Topic 1: Online participation & digital literacies

The COVID19 pandemic made us maintain most of our connections online and teaching was part of it too. Thus, I thought of taking this online open network learning (ONL) course to dive a bit deep to make this unfamiliar area more familiar. At the end of this course, my objective is to be more efficient and effective in teaching in an online environment. WOW! what an experience so far. Meeting new people around the world and working in a fun way to achieve a common goal. So, we have just finished our first ONL211 task (Topic 1: Online participation & digital literacies) and now it’s time to give out my reflections about what I have learned from this topic.

In this digital era, the majority of people who has a smartphone and internet connection are spending a lot of time online using online platforms and tools. However, each one of us has different objectives and goals when using these online platforms and tools. Each of us plays a different role when participating in an online activity. The method of analysis given by David White and Alisson Le Cornu help us to understand this role in a better way. 

 Figure 1: A detailed Digital Visitors and Residents map of online engagement

When I did my own analysis, I was more on the visitor/personal quadrant. But when I am teaching, perhaps I have to transfer my self to the Resident/Professional quadrant so that I keep track of everything to do with the course more effectively. So, then the question is how can I be professional without being too personal?

It is natural that your personal self will come into play when dealing with online teaching. of course with experience, one could minimise this. However, in the context of online teaching, I think it would be nice to have a separate online teaching platform where you could interact with students in a professional manner. Like the ONL platform we have. Then the chance of revealing your personal side is limited since you are constantly aware of the nature of the platform. One also could make a short presentation about yourself and present it to the student so that they could get a feeling about your personality. This could be done in a fun way (like we did in ONL) so that you break the ice at the beginning of the course you’re teaching. You could even use your personal experience to make this happen in a smoother way. Then students would be more comfortable with you. When it comes to these online platforms, one thing could be that the user interface of these platforms could be designed similar to a popular platform like Facebook or LinkedIn or maybe online gaming platforms. then the learning curve for using the platform will be faster.

The traditional way of teacher teaching and students listen in a classroom might not be the best option in the online teaching world. Tools like Zoom and teams will help us to overcome the physical distance issue in distance learning, but activities should be designed to engage students in a way that they work together, again, like what we are doing now in ONL. We were put into solving our own issue (a scenario in here) rather than the teacher giving the solution directly. This way objectives of the flipped classroom approach could be achieved. Then the important thing is that there should be digital tools that help to achieve group work more collaboratively.


Topic 1: Online participation & digital literacies – Reflections by Chamara