It’s been few weeks since ONL 231 started. Already, I feel like I’ve learned more than I ever imagined. I have come to like problem based learning a lot and even online collaborative learning. What has happened? In this post I first reflect shortly about my personal and professional digital literacy and ways I use digital tools in personal and professional life. After this, I will reflect on my learning journey so far, after diving straight into the deep end with online learning and teaching.
I see myself as a quite literate dweller in the current digital world. I use multiple digital platforms, resources and apps both in personal and professional life, but these are very separate from each other. As White and Le Cornu (2011) puts it, I seem to be more of a resident than a visitor in most of online platforms I use. In my personal life the digital platforms I use are mostly related to socializing and keeping connected with family and friends. In my professional life, the digital platforms and tools I use relate directly to my work; I use multiple digital tools for doing research, communicating my research but also for keeping in touch with colleagues. Yet, socializing with colleagues rarely takes place in the same social media platforms than in my personal life. I find this separation quite important for me, especially from the recovering perspective. Being a reserachers means I have academic freedom in terms of how, when and where I work, but this freedom comes with a price. It means I work a lot when there is a lot to do, meaning that I might work 7 days a week, in the evenings and while my kid is taking a nap. Sometimes this feels like I am working 24/7. Because of this, I feel like I need a very distinct separation between the social paltforms I use for personal communication and professional communication. Thusfar, this has worked well and I can quite nicely keep professional digital communication channels separate from my personal ones. However, I feel like I and all peers workin in higher education should crefully consider if and when technology-use related stress (technostress) becomes a reality and then take a needed pause (Halupa & Bolliger 2020).
I can honestly say that my experience from online teaching prior to this course has been quite far from positive. I was pushed into online teaching right at the beginning of Covid19. I had no previous experience from online teaching and I had no outside help to transform a very practice oriented, hands-on computer assisted tool teaching to an online environment. Somehow I managed to do that, but I guess I did not do it too well. It all just felt too much. After this experience, this course I had been teaching for some years was merged with another course and I was able let go of my teaching responsibilities for a while. This means that my last full-on teaching experience is from panic-mode from Covid19-times when everything just suddenly had to move to online platforms.
I guess my decision to participate in ONL 231 was partly explained by a need for self-healing. I wanted to learn how on earth can one build up a learning environment online, that is actually functional and supports the learning and teaching needs of all participants. I am more than happy I am on board in this course. The topic 1 “Online Participation and Digital Literacies” has given me a great crash-course into online participation and the world of digital literacies, but what has bee especially fruitful has been the discussions we have had in our PBL group 1. I feel like I’ve been blessed with such a great group of enthusiastic and professional peers who all have such interesting viewpoints to online learning and teaching. At times I feel like the one hour session is not enough to let the creative discussion to flow, but I know we all are limited with our time. The first topic took me to read more about the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework and the concepts of cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presences. In the further discussions in the group I learned how CoI framwork is linked to Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL). I feel like the topic 1 has not necessarily provided me that much tools for creating functional online courses, but I have come to realize that the basis for a functional online learning spaces is built upon good a spirit of community, safe and relaxed space. One of the topics that was brought up in our group discussions was the role of humour in online environments and how it can be used in online classroom contexts. I find this so simple but ah so brilliant. Using humor to create safe spaces for online learning and boosting the spirit of comunity will for sure be put into my teacher tooldbox. I will for sure follow up on the other findings or our topic 1 when I again need to do teaching online.
I find myself being inspired and wanting to learn more about online learning and teaching. I guess this course is working its magic on me 🙂
Halupa, C., & Bolliger, D. U. (2020). Technology fatigue of faculty in higher education. Technology, 11(18), 16-26.
White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First monday.
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