I’m not afraid of using digital tools, as I in various workplaces have used a lot of different tools, upgrading or changing them as time passes. But I think I use them more as a visitor than a resident  (David White, Visitor and Residents).

At work I am online almost all the time, using different tools to solve problems and sharing materials and my professional thoughts on things that isn’t about me.

Outside of work I use some social media, connecting with people that I already know, most of them that doesn’t live close to me. Posting images of things I experience, but actually chosing very neutral images and only with a short note. Honestly I rather call them to share thoughts and ideas. Am I afraid of participating online? I don’t think so, but I’m since childhood more accustomed to this way.


On the first meeting on this topic we read the scenario and realised that most of us had the same feelings as the person described, even though we use a lot of different tools. How we share materials is different depending on if it is workrelated or private. Privately some of us use facebook or instagram, skype, whatsapp or messenger and a lot of other tools to stay connected to people we know. But none of us on this first meeting had used a blog for themselves before this course…

Why not? We had a common feeling of uncertainty and some fear with sharing our thoughts openly to strangers. At the same time, getting to know my online group we have all been sharing personal stuff, with not much hesistance. Our belief is that it’s because we can see each other and  how we react on what you say…

A course in advanced social psychology lifts these aspects on how communication differs depending on if you see the other person or not. How questions arise about what you reveal in different forums and “how we contruct our presentaton of self”. And that face-to-face meetings (oftenly synchrous) gives you the opportunity to see how the others react, but online communication can be asynchronous and then you don’t get the feedback of verbal and nonverbal cues that you like.    //Self-Representation: Face-to-Face vs Online

So if we have this feeling, how will our students feel?
I believe it is important that we give some thought about creating a positive atmospere for the participants and that we are supportive and visible. We should ask ourselves how we can engage our students and make them feel more at home and willing to invest time and effort. I have found some different guidelines on how to work with an online course. And one that I feel is very down to earth gives these 10 essential principles and practices:

  1. Show up to class – don’t leave the students on their own, instead you should “create a schedule for meaningful and active involvement”.  Respond to questions in a timely manner and invite to online meetings.
  2. Be yourself – “Many of us have a unique teaching persona” in the classroom, that can get lost in the online one. Try to find ways to show your students who you are; for example be personal in your writing and show some of yourself in recordings.
  3. Put yourself in their shoes – “In a physical classroom, you can pick up on nonverbal cues. When students are taking class at home, you can’t observe when you’ve lost their attention or when your instructions aren’t clear.” As a teacher you need to anticipate their isolation and plan for it in your course design.
  4. Organize course content intuitively – make it easy to find material by sorting it according to what is important now.
  5. Add visual appeal – Long texts or instructions can be hard to read. Try to add different types of media to your course page and make it easy to read by using subtitles and space between paragraphs.
  6. Explain your expectations – it is perhaps more important in the online classroom to explain to your students what you expect, not only in writing, but perhaps also face-to-face or in a short instructive video.
  7. Scaffold learning activities – “Look for ways to break down complex tasks so that students make timely progress and receive feedback while there is still time to adjust their approach.
  8. Provide examples – you often do that in a regular classroom, so why should it be different in an online course?
  9. Make class an inviting, pleasent place to be – “When you teach in person, you do a lot of things to help students feel welcome. You greet students. Smile. Make eye contact. Apply that same principle to your online classes.
  10. Commit to continuous improvement – Be interested in developing yourself. The importance of lifelong learning skills isn’t new and John Dewey himself said “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” (I found the quote in the blog 6 ways to build lifelong learning skills with your learners)

To me these principles feels simple and are based on common sense. I’ll try them next time I design a course…


When listening to David White and he asked us to draw the image on residents and visitors I drew a picture of someone out walking a dog. It isn’t true that I in my free time don’t use digital tools at all. But it’s something I’m working towards; Being present. Watching. Listening. Especially important when being with family and friends. Things are happening all around you all the time, and if you’re busy listening to pod casts or music or checking the facebook status you’ll miss some of the important interaction there.

Changing perspective on online participation