Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay

Through engagement in the Open Networked Learning (ONL) Course, I have been able to learn with a great variety of educators from across the world. Often, I find my Professional Learning Network (PLN) limited to those in the secondary school space – ONL gave me the opportunity to work collaboratively with and learn from those in higher education which I found to be incredibly valuable. I feel I was also able to offer them the high school perspective – as their undergraduates had often just finished their secondary education.

My learning from ONL will influence my professional practice, as I will take practical applications from the topics we studied and build them into my teaching and learning programs. For example, the information about Creative Commons and Copyright will help inform units of work that I am creating for Digital Literacy in the junior year levels. According to Martin (2012), “In the last decade, the Creative Commons philosophy of freely sharing information and the pervasiveness of the Internet have created many new opportunities for teaching and learning.” This will assist my students to access greater amounts of information in their own learning, and perhaps open their studies wider than their usual narrow focus.

I have been interested in technology and its applications in education for a long time – since my teaching career began in 2006 as a matter of fact. The school where I work has a 1 to 1 program, where both students and staff are given a laptop to help support their teaching and learning. Through ONL, I have explored further applications of these technologies for not only my students, but also the staff at my school to help inform their own professional learning. I explored questions that I had around Blended Learning, and considered ways that I could improve my delivery in this mode. I was able to get a better understanding of blended learning as “the organic integration of thoughtfully selected and complementary face-to-face and online approaches” (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008, p. 148) with the focus becoming the organic integration of approaches.

As a result of my involvement in ONL, I seek to do further study. This was a nice way of getting back into study, after a long hiatus. I find myself more interested in online learning and blended learning for my own study purposes. I am also interested in further exploring the MOOC concept – and see where this may take me. McAuley et al. (2010) discuss MOOCs when they say: “Although it may share in some of the conventions of an ordinary course, such as a predefined timeline and weekly topics for consideration, a MOOC generally carries no fees, no prerequisites other than Internet access and interest, no predefined expectations for participation, and no formal accreditation.” I think the idea of no prerequisites besides Internet access and personal interest in a topic opens up a whole new world of learning for me.

By participating in the ONL Course, I have been able to collaborate in a very positive way with educators from many teaching areas, and from different parts of the world. We were able to share suggestions and activities and I will be implementing some of these into my own teaching as well as offering them as suggestions for other teachers in my educational context. For example:

  • The greater use of Padlet, as more than a simple “idea sharing” board
  • Use of the application Mural, as a fantastic collaborative workspace
  • The combination of Zoom/online discussion boards/collaborative applications to help facilitate online collaboration
  • The leader/co leader with a facilitator model

I find it interesting that I first found out about ONL through my own PLN on Twitter, and from that starting point, I was able to widen my network and learn even more about online communities and how I could utilise them to enhance my own teaching and learning.


Garrison, D., R & Vaughan, N., 2008, Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles, and Guidelines, John Wiley & Sons Inc, New Jersey. 

McAuley, A., Stewart, B., Siemens, G., and Cormier D. 2010, The MOOC Model for Digital Practice.  viewed 14 May 2020, <>

Martin F.G. 2012, Education: Will massive open online courses change how we teach?, viewed 15 May 2020, < 40246



Topic 5 – Lessons learnt – future practice