That is it! The ONL191 came to an end, and although I did miss the last week of the course due to busy field work in another country, I still think I did take as much as I could from the course. I registered to the course in the Fall 2018 with the idea in mind that I will make sure to squeeze all knowledge out of my fellow team member and teacher. I wanted to learn, and learn I did, but not through squeezing anyone…
Opened to the digital world
Yes I was digitally literate. I did know how to use the internet to find information. I did use several digital platforms for my personal life, my work and teaching. I use ‘Flinga‘ for allowing students to anonymously discuss with me or provide feedbacks, I use Skype every week to discuss with family and colleagues, I design mindmaps and support for presentations and teaching on ‘PowerPoint’. But I am so comfortable with those platforms that I never looked for others with potentially more options that could fit better my many needs. Before ONL, I never experienced ‘Tablet‘, I had use ‘Zoom‘ once for a chat organized by the other person, I had no idea something like ‘Coogle‘ was available, and I had never seen a ‘Prezi‘ presentation.
Yes I was digitally literate, and yes I have grown my digital literacy. I a pleased with this new set of skills I have acquired and I can’t wait to put them into practice. However, I have to keep in mind that I still have much more to learn, and as everyday new platforms with new options are becoming available, I will always have something new to learn. Hopefully I will have other opportunities similar to ONL191 to take the time to look for those new platforms, and to test whether they would be useful for me, my life, my teaching.
Learned from my peers
My ONL experience was very much dependent on a 7person team, and occasionally on a >100 people community. The group works were never too challenging, we all benefited I think from each others experience in various countries, field of study, degree of literacy or Academic background. I truly enjoyed all the conversations with the team members and group coordinator, and despite the frustration of not having the input of each of them each time. I have always known that I learn best when someone else is sharing her/his own experience with me, and this totally happened during the online meetings. Now I am sure I could have learned more by also reading more, especially reading a lot more about the materiel provided to us by the course coordinators. But life is busy and I admit that I skipped some of those documents, preferring to them the organized online seminars. I guess those documents are still available and I could very much get back to them in more quiet times.
The ONL191 course and the different group-tasks we had to complete have now provided me with a set of tools that I can refer to when I will need. These included tools such as different digital platforms with different purposes, but also a schematic idea of hos I should frame an online course, including 7 principles of blended learning.
Improved my leadership skills
I would have never thought the course would provide some really insightful suggestions to the question: How do you best manage a team? . Managing a team is a challenge I will face soon enough in my next career step. It is a crucial skill in research and in teaching. The ONL191 course opened my eyes on the role of a leader in a group setting, of the importance of listening and giving opportunities to everyone. It reminded me I have some good pedagogical skills but I can also be really focused at time. I had for example so much in mind the completion of a task during the ONL191 course that I had forgotten that I was learning the important bits during the process of completing the task. Stop, Listen and Absorb should be a motto!
Often in group work we also forget the importance of the teacher presence, as well as of the social and personal aspects of the team work and, and again ONL191 reminded me of it. Surprisingly to me the ONL191 course only mentioned the importance of emotion in teaching and learning only during the last topic of the course. Emotions are keeping us on track or distracting us for our goals, including our learning goals. I felt a sens of duty not quitting the course, I had set myself a goal of learning not quitting when it got too busy to handled! I was worried I was too talkative at times during discussions and thus tried my best to questioned my team mates and the group coordinator, and to let them express all ideas. I tried not to be shy with my own personal experiences thinking that if I was open to the discussion, and sharing those personal bits, I would help others do the same. I think they can be really useful tools for teacher, or supervisors. I would have emphasized on them a bit more; many of them helped me go through the ONL191.
Focus on new targets
As I already mentioned in the previous sections of this blog, I have reached my targets for this course. I have grown with the team and the coordinators. I am very thankful, and I am also ready to set up some new (digital) targets for my own teaching.
We have for example learned that Europe is pushing towards the development of online courses, to make knowledge accessible to all. However, the challenge is not not yet well integrated by all Universities, and seems maybe to scare lecturers already really busy with their teaching loads. I am also worried that designing an online course would take too much of my time, which for now should be really focus on developing my research and growing my research curriculum. But I really like teaching, and I would like to better understand what is happening in my own institution as first, and second, to try to find a way to contribute to making my own institution (in a way) more digitally literate and open to online teaching. This will for sure take some time but hopefully it is a goal I can reach within a few years from now.