Collaborative Communities in eLearning: Module 7 Reflections

'canal tour boat' photo (c) 2008, Derek Bridges - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/The most important/interesting/challenging thing I learned in Module 7 is…

Though I truly enjoyed module 7, I struggled this week.  I really liked the synchronous chat session.  Though we experienced some pretty significant technological problems, the experience itself was truly worthwhile.  It is always really great to be reminded that in elearning, it isn’t really about the technology, it’s about the learning … Until it IS about the technology.  A student struggling with technological issues will have a tremendously different experience than the student for which the technology works well enough to fade into the background and allow the learning to take center stage.

I really struggled with the reading this week.  I think that I have been so indoctrinated into the Bloom’s taxonomy model for such a long time that I really had difficulty getting my head around the EASyR model.  Though I don’t know that I am yet ready to give up my conceptualization of Bloom’s and the way that I use Bloom’s as a way to scaffold my own thinking as I develop curriculum, engaging with EASyR was an extremely valuable exercise that helped me to revisit my pedagogical assumptions and to bring a new lens through which I was able to view my curriculum.

In the end, I think that I reconciled the Bloom’s/EASyR conundrum by coming to the conclusion that ultimately, the nuances don’t really matter hugely when students are doing the actual act of THINKING.  I suppose that when one is doing “higher order thinking” you are in a continual recursive cycle of analyzing, evaluating, and creating/synthesizing. I think in my mind, the R in EASyR almost came to mean recursive or repeat.  Ultimately, I think, as long as a unit, lesson, or activity is developed in such a way that students have to evaluate, analyze, synthesize, and decide if they need to revise or redo, the learning experience will be a rich one.

Describe or analyze the experience of both getting and giving peer feedback, and how that informs your methods of facilitation…

The feedback piece, particularly in the Critical Thinking discussion, was hard this week.  My classmates’ prompts, extenders, and redirects made me realized how different our content areas are.  It was really challenging to parse the efficacy of the extender or the redirect when I knew next to nothing about the content of the original prompt.  I felt a little like my feedback was based almost exclusively on the verbs that were being used. I hope I didn’t lead anyone astray as a result.

I realized that I really like the organizational possibilities that the use of tables in discussion posts has to offer.  It can, of course, be over used, but I’m glad that Dr. Kay and Shannon both demonstrated examples of the use of tables in a discussion.  Very helpful.

Other reflective thoughts…

I realized this week how much I really like organized learning! I think that I am a person that practices the art of self-directed lifelong learning pretty well.  I have a rich PLN and I, very honestly, think that I make really effective use of myriad streams of content and resources to drive and inform both my personal and my professional learning needs.  That being said, one of my ahas! this week is that I truly do love structured learning in a designed learning environment like this course and others that I have taken at Stout.  Some people, I suppose, would want to get into an exploration about which kind of learning is “better, “ but I don’t really think that matters much to me. I love to travel.  I generally love traveling as an independent traveler, but every now and then I also like taking time to sit on a bus or a boat and have somebody guide me down a street or canal, point to stuff, and tell me what it is that I’m looking at. I realized this week how much I’ve enjoyed having guides create a structure for my learning for me.

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