Dear ONL211, this is my last blog. Such a joyful journey I have had together with the group Strange Crochet. We have been a diverse group, facing the challenges of the course in a very innovative way. Through the images and metaphors, we have used there is a possibility that we will remember the learning process in more than one way. As I am writing an old quote from Confucius comes into my mind: “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” We have involved each other in the different assignments and built trust so that the members in the group felt both seen and heard. Now it is time to start to apply some of the learning in real life.
As a direct answer to that call, I have got an assignment from the head of the department. I am going to interview all my colleagues about what they have learned from the year of Covid and teaching online. In my preparations I have found that ONL has helped me to be clearer about what questions to ask and what language to use.
For example, the notion of digital literacy – I had never heard about it before I entered this course. Now I see the importance of context and a progressive learning approach (Belshaw, 2012, Ted-talk) to inspire the intrinsic motivation for us teachers. How can we as a team inspire each other to combine individual interests and important issues to enhance our knowledge? What kind of literacy are we talking about, and where are the needs for skills development?
What has worked and where have the difficulties been?
I will also discuss blended learning with them, as it is here to stay. I talked to one colleague today and she told me some of her great learnings. As I listened, I recalled the video with Steven Mintz (2021) talking about how to engage students in active learning. My colleague really took the project-based approach he talks about, to a new level. It was not just a backward design it was something more, the students got to design their own project and learning journey from the grading criteria of the examination. She found that they made deep inquiry into their process and presented how they had developed in both their profession and as humans, during the course. For example, the routines of how to perform lectures in the profession of a sommelier tasing had totally changed because of Covid. The students themselves now had to prepare, order, perform and reflect over the different wine tastings with help from recorded lectures. Before the teachers had prepared all this for them and performed all tastings together with the students. Now a much more informed student could have deep conversations with the teachers online based on what they learnt asynchronous, by themselves. The students also got to follow a fellow students personal and professional development and present the findings at the examination seminars.
These interviews are very inspiring for me and I am sure that as a team we will learn so much more in this conversation because I now have a deeper understanding of challenges and benefits of online learning.
Thank you everyone!
Belshaw, D. (2012). The essential elements of digital literacies. Ted talk (17 minutes). Recording.
Mintz, S. (2021). How to Design a Course for Maximum Student Engagement: Seven Innovative Approaches. Webinar presentation (60 min) Recording