One final reflection

Good evening, fellow ONL-ers!

Since I finished my workshop early this afternoon, it’s looking like a double-post day! Since there’s not really reading material for this last unit of the course, I think that I’ll just go through and answer some of the suggested questions for Topic 5. Let me know how your answers match up! Did we take similar lessons away from the course, or did you learn something completely different?

What are the most important things you have learned through your engagement in the ONL course?

The most important lessons came from sharing teaching experiences with my PBL groupmates, many of whom had far more teaching experience than I do. Although it’s mostly a lot of little, hard-to-connect things we discussed (e.g., how to use AI in teaching, how to best assign students to groups, how to get students interacting with field experts), I think it all encouraged me to be more deliberate in my day-to-day choices when teaching, so that I act in a way that best promotes openness and equality.

How will your learning influence your practice?

Right now, I’m feeling that I’m more comfortable opening up to students when I’m not sure about or disagree with something in the course material. I’m finding that, when I present myself as someone who is fallible (and is in desperate need of more coffee), students are speaking up more about what they like and don’t like about how the class is progressing.

Were I to teach online again, I also have a whole new toolbox of software I’d like to use to make my lessons more interactive – which leads me to the next question…

What are your thoughts about using technology to enhance learning/teaching in your own context?

I think that using lesson-enhancing technology (Mentimeter polls, Miro boards, etc.) is great, provided it’s used in the appropriate contexts and doesn’t just give students more busy work to do. Anything that allows for students to be a bit creative, like asking them to make infographics or mock Insta posts on Canva, is a big win in my book, since bioinformatics can be rather dry at times.

Because my students are learning how to code and constantly at their computers, I often feel like I need activities that get them up and moving, not more digital tools. So if any of you have any fun suggestions on that front, please comment!

What suggestions do you have (activities and/or in general) for the development of eLearning in your own teaching or context?

The big one is to make sure that students can meet and form bonds with their peers – even if it’s through scheduled zoom calls with small subsections of the course attendees. I also encourage the creation of informal group chats when appropriate – even though ONL is done, the WhatsApp chat for PBL06 is still hoppin’ and will be my go-to place to ask for teaching suggestions or to share “Which Moomin are you?” quizzes in the future.

(I’m Mårran/The Groke, if you’re interested).

Anything else?

I want to thank the organizers of ONL for a lovely time together. Also, I’d like to give a special thanks to both my institutional group and PBL06 (#HeroSquad) for all the Zoom conversations you’ve participated in with me. It’s been great hearing about all of your experiences – good, bad, and ugly!


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  1. Hi Hanna,
    Thanks for your post. I have experienced the same challenge of students relaxing sometimes too much when I am a nice teacher that open a lot to their suggestions. It is intresting to be able to find a balance and to motivat students to use freedom to exceed and not the opposite.

  2. Enhancing within certain degrees is opportune so we stay current with what it is students crave but only if the solution is functional and doesn’t overcomplicate something we already know – it must always add something of value.

    As for activities that keep people up and jumping I will never be able to answer because I live behind my screen.

    Thanks for your perspectives throughout this course Hanna.

  3. I love this post! I have very similar reflections and I rally resonate with your experience of “unlocking” a new level with the students by presenting myself as fallible/human/not God XD I just wrote a rpely to another post where I wrote about how I have found that students really thrive whenever we discuss open research questions/where I don’t immediately know the answer to a question. It is really intriguing to see how students seem to blossom when I step outside of the role as “the teacher” who has “all the answers”. I am trying to do this as often as possible.

    I also feel like I have a new software toolbox to use in the future, and I will try to combine the use of these with closing the “authority gap” between my as a teacher and the students. One example is perhaps not a software, but a website that generates personal questions and which can be used as an ice-breaker. Personally, I really dislike answering the standard questions like “what is your hobby”, so to have a more quirky questions really appeal to me, and could start some interesting conversations. I think this could definitely be done in the beginning of a course/program with a new group, but perhaps also in the middle to “reset” or lighten the mood in the midst of particularly challenging parts of a course. I am just getting acquainted with these tools myself so I don’t have many suggestions at the moment. What I do know however, is that I will not only try, I will be more open to trying by allowing myself to not be the expert all the time with the students.

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