In my private life I have witnessed an enormous change
in how we communicate with others and how we look for information.  It took me a long time to start using Facebook
(FB) and I started mainly so I could keep in contact with younger relatives in
other countries (as they no longer used e-mail). By then they were of course
already abandoning FB for other tools such as Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and
Snapchat. So there I was finally on FB only communicating with older people
like myself… For fast information searching (read: dinner conversations and
debate over an issue) I have used Google and Wikipedia. A bit dangerous, as I
have learned. I leave digital footprints and these are recognised so
that what I find is often what strengthens what I believe to be true. My
digital footprints also influence what comes up at the top of my search results
(1). Through the ONL-course I have
been reminded of these things.

In my professional life I am a “trial-and-error-user-of-digital tools”. I have heard that this is a male characteristic (“a real man never reads the manual”), but maybe it is also a generic characteristic of much stressed teachers/researchers who try to joggle all the new things at once. The way I learn coincides with one of three learning paths for teachers mentioned by van der Rijst and collleagues (2). I experiment and learn from colleagues, from the IT-department (whom I pester with desperate, last minute questions) and very seldom from formal courses.  My motivation is twofold as I am curious and adventurous and I really want to support learning in my students. A lot of what I learn I learn in retrospective – reflecting on what has worked and what has not. In this sense the ONL course coincides with my interest in experimenting and trying out new digital tools. But is it worth it? Do my students get any the wiser? And what is it they actually use? In a study on first year students the conclusion is that students can be divided in roughly two main groups in how they use video recorded lectures (3). Some have high lecture attendance and are not comfortable with using the digital resources, while others are intense users of online resources. It also appeared that female students use recorded lectures to a higher extent than male, for reasons unknown. In my teaching I use blended learning in the hope that the diversity of learning support will help students to grasp the subject in question.

  1. Bhatt, I & MacKenzie, A. (2019) Just Google it! Digital literacy and the epistemology of ignorance, Teaching in Higher Education, 24:3, 302-317, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2018.1547276
  2. van der Rijst, R., Baggen, Y.  & Sjoer, E. (2019) University teachers’ learning paths during technological innovation in education, International Journal for Academic Development, 24:1, 7-20, DOI: 10.1080/1360144X.2018.1500916
  3. O’Brien, M. &Verma, R. (2019) How do first year students utilize different lecture resources? Higher Education 77:155–172
Who am I as an individual in the digital age?