We have reached the end of the ONL course and it is time to wrap-up. This has been an amazing learning journey and a wonderful opportunity for change.
Let’s go back to the beginning. I joined the ONL course after finishing my very first training in pedagogics. I did not know what ‘open networked learning’ meant, but it sounded exciting and fresh, just as a course should be. In my first blog I wrote that I wanted ‘to learn new methods to communicate, interact and collaborate with others in my research, learning and teaching activities’.
The actual results are way beyond my expectations and much more profound than just learning a new method or tool. This course has shown me so many new aspects of how the online world can (and should) influence our learning experience, that my head is till spinning. Overall, the ONL has inspired me to be a better learner and teacher.
How did I learn?
I often find the process more fascinating than the outcome. I put heart and soul into what I do and try to have fun in the way. And this course was not an exception.
The main driver of my learning process was the people from the ONL course. I was inspired by enthusiastic course leaders, guided by inspiring facilitators and encouraged by Alison Engelbrecht and Charlotta Hilli at my PBL group. I learned with (and from) my amazing PBL group members (Brendan, Frida, Lena, Pardis and Yumna). I found endless roads to explore thanks to all the interesting posts, blogs and comments from the ONL community.
Working at the PBL group has been a joyful way of digging into the various topics of the course. We discussed in the hangouts and brainstormed in shared documents and emails. We put our different approaches and experiences on the table and became a team. Creativity called and we thought out of the box. This has reinforced the value of collaborative and cooperative learning and helped me filling up many knowledge and experience gaps.
Blogging has been more challenging. Writing does not come easy to me, it takes me a lot of time. Still, it was blogging that brought me deep into the course. The best reward was the connection I felt with other bloggers from the ONL community. I discovered this towards the middle of the course, and I wish I had more time for reading and commenting other blogs. I got inspired and encouraged by each single comment and it was a delight to read so many blogs where the ideas flowed smoothly. I think this brought a unique personality to the course.
What did I learn and what I am bringing with me?
At my first blog, I asked my self: ‘will this course open my mind and guide my teaching and research towards an open learning philosophy? Will it empower me to use methods and technology that I am not confident with?’ The answer to both questions is YES! This is a list of some of the things I learned:
- David White’s continuum of online visitors and residents encouraged me to engage with the online world. Now, my lab is planning to use online tools, such as blogging platforms and twitter, for science outreach.
- The course has broadened my vision on the digital world in education. It brought me a fresh sense of our role teaching digital literacies and elements of good digital citizenship, including responsibility, respect, critical thinking and safety.
- I learned, explored and bookmarked a collection of open educational resources (OER) websites. I found new content for my classes and I am encouraging my Ph.D. students to follow MOOCS and free online courses.
- I became comfortable with new learning and collaborative spaces, such as Google +, Google Docs and Online Hangouts. We are now using Google Docs in the lab for simple projects and texts and everybody love it.
- I learned to use and share with creative commons, and to give appropriate credit to authors.
- I discovered that blogging can be an amazing platform for the students to be heard, exchange their ideas and be proud of their learning.
- I got a better grasp of the pedagogical potential of blended learning and how online elements bring flexibility and help to design more personalise learning.
- I am familiar with two new models for course design (ADDIE and the 5-stage).
- I feel a renewed energy and have new ideas for my teaching and my lab.
But the most important is that, through my participation, I have learned that networked learning is efficient, dynamic, enriching and fun. I would like to continue learning like this, and will encourage my students to learn in this manner too.
This was only the beginning of a new journey .