A Morning glory fully open to the world. (Photo by me.)

Topic 2 was quite a bit easier for me to navigate than topic 1, perhaps because I was the topic lead and thus got a better overview of both the topic and the work we were doing. Also, I felt a spark of interest for the first time during the course – yay! It was really interesting to navigate being the topic lead despite it being more difficult than I expected. Despite considerable experience as a teacher, facilitator and from chairing meetings, I felt a bit awkward and self-conscious during the four online meetings we had. After having reflected on why that was now for a week after Topic 2, I think those feelings came up mainly because of my relative inexperience of online meetings. So, I still struggle with the fact that I don’t get the same feeling of connection when meeting via a screen compared to meeting face to face and perhaps this will change with more experience – we’ll see how it feels at the end of the course.

During topic 2, I actually also managed to learn something new about open learning, and MOOCs especially, but what interested me most during this topic was openness because openness is a fairly tricky business. Personally, I’ve always been very aware of the digital footprints that I leave behind and am doing my very best to leave as few as possible and have control over the ones I do leave. For instance, the three blogs that I’ve had, I didn’t leave up but erased all content together with the blogs themselves after I was done with them. Also, I’ve deliberately chosen to write this blog anonymously. Still, I’m pretty easy to find online because of the social networks I use and because of the job I have at a government agency, which I am more than a little ambivalent about since I really am a very private person.

In terms of my professional life as a teacher and an educational developer at university level, openness isn’t unproblematic either. For instance, due to the new privacy laws in the European union, we are not able to use all available online resources – for instance, Google drive that we use in this course I cannot use in my own teaching. Thus, despite the hype of online learning and all the political, social and economic incentives – which are explained very well by Bates (2015) – that are being toted around by one and all it seems, there are quite a few things that have to be taken into consideration before launching an open course such as a MOOC.

Bates, T. (2015). Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning.

Opening up. Or not. Topic 2