I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to write this blog. What have I learned? The question is…what HAVEN’T I learned??
I have said it before—this is the most difficult course I have taken in my graduate career. Expectations were set out for us from the get-go and we were expected to not only meet them, but to exceed them.
I think the area of this course that I learned the most in was from the discussions. Unfortunately, I only learned from my own research and postings and had little opportunity to learn from my classmates (the whole point of discussion). The bar was set high and I wanted to do well—I hope I demonstrated enough of my thinking to pass that section of the class.
Further, I want to point out how my learning has improved throughout the course by linking to a few of my discussion postings:
In module 2, I started this thread on what makes for an effective online teacher. Little did I know at the time that my opinions would change drastically! A lot of what I was saying had to do with the instructor facilitating instruction rather than purely teaching it…something very common in our discussions. By the end of this course, I learned that along with being a facilitator, the instructor must be a supporter and help the online learner throughout their successes and struggles—something that I often do not experience in asynchronous learning.
What a difference from module 2 to module 6! In this module’s discussion forum, I started a conversation about the millennial generation and their education. This is a personal thing for me as I am discussing myself and my peers. My discussion postings have gone from “skimming” the top of empirical research to truly digging into the topic and making my learning visible for my professor and my classmates. I learned how to research topics properly and write my findings in a clear, conversational way.
I wish I had learned from the beginning that these discussion postings were meant to be more like a short research paper rather than a discussion. From the very beginning of the course, I have not had the opportunity to truly view all of my classmates’ postings—this is due to the stress of ensuring my postings were good enough to pass this section of the course (something I am still not too sure will happen). I hope I have demonstrated enough my learning and showed how drastically I believe I improved so I can walk away from this class with a feeling of satisfaction, rather than resentment.
In other news…
I want to make sure I show what I learned in this module, specifically the readings. I have mentioned before that assessment seems to be my weakness when it comes to instructional design (and apparently my own learning experiences). I was pleased to read about assessment in an online environment in the Australian Flexible Learning Quick Guide Series. One thing in particular that stood out to me was how online assessment “should be sufficiently flexible and diverse to account for differing needs and circumstances of students undertaking online study” (p.4). This made sense to me as the reason why I started in a fully online program was due to the flexibility is afforded me. I chose this program because I needed a graduate degree and I was not sure where my life was necessarily going at the time—I still don’t! Therefore, why shouldn’t the assessment of online courses be the same? There have been times (many times) in this course that I believed the evaluation was unfair and even biased…nothing personal, Alex. I simply believed that I, as an individual in an asynchronous environment, should have the flexibility of grading procedures if absolutely necessary. As stated in the reading on assessment, part of the flexibility in online teaching involves “negotiating assessment tasks to account for student’s circumstances and needs” (p.5). This is something I definitely was not afforded in this course.
This reminds me of Luke’s post in response to my original on “Millennials and Modern Education”. Luke (4) mentioned that “the student is responsible for their grades and their education and has to know that the information you are gathering and what they are being assessed on has relevance to them, to their development and their continued learning”. To be honest, I don’t believe I even had the chance to develop and continue my learning because I was so obsessed about my grade and improving for the next time (something that I still have not seen…even at the end of the course). This could also be due to my “millennial” nature and my “self-absorbedness” when it comes to my grades—something that Luke (4) also mentioned.
I’m so happy this course is over in exactly 5 days. I have learned a lot and I hope I have demonstrated it without being too much of a pain in the “you-know-what”. I am continuing refining my course and would have loved to receive feedback on the final draft rather than the skeleton it was in the screencast provided to me. Nevertheless, I plan to review my peer’s assessment of my course and hopefully complete it to the high standards this course is asking of me.
I hope this blog was reflective yet informative and does not affect my grade in the same way Module 5’s did. Oh well…I will follow up with an overall learning experience in my next blog on Sunday.