It is difficult, if not impossible, to express in a few words what I will take with me in this course. For sure, I’ll keep with me the experience of working in a wonderful group like PBL07: full of creativity, empathy, generosity, knowledge, expertise, and much more. And, honestly, writing this final blog tastes more like a must-do homework that does not match the level of conversation and the energizing alchemy that fed the interactions and discussion within the group during these weeks.

…like if counting how many comments and blogs have been “produced” could really “measure” what has been achieved…maybe something to keep in mind when planning the next ONL course 🙂

Our last group discussion on the “dream course” we have been asked to think about was engaging and terribly valuable: a lot of food for thought to keep interrogating the academic system and the education that we design, shape, and ultimately provide to students.

This leads me to the central argument of this final blog. All questions provided to guide ONLearner’s final reflection have surely a raison d’être and deserve responses that, however, are not those I want to engage with at the end of this learning process and, above all, human, personal encounters with Others.

I think that there are missing questions: is there another possible way to teach and learn in Academia inspired by the course? Are there alternative methods that can be introduced in the classroom to make room for creativity, democratic participation, and collaboration? The answer is, without hesitation, “YES”. But it’s a conditioned “YES”. Indeed, the question is, rather, how to make it possible and acceptable in an academic system that – without generalizing too much but still acknowledging the neo-liberal time we live in – is often constrained by limited resources (or resources allocated according to specific visions) and institutional requirements that often suffocate any enthusiasm for educational experimentation. It is also worth mentioning that time-wise, re-designing courses to explore alternative methods and approaches requires a dedicated time that is not always available, especially when teaching is not the only academic duty and research claims its space and administrative tasks and all sort of demands take over.

“Insert the coin, please, and the jukebox-teacher will sing the commanded song”

The ONL course provided me with new ideas to experiment with students, for example, the facilitation techniques that I’ve explored on Theme 3 I was responsible for. However, I don’t really know how much I will be able to implement in my classes.

Finally, regarding the technological side of the ONL methods, I’m open to embracing as many possibilities as I can, but by I deem it healthy to keep certain reservations as the latter generate an interspace, a reflexive suspension that allows me to critically approach such possibilities before diving into their technosphere.

Photo by Inbetween Architects on Unsplash

The elephant(s) in the room