Collaborative Communities in eLearning: Module 8 Reflections

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Revol Web

Reflect on your overall learning experience within the course.

I have loved (and learned a lot in) this course!  One of the things that, I think, surprised me most about my learning is the realization of just how much I really enjoy structured learning. One of the qualities that has been one of the most significant saving graces of my life is that seem to be an innately curious person.  I love figuring stuff out!  Because of this … “quirk,” I think that I have a natural affinity for the internet.  Truly, I do get the concept of personal learning networks and personal learning environments.  Over the years I have built a really wonderful and really useful PLN, but this course, more than any other in memory, really has been a catalyst for me.  It has brought into clear relief, the value of a structured learning experience in helping me to synthesize a LOT of disparate content into a pragmatically applicable framework for learning and teaching with online tools.

The other aspect of learning that I will value long after this course comes to its official close is the interaction that I have been able to have with classmates that teach and work outside the bounds of the K-12 independent school world! As lifelong student, then educator, school is largely all that I have ever known.  It has been so extremely helpful to me, to have a little peek into the kinds of learning and teaching issues people outside of the K-12 world wrestle with.  My seventh grader is, someday, going to be someone else’s trainee.

Where does your progression into online facilitation (or as an online facilitator) go from here?

I think that I have developed some really useful and valuable skills that I can apply to my teaching right away.  As a matter of fact, some of the prompts that I wrote up for the prompt, extender, and redirect activity have been adapted to the unit I am teaching right now and I’ll get to try them out with my real students in another week or two! J

I think that I’m going to have to either develop some work arounds or look into incorporating a different tool for more constructivist discussions.  The discussion tool in Instructure Canvas does not allow, organizationally, for students to easily start discussion threads.  The discussion tool, as designed, allows the instructor to post a prompt and for students to reply.  Students can then reply to posts, but there is no way for anyone (instructors included) to place a subject line on a post.  If posts are “collapsed” all that is visible is the initial reply with no indication of the interaction within the thread.  I’m on a mission to figure out how to get this system to work or to figure out how I can host my students’ discussions in another tool and link it into the Canvas LMS that I am required to use.

Other final thoughts…

This class has been a true pleasure!  It was hard work, but worth every bit of the effort.  I got really busy with my day job during the second half of the course so I couldn’t put in the same kind of time that I did initially in the term, but I’m still, ultimately, very happy with the experience.  Thank you, Dr. Kay and Deb, for a wonderful 8 weeks!


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