Reflecting on the challenges of online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, I realized that technological tools can be an asset but are not without obstacles. We tackled the assessment issue and the problem of determining individual contributions to group tasks. I’ve realized that while oral assessments can address this to an extent, they are not feasible for larger groups. The introduction of proctoring tools was enlightening, but the fact that they require human follow-up emphasizes that we cannot entirely depend on technology to maintain academic integrity.

Our discussions about teachers’ experiences in the virtual classroom resonated with me. The vision of educators limited, speaking to computer screens and grappling with teaching practical skills (like experiments) online made me appreciate the magnitude of the challenges. It also underscored the importance of recreating the social aspect of the educational experience in online settings. While platforms for teacher interactions and student engagement, like online lunches and regular check-ins, offered some solutions, they also highlighted the gaps left by physical interaction.

When it came to pedagogy, I found the struggles of transitioning between synchronous and asynchronous learning activities intriguing. It emphasized how we need to adjust our teaching strategies for the online environment and how technology could aid in creating meaningful educational experiences. However, it was clear that while we aim to achieve comparable learning outcomes with in-person classes, direct replication is often not possible, further highlighting the necessity for innovation in online pedagogy.

The discussion on blended learning models and assessments, especially the comparison between brick-and-mortar and online learning, made me more aware of the difficulties involved. I learned about the importance of continuous feedback, the intricacies of planning for authentic assessments, and the common mistakes made in online assessments. It was intriguing to see that the requirements for assessments in an online setting are not far from traditional requirements, reinforcing the need for clear learning goals and criteria.

Reflecting on the variety of technologies we explored, I came to understand that online tools can cater to individual student needs in ways that traditional classrooms often overlook. The functionalities they provide, like real-time feedback and specific features for students with disabilities, can be invaluable. Yet, they must be carefully selected and integrated into our learning design. Ultimately, my understanding of the role of technology in learning has deepened, recognizing that it is a powerful tool. Still, it needs to be thoughtfully deployed and supplemented by human intervention to support education truly.

Finally, the aspect of our discussions that resonated with me most was the idea of enriching my teaching practice by adding supplementary online assessments and materials for my students. This idea has opened up new possibilities for promoting active engagement outside the traditional classroom. I look forward to integrating some of these valuable insights into my future teaching.

My Journey Through the Digital Shift