Looking back on my reflections I realize that even though I have learned a lot, working on the different topics of digital literacy, online collaboration, open educational practices and so on by reading I believe the overall course experience by itself stands for a large part of fueling my learning processes.
When we started the course I reflected with the help of the media wheel on the many tools that are available in order to support our learning experiences. From a perspective of digital literacy the course offers challenges not only concerning the amount of tools you might need to develop skills to handle, but also the issues of understanding the various digital contexts (Belshaw, 2002). That is, when you have understood what it means to create accounts on google plus, joined the various groups, created a blog and written your first blog post there is still the question of how to act and communicate with your peers in not one learning context but many.
The variation of learning activities and the freedom of how to process the content individually and in the group created a sense of flexibility. Anna Nager in our group found a great article on how to divide learning experiences into synchronous and asynchronous eLearning (Hrastinski, 2008). The synchronous activities in the course would be those where you interact with your peers in real time, for instance in the google hangouts or the twitter chats, the asynchronous reading, writing or giving and receiving feedback on the reflections. When taking a course with a full time job it is easier to plan and work on your own, but having discussed and shared ideas within the group in real time I agree with Hranski that the synchronous meetings is a ground for motivation, that from my personal view, many courses could benefit from.
The group activities, for instance discussions and copresenting is of course not only a source of motivation but also the underpinning for a collaborative learning environment. Exchanging and testing ideas in an easy and relaxed way with the group is part of an iterative learning process that according to Wenger (2000) can be viewed as a social learning system. Even better if it continues over time – perhaps the course is a bit too short? We where just getting started :-).
The topic about supporting learners had some great articles about motivation that was really interesting, but I when I got my hands on the 3E framework (Smyth et al, 2011) I was stuck! We try to introduce digital tools in meaningful ways and give examples on how to use them in our workshops, but the 3E framework presents an overview with the levels enhance–extend– and empower which means that the various tools can be introduced according to level of confidence and skills of our teachers.
When reflecting about open educational practices my thoughts where focused on how we best can use and share content along with pedagogical practice developed with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC´s). I have seen examples (Bruff et al, 2013) of collaborations where teachers of campus based courses picks strategic parts of an online course and integrates them within their local learning context. Very interesting questions arises here around intellectual properties, meaningful integration of content, how to use (or not) the forums in the classroom and also what the role of the teacher becomes.
This FDOL course is a special kind of MOOC where you as a course participant are free to enroll and interact with others in the course without charge. It is also open in the sense that the material and course design with the PBL concept is under a creative common licence. This opens up wonderful opportunities for learning communities in a very flexible sense – you can have apply as an individual or as a group, you can use the material over a week with one topic every day (sounds stressful, but fun Neil Withnell ) or use the material in a stand alone manner in your classroom (as Maria Kvarnström and Lars Uhlin told me about the other day).
Now I will end this very long reflection by adding that I really have enjoyed working, discussing and learning with you all in this course and hopefully some of you will be back again this fall – see you then!
Belshaw, D. (2012). What is’ digital literacy’? A Pragmatic investigation.Durham thesis, Durham University. Available at Durham E-thesis online : http://ethesis.dur.ac.uk/3446
Bruff, D. O., Fisher, D. H., McEwen, K. E., & Smith, B. E. (2013). Wrapping a MOOC: Student Perceptions of an Experiment in Blended Learning. Journal of Online Learning & Teaching, 9(2). Find it here: http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/2013/09/wrapping-a-mooc-cft-study-published-in-the-journal-of-online-learning-and-teaching-jolt/
Hrastinski, S. Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning. Educause Quarterly. Nr 4, 2008
Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking university teaching: A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies. Falmer Pr.
Smyth et al. (2011). Benchmark for the use of technology in modules. Edinburgh Napier University
Wenger, E. (2000). Communities of practice and social learning systems. Organization, 7(2), 225-246