MOOC at my university, and a lot of the ideas from the ONL192-course were brought into the cooperation with my colleagues. Two things that I kept coming back to in my head were; Teaching presence not Teacher presence, and Cooperation or Collaboration?
The MOOC was initiated as a part of course development for the institution. It was set up in a new LMS, and without the restrictions of courses in the standard university curriculum. It was also designed for students to study on their own, with only a few possibilities to meet the teacher. Given all this, ideas on teaching presence and collaboration was given a lot of space. A reflection from the course design process is that it felt less “in control” than one of the courses in our normal curriculum. The MOOC gave us a possibility to investigate forms of learning that are sometimes restricted by technical or other restrictions within the university. Trust the process, was one of the experiences we agreed to have experienced in our PBL-group as we discussed our last task, the meme. Again to give students a higher level of influence and participation also requires to give up some control, or at least to perform control in a different way. In a MOOC where no grades are distributed, this is easier than in a course designed to fullfil all formal guidelines that a university need to relate to. I think the ideas of active students and learning are of interest to many educators of today. However, to go from teacher presence to teaching presence takes time, and and we need time to discuss and build trust in for example the process of assessment in the new context. I think that on a general level we can and should get better at nurturing teaching presence in education suited for the 21st Century.
What are you going to do as a result of your involvement in ONL? Why?
I think one of the best things about studying is the possibility to strengthen your professional choices. The fact that you are given time to discuss and reflect upon events, makes it easier to analyse and make conscious decisions about how you want to work and develop things in your everyday professional life.
Since leaving the course I have changed professional role and now work with project management and communication within an area that is quite new to me. It has been helpful to bring the mindset of collaboration into this new context when setting the guidelines for working with new people in the project. Also my need for digital literacies have changed slightly and it has been helpful to think back at the theories on for example digital identity or elegant lurking as strategic way to find new ways into the projects focus area.