I’m currently taking the Teaching Online and Blended Learning course at Powerful Learning Practice, I wanted to revamp some of my courses that I teach at PLP, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to reflect and adjust some things.
Tonight, while I was trying to catch up with work I noticed a conversation about how most of us approach eCourses and even though I had lived it, I had never truly paid attention to my transformation as an online student.
It started in my Master’s program where a majority of my classes were online, I completed assignments, usually by myself, participated in discussion boards, where we were we had to respond to so many people…and my instructors were usually absent. There really wasn’t a lot of meaning behind the work, I wasn’t concerned about making connections with others, and I absolutely hated the discussion boards.
About four years ago, I took my first PLP eCourse, I went into it expecting to sit back and watch, just like I had always done and I was totally wrong. Who knew that one class would change everything….my approach didn’t change over night, I think I still tried to sit back and observe in that class…but as I took my second and third and I began teaching my own, there was a shift.
I didn’t notice it though until I took a course outside of PLP, it was definitely a wakeup call. There was no value on the relationships between participants, no trust building at all, but at the same time we were asked to share quite a bit in live meetings. I struggled with it, I missed the connection and community.
The conversation in the course space tonight brought this further to my attention and I’m wondering, is this how we’re conditioned to learn? That we go in expected to be passive learners? And many times we struggle or grumble when we have to participate and engage with others?
But through my experiences I’ve seen how valuable those connections are and how much growth can come out of the courses that develop a community.
As educators, how do we fix this? Can we fix it, if we don’t address it for ourselves? I know many teachers and online facilitators already are, and are doing wonderful things to encourage their students/participants to be active participants in their learning…but there is still a long way to go…
Now I’m wondering what this looks like Professional Development? We have edcamps, but what if you’re brought into consult for a day, what kinds of things can you do? Somehow I’ve ended up back with the same question I had the other night, building trust quickly.