As a teacher, I think about the visitor and resident spectrum in relation to my students and what I wrote in my previous post about residency being about learning the rules and becoming comfortable within a digital space. I teach a couple of courses that are given online to students with a fairly wide variety of backgrounds and on fairly common topics. One of them is in project management and the other is in teams and leadership. The courses are aimed at people who want to learn more about the specific topic, and have taken at least a semester of university courses before. The assumption is that most of the people who sign up have an occupation in which the course topic fits as “kompetensutveckling” or that they are putting together their own bachelor’s degree through mainly online courses. In addition, I see a relatively small number of students who take these courses as part of our university’s bachelor’s in BA or similar. I have therefore viewed the student group as a majority of “outsiders” who are not used to our LMS, our university rules, or even university courses, and a minority who are used to all of this.

What I am thinking about now, after combing my insights from the visitor and resident spectrum, is that I view the majority of the students in these courses as visitors in my course, while not always treating them as such. I have organized the course introductions with information on how the LMS works, what they need to do and try to give them as much information as humanly possible before they start with the content of the course. And still I keep getting questions about how to solve the same problems, meaning that my information does not get through. It also suggests that some questions need to be asked regardless of the amount of information provided.

Now I am thinking that part of my courses could be the insight that not everyone is used to a learning platform and that I can provide my students with a safe space to learn about this digital space instead of just the course topic. This means that I will think about how to gradually ease my students into using the LMS and to incorpate different practical interactions and skills as part of their learning. The Working out loud method that we discussed in the PBL could be used for that, were one part is to gradually introduce more interactive parts; from liking, to posting, to discussing, to co-creating.

Are my students actually visitors?