As the course has now finished I will try to summarize and capture my learning throughout the course modules.
The course started with the module about connecting, participation and digital literacy. In the beginning and especially in the first module, I found myself very confused about the format of the course, I had difficulties to understand what the task was and how the group would function. I believe all of us in the group experience the same thing and we were all quite passive in our meetings online, due to now knowing what was expected from us. I found that the literature on digital literacy made me understand the first topic and also learn about my own digital literacy. Before this course I thought that my digital literacy was quite well developed, but by reading and understanding that there are more dimension of the digital literacy (JISC, 2014 ) I could see that I had several areas that could improve and especially collaboration and communication in online networks for learning (JISC, 2014).
The next module was a prefect next step in my learning process since it was about learning online by sharing and being open. Before, I could feel that I had been hesitant and unsure about what I was allowed to use and share and how to do that in a responsible manner. After learning about the Creative Commons license and its options I was feeling more confident of how I could use resources that are found online like Open Educational Resources and videos and pictures (Bates, 2015). Also, now I know how I can share my own work online, without being afraid to lose all control of the material. The practicalities of sharing and using was one of the lessons I learned from this module, but the other lesson was about how the digital age will change how learning will happen and how I as a teacher/instructor need to change in order to be updated with the skills I need and my students need for the future. Bates (2015) describes the changing role of the teacher/instructor; how the instructor need to support the learner to develop their skills needed in order to learn in the digital age (instead of just developing content that is already available). Alistair Creelman talked about this during one of the webinars in the course, when he said that we should not invent the wheel again meaning that content that already exists online should be used. Further that I as a teacher can allocate my time and the resources in a more efficient way in order for the learners to have a productive learning experience.
In the next module that was about learning in communities, it became evident that our group needed be more efficient in our communication and collaboration than we currently were. It was a challenge to truly build trust and a community to learn. I could see that in our group we were really just dividing up the task and trying to put the pieces together instead of co-creating knowledge and meaning in a more efficient way (Brindley and Walti, 2009). The webinar by Martha Innes (2016) where she presented her model on social, cognitive and learning presence to build community of inquiry was important for me to understand how to invest time and effort into my own learning online and to get the most out from the course. I realized that I had not invested enough presence into the social and cognitive dimension yet.
The last module was about designing for online or blended learning and in this module I was ready to take the task to analyse and redesign a blended course that I am currently leading. My analysis revealed that the course I am running has several flaws and the online component in the course needs to be redesigned in order to support the students in their learning process. We read about the ADDIE model (Bates, 2015) and the five stage model (Salmon, 2013) and it was the lather that made me realize that my course had underdeveloped stages. For example, in the course I am running, stage 2 that is about team building and socialization, was underdeveloped in the sense that the students only has one activity, and that is to present themselves online for each other. Also in the course the group component was not working and needs to be re-designed so that the students starts with a team-building task in order to build their communication and social connection from the beginning of the course.
That was a brief description of the four main modules of the course in the perspective of my learning process, another important component that was used during the course where the digital tools. During the course I have been using several new tools (new to me) and one of them that I particularly like is Prezi. I decided to use Prezi for a keynote lecture in the beginning of December 2016 (straight after the course) and it was a success I would say, not just for me, but also for the audience that really liked the visual output and films that I inserted in the presentation. The last and most important thing that I would like to reflect on is the use of problem base learning (PBL) approach in an online format. This use of PBL in an online format was totally new to me, not just in practice but also in theory. I was very sceptical in the beginning of the course, but I am now sure that this approach was the key to my learning. Having to invest time and effort in the group and the group learning was valuable and the key for my own learning and it was very interesting to see how efficient it was.
Bates, T. (2015). Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning. Available from http://contactnorth.ca/teachinginadigitalage/
Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M. & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3).
Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. Available from http://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html
Dr Martha Cleveland-Innes is Professor and Chair of Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University, Webinar about Learning in online communities, 9 November 2016.
Developing digital literacies (2014) JISC guide. Available from https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/developing-digital-literacies