The last 12 weeks of the ONL191 course proved to be more demanding than I expected, and they taught me that an online course can be as time intensive as a regular course, in some aspects even more so – to collaborate in a synchronous way with a number of people from all over the world was a real challenge – we met more often and with a higher regularity than in any course I have taken since my BA studies. But it also showed me that it is possible to get work done in this way – in my PBL group we have ended up making five presentations, each using a different tool, and we succeeded in doing them, more or less, on time. Moreover, as we laughed and tried out new things, we bonded as a learning community and, with every consecutive assignment, got better in cooperating with each other.

This course has showed me well that it is possible not only to learn and teach in a purely online environment, but also cooperate. As the amount of online work within academia increases, and sometimes it is the only possible way of cooperation, this course raised my consciousness of the necessary elements that need to be taken into account for successful collaboration. It also made me aware of its drawbacks – it requires higher levels of motivation from team members; it requires special kinds of facilitation; it also requires heightened emotional awareness, to make sure that everyone is feeling good about the work we are doing: it, finally, may not be the most convenient option, as it often takes more time to work things through online, than it would in an in-person meeting.

This made me more appreciative towards the “blended” model – to divide the learning or working process between the physical and digital environments. There are things that can be optimized with the use of digital tools: especially one-way deliveries of knowledge, such as messages, articles, lectures, quizzes, interactive learning materials, assignments or plans. But physical cooperation has its strong advantages too – it is great for the sense of community, it makes cooperation more efficient and it allows for emotional readjustment of the classroom/team members. That is why “blended learning” will be my preference whenever I will be responsible for work on a new course or study program.

During the course I was able to try out a number of tools, some of which, like Coggle, worked really well for me and I plan to use them in the future. I also found out that some forms of collaboration worked better for me, such as designing and preparation of infographic, while others, like recording short videos, proved to be inefficient in the amount of time needed to prepare them to the level I would be satisfied with.

Overall, I feel more confident in the use of digital technologies in my teaching, and I plan to involve them to a high degree in my future curricula.

ONL191 – at the end of the road