Looking back to ONL191 I start to realize how important the international exchange between the teachers can be. In fact, many of us face similar challenges in spite of cultural, social and other differences between our countries. And knowing about these similarities gives you a feeling of not being alone. At the same time, the network provides you access to tools and resources that might be of crucial importance for your teaching practice. And I guess this opportunity of knowledge exchange is the greatest benefit of participation in ONL.

Although I was familiar with some of the online tools (padlet) as well as pedagogical approaches (connectivism) I came across during ONL, there are several other tools (coggle, zoom) and notions (openness, collaboration, emotional presence) that have been new for me. However, the thing that will have a huge impact on my practice is the self-confidence that I gained through engaging with tools and resources made available within ONL. From now on I will be much more confident whenever creating online spaces for collaboration and reflection, paying more attention to emotional and social presence and dedicating more time (cf. Gilly Salmon’s The Five Stage Model, 2013) to the sense of community.

Since blended and online learning belong to the recent developments in Georgian educational system, I am sure that lessons I have learned in ONL will help me to avoid some of the most frequent mistakes that starters make. Now I know how to convince some of my colleagues from so called Digital Network University (Digitale Netzwerkuniversität) claiming that an online course can be taught based on Moodle-platform only, of that there can be no (or at least no efficient) online course without online conferences, meetings and webinars, because it’s actually connection between the learners that counts. And I am really eager to try out a genuine online course that I actually see as a wonderful vehicle of educational internationalization, as a unique opportunity of sharing the knowledge and experience over the globe in a most practical and convenient way. Modern technology allows us to reach people from other countries overcoming the cultural, social and political distance between us. All this could be also a milestone for the further scientific and institutional collaboration that would bring together not just different persons but maybe also whole societies.

So I am looking back to ONL with lot of positive feelings like gratitude and fascination. But I am also looking forward with a plenty of eagerness and curiosity to the new teaching experience that seems to me being inevitable now after my participation in ONL.

Looking back