The ONL course represents, in my opinion, the remarkable effort to adapt teaching and learning to technology. Once acknowledged that technology impacts our daily way of living, working, and communicating, this course provides a wide range of topics (too wide, I would say, to be grasped by teachers not in pedagogy) to reflect on the benefits and cons of “another way of learning” and create the curiosity to investigate them more in depth.

However, it is difficult for me to write about the experience gained throughout the ONL221 course because on many occasions I had the contrasting feeling to be disappointed and satisfied about the topics and the way they were taught. So, I cannot reflect on my learning experience without being affected by these two opposite feelings.

For this reason, two Luciana will discuss in this post about my ONL221 journey: the satisfied Luciana (SLucy) and the disappointed Luciana (DLucy).

Luciana is sitting in a coffee house, drinking an almond milk cappuccino, and reflecting on three matters: collaborative learning, blogs, and technology in teaching.

Collaborative learning

SLucy: “Learning collaboratively through the PBL group was for me a nice experience, especially for considering the others’ opinions and reducing the amount of work to develop the topic.

DLucy: “But… you spent a lot of time in discussions and synchronization with the other participants. It was heavy to have meetings twice per week for almost three months!!! You were not free to write whatever you wanted and, especially, how you wanted to write it”

SLucy: “This is not completely true! By sharing the burden of work with my group mates, I could focus on a specific aspect of the overall topic, the one that I liked the most, instead of reading everything. As a result, I learnt from the others’ experiences and perspectives to grasp the overall knowledge of the subject.”

DLucy: “But… you could not express yourself completely! You had to adapt to the solutions proposed by the others. You had to put aside your individuality for the sake of the group.”

SLucy: “This is not completely true! I could influence the choice of the topic to investigate as well as the way in which we presented it by discussing, being proactive, etc.”

DLucy: “Do you really think that students working in groups will be open-minded, trustable, and proactive as you were in your PBL group?”

SLucy: “I think that they should experience collaborative learning, especially to learn the “respect of the others (and other ideas)”. From this perspective, implementing collaborative learning in a course helps to deal with some forms of discrimination.

For sure, students must be taught to work collaboratively, and this is a big effort for the teachers.”

DLucy: “Are you sure that all students are comfortable with communication? You like a lot to study alone, to get lost in the ocean of knowledge. Imagine if you had to learn within a group, obliged to continuously explain what you are doing and why. I do not think you would like it. You often feel constraint by the others and overwhelmed by the interactions.”

SLucy: “Yes, indeed… But, I still think that it is important to be part of a network of knowledgeable persons interested in the same subject to share ideas and receive good feedback.”

Blogs and others digital literacy

SLucy: “Blogs are good means to make oneself known outside the boundaries of the physical world.”

DLucy: “Known by whom???”

SLucy: “By the persons reading them! I could also understand whether my ideas are interesting or not through the comments left by the persons reading my blogs.”

DLucy: “How can you trust the opinions of persons you do not know? Also, blogs are good to share opinions not to share scientific founds.”

SLucy: “Blogs are part of the digital literacy; they can be and must be referenced. So, you can share serious matters and been acknowledged.”

DLucy: “But, then, you should become a resident, spend a lot of time in the virtual spaces. Is this what you like?”

SLucy: “Uhm… indeed not… but, what is wrong in having a means to freely express one’s ideas? The point is to be able to create trustable and permanent open-source literacy to reach the most and being inclusive.”

Technology: all online!

SLucy: “Technology is really good to implement inclusive courses. For example, you can have students in presence and online to meet all the different needs. Also, using tools such as Canva, with a lot of drawings and animations, gives the opportunity to express one’s ideas through other means than “words”. This is inclusive for those who are not comfortable with words and fun!”

DLucy: “Are you saying that technology can replace the human-human interactions?”

SLucy: “Not really! But it can be used to mitigate some special situations, such as pandemic, or personal needs.”

The moral of the story

Three lessons learnt: 1) teach students to collaborate but protect and promote their individuality; 2) use technology to support the learning experience not to replace the physical interactions; 3) focus on the content of your courses and let the pedagogical teachers to teach blogs, wikies, and other forms of digital literacy! 😉

Have a nice summer!