The ONL path had quite a few unexpected twists and turns for me personally. From the outset of this course, I wasn’t quite sure what I could learn as someone not currently teaching and who has become less involved in academia this past year. I found myself asking how I could apply this content and experience to the design role I now fulfill and I thought about my PBL group.

Despite learning more asynchronously in this course, I reflected on the core experience of the PBL meetings I attended. A group of individuals across the world who were all lecturing something … somewhere. Hours and hours of discussion around the challenges of emergency remote teaching during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. Their fear of online or blended teaching and learning and often times, around the technology to facilitate this itself. That technology-enhanced learning greatly restricts personal interaction (Naik, 2016) and that often educators simply don’t know the best way to mediate this experience for students.

It was in one session that we were asked to identify what we felt were the essential elements for a successful online course. Obviously, my response spoke more to design: A great LMS, a great instructional and/or learning designer, great authoring software and great Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). But the responses of my PBL group largely differed to that of my own – words like, “validation”, “acknowledgement”, and “autonomy” made me really reflect on what makes an online experience meaningful for both the facilitator and student. As someone who does a lot of onboarding and teacher training, it afforded me a peephole perspective into what lecturers/SMEs really struggle with and perhaps this in turn, could influence the way in which I engage with them when building an online course. Lecturers want to feel seen and heard; they want their institutions to value their contribution and allow them to try out new things, not clip their wings with convoluted academic red tape, policies and procedures.

Through the process of sharing one’s feelings and own personal experiences, so I feel the blanket of fear of the unknown slowly lifted for this group of individuals. We learnt that we’re all navigating this in our own way and that perhaps there was no right way. We shared different techniques, software, and applications that were being used successfully in class (I myself learnt a few new ones that I’ll definitely continue using) and so we normalised the self-doubt that just inherently comes with being an educator. We not only expanded our personal and professional network, but opened up our internal world to others which is quite special and what I’ll remember most about the ONL journey.


Naik, R. 2016. Academic fears about online learning – and how to allay them. Times Higher Education. [Online] Accessed:

Lessons Learnt: Future Practice