Starting the ONL232 brought with me a sense of mild curiosity and a quiet readiness. This subdued eagerness was palpable during the first week as my primary focus was on acquainting myself with my group members and the broader ONL community. At this early stage, my understanding of each member is still nascent, much like beginning to assemble a puzzle without fully knowing the image it will ultimately form. Each interaction, no matter how brief, provides a glimpse into the unique individuals that make up our group.
As I reflect on these interactions, it reminds me of the essence of collaborative learning. As Laal (2013) noted, collaborative learning involves learners of varied abilities working together, emphasizing interdependence, interaction, accountability, social skills, and group self-assessment. This concept resonates deeply with our group dynamics, which play an important role in shaping our collaborative experiences as we tackle topic challenges using the PBL approach in the coming weeks. The initial encounters, the small talk, the gradual revelations about personal and professional lives; every interaction laid the groundwork for deeper connections.
However, not everyone was at the same pace as there were a few who couldn’t engage as actively owing to their other commitments. With so much going on in life, many find themselves incredibly busy. Patience, empathy, and understanding are crucial during these moments.
Every member of a group brings value. Some might be vocal, leading the way, while others might be observers, analyzing and providing insights at the right moment. The facilitators, too, play an indispensable role. They are the ones who lay down the stepping stones, helping us bridge the initial awkwardness and fostering an environment conducive to collaboration. Their efforts in creating opportunities for interactions have been pivotal.
Being a part of ONL232, I’ve also realized the significance of self-directed learning. It’s not just about personal growth or independent information absorption. It’s also about taking the initiative in group interactions as well. A simple gesture like reaching out to greet can set the tone for future collaborations.
To sum up my reflections, the first week has laid the foundation for a journey that I anticipate will be filled with growth, collaboration, and enriching insights. In this digital age, ONL232 isn’t just about academic exploration, it is an avenue to enhance our essential human skills. Even in digital space, genuine connection and empathy are key.
Laal, M. (2013). Collaborative learning; elements. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 83, 814-818.