This is the end of #fdol132. This is the final reflection to rule them all, so this better be good…
Looking back in the mirror I see myself now much better oriented and with better tools and understanding of digital learning. Or should it just be learning in the 21:st century? Is it really interesting to discuss campus vs. online/digital/e-/distance/flexible learning in a dichotomous way, as if there was a choice between them? I believe that learning happens where people are and where they are motivated to learn, and at the moment the trend is online.
There may be different reasons for learning: getting a degree, to follow a family tradition or just learning for fun. Those patterns are changing, and with the help of open and distance learning, students are changing. Even at our 3-year program, not everyone is primarily a student, but combine work with studies. Those reasons will affect learning outcomes, and in particular the motivation and the follow through rate, I believe.
What did you learn about Flexible, Distance and Online Learning?
As I wrote above, learning is evolving. I will try to summarize and highlight my learning from the different units. Unit 2 brought up the necessity of digital literacy and digital competence. The 4C skills “curate”, “communicate”, “create”, “connect” together with a fifth “C”, “critical” are important skills to master for this new form of learning. Hand in hand with this comes the discussion of digital identity. Who are we? Are we the same person online and offline? Maybe it is even more complex, as we are different when the context and the arena change. I for instance created two new Twitter accounts after the webinar in this unit. I felt that I did not want to mix play and work, because I regard Twitter as a work tool. My Twitter accounts are: @martins_twtr (personal/environment), @martins_worktwt (work related/education/pedagogy) and @martin_educator (educator/student). Finally, digital competence should not be taken for granted.
I wrote in my notes from Unit 3 that dialogue have to have a purpose, otherwise we cannot expect students to participate. And even with my limited experience of teaching I can relate to empty forums, and teachers asking themselves (and colleagues during lunch) why students don’t communicate? Well, if they don’t have to, why should they, or maybe they just have chosen a different channel? But my greatest understanding form this unit was the idea that interaction among people are crucial, and that technology can not be in the way, it should just be there, but not be noticed, and not for the sake of new technology.
Unit 4 was about collaborative learning in an online environment. The paradox is that group work has pedagogical benefits, but is dreaded by online students. This becomes even more interesting as future (digital) learning is expected to arise in connection and interaction among different sources of knowledge, communities and social networks. New skills and new attitudes are needed I believe, and clever course design to facilitate for this new future, and resources to help the students who do not have digital and group work skills.
Supporting learners was the topic of Unit 5. Online learning may be lonely, and teacher presence is important. I found Simpsons PaMS method to be really important and valuable, and perhaps my greatest learning experience in #fdol132. Effort makes results (Dweck), be proactive in the contact with students (Andersson) and focus on student strengths (Boniwells). We had a great discussion in my PBL group about support and specially how to support students in a group work setting. Should focus be on process or product (result)? We ended up with many ideas, but to name one we believe that it might be good to focus on the process and especially early in a course or a long program.
Unit 6 was about open practices and open resources. I felt we left this unit with a rhetorical question: open for whom?
How will your learning influence your practice as a teacher in Higher Education?
This course has been very useful for me. It has opened up my eyes for new ways and new tools to use. But I believe it all comes down to course design, motivation, environment and time. Time to create new study tasks and learning opportunities, new assessments and new ways for motivation teacher-learner and learner-learner, and all this in a context that is supportive and warm, both for the student and the teacher.
I have also learnt a lot about digital skills, and digital competence. Both first handedly as we explored many new tools, but also theoretically. Digital skills cannot be taken for granted, and support has to be quick. As a result I quickly made an instruction video on how to use Jing and posted it in Fronter.
What are you going to do as a result of your involvement in FDOL?
As I wrote above this has been a very useful course. I will use this knowledge to think digital when I design my courses. Since Health Guidance is a distance program, this will not be hard, but I would like to go beyond Adobe Connect and se more possibilities. I would like to develop and keep me updated on pedagogy and online development. In concrete terms this means that I will try to keep in touch with my network and colleagues from #fdol132, I will stay tuned on Twitter and Scoop.it and I will also follow future @openfdol for new angles and webinars.
Finally, I will share my findings from this course with my department, and with my colleagues at my program, to facilitate a move to an open and digital environment at LTU.