Reflection for Topic 1: A Brave New Leap

I have always tried to keep up with technology in my teaching. When Word Perfect emerged in the 1980s for crafting documents, I learnt it. When email was required for correspondence with colleagues and students in the 1990s, I learnt it. Then the Microsoft applications of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. became the norm, so I learnt them. The COVID-19 pandemic saw the ascent of ZOOM, TEAMS, etc. But it was increasingly difficult to stay afloat with the proliferation of technology required/recommended. In the meantime, I learnt about Open Networked Learning (ONL) from colleagues who sang its praises. Might this be the lifebuoy I need? I took a brave new leap.


Three weeks later, I am feeling less out of depth. The Organising Committee was welcoming and the webinars were eye-opening. The facilitators of my PBL Group were so reassuring that I half-forgot my early frenzy in negotiating the ONL website. They supported my first joint-moderation attempt and the creation of this very Reflection space. It is also wonderful for me to connect with colleagues in Finland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. We built community as well as our first project of introducing ourselves. I am learning to use Jamboard, Padlet, Google Doc for our Topic 1 FISh PBL. I had initially felt like the teacher in the given scenario but our discussions helped me to catch glimpses of new possibilities.


The webinar by Prof David White, (and his videos and joint article), also presented the new Visitors-Residents paradigm and caused me to rethink the widely accepted binary of Digital Natives-Immigrants. It is a comfort to read that research has indicated this: digital literacy is unlikely to be age-determined (White & Le Cornu, 2011). There is hope for me. The mapping of our digital use on the Visitors-Residents and Personal-Professional axes also made me reflect on my habits and choices in the digital space. I am probably more a Visitor using tools in my professional life and more a Resident meeting people in my personal life.


In exploring the Internet for articles on reflections, I encountered Dr Nadine Muller’s blog, The New Academic (Muller, 2013, Jan 1). She shares that, as an introvert, she finds reflecting on social media allows her to communicate and “socialise” virtually without having to be physically close to people. She also finds blogging enables her to think through and reflect without having her pieces to be perfect or complete. I was surprised by these reasons that cause her to tweet and blog. I had always thought people who “display” their inner lives on social media are mostly extroverted. And what a good idea to use blogging as a way to “think through things and reflect o them” without worries about perfection.


In closing, I would say I am glad to have learnt so much thus far. I hope to move further along in this journey with the ONL community and my PBL05 group. No doubt, I will have to put off many old ideas/fears, etc. and put on new perspectives/practices.




Muller, N. (2013, Jan 1). @Nadine_Muller and The New Academic.


White, D.S. & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16:9 (5 September 2011).

3 responses to “Reflection for Topic 1: A Brave New Leap”

  1. Hi Yoke Sim,
    Thanks for sharing your feelings of uncertainty with TEL. Its great that you found a good group and like you, I am also enjoying the ONL experience. You picked up a lot of new tools just for topic 1. Good for you!

    Also thanks for sharing Dr Nadine Muller’s blog post. I also buy into her approach of using blogging as a way to think through things and reflect (& sharing those thoughts) without them being perfect.

    Keep on blogging. I’ll look forward to your next post.

    Benedict (PBL04)

  2. It is great to read that you are open to putting those fears aside and to learn new perspectives/practices. It is great to see the journey you are on, and to be involved as your facilitator.

    Looking forward to reading your further reflections on the ONL journey.

  3. Thank you for sharing Muller’s writing. I actually think “introverts” (if we are to categorize) write the best blogs. A lot of outgoing people (extroverts) tend to think out loud and therefore also “write out loud”, whereas introverts tend to think before they speak, and therefore do the same with their writing. That often leads to more in-depth texts. So I would encourage anyone to reflect on the Internet, even if it feels like they’re opening up to a more personal space. People’s meta reflections are often just as interesting to read as their research. 🙂

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