I did not have specific expectations on what to learn during the ONL course, but I did expect that it would make me reflect more on my teaching. And this it did indeed. The most important thing it taught me are new concepts around which to frame my teaching. Specifically, there are two I found most useful, the Personal Learning Network (PNL) and the Community of Inquiry (CoI).

The PNL is a very concrete concept that everyone can immediately relate to and for example, write it down for a specific course. And just from thinking about how my students interact, it becomes very clear that there are a lot of them where there is not much of a network at all. This is not a cultural thing, but a structural one, which in my perception differs from program to program. The program I am most involved in, mathematics at the faculty of science, could certainly need more elements that improve networking. This is far from a revolutionary insight, and during the last few years, some changes have been made to this effect already by others.

The Community of Inquiry on the other hand is a much more abstract concept, but it allows to frame the interaction between the teachers and the students and have an image in mind on what you want to achieve. As explained in the previous post, I have so far not given much thought on how and if students develop group cohesion and if they collaborate. This course has made me reflect on that and it has become clear that I should change that. It is not entirely clear to me how to do this, but I have obtained ideas and thus a starting point. One thing that I, a bit strange in hindsight, never thought about much is the difference between cooperation and collaboration. And a lot of students only cooperate: Given a weekly assignment to do in a group, they divide the work and never discuss it. So, they need more nudging.

As for elearning in general, we will see. Lund University has just decided to switch the Learning Management System to Canvas and we will see how that goes. We will also see how lifelong learning will change higher education. Elearning will play a big part in this, I am sure and lessons from this course will be very valuable and a LOOC like this can serve as a model.

Going forward, we have agreed in our group to keep the What’s app group of our work group alive and to use it as a sounding board for teaching ideas. I have anyhow enjoyed working with all of you!

On another note:

  • Writing is hard. For me, for you and for George R. R. Martin as well. And he wants to know from Steven King how on earth he does it: “You never have a day where you write a sentence, and you hate the sentence, and you wonder if you have any talent at all, and maybe you should have become a plumber instead?” 
ONL 5: Lessons learnt – future practice