It’s been a challenging two weeks for me as a participant on the ONL152 course. I have found my schedule a lot more difficult to manage and finding time for the ONL152 course has been tough. I have to confess there were times when I felt I had to carefully prioritise everything thing in my life – which resulted in occasions where I unfortunately just did not have the sufficient time for the course. As a result, I was able to make the to attend all the group activities and Google Hangouts and I found myself reading the suggested articles late in the evening after a busy day (I admit, not ideal). Over this time I have had to literally force myself to complete the course activities. I battled to juggle the often conflicting time pressures of being a student, responsibilities of a pressurised job as well as being a mother. I can now truly sympathise with those who do choose to dropout of online courses. I appreciate that it can all become too much for any working adult to juggle everyday life with online studying – it is not easy!
So why did I stay on the course, what kept me engaged and committed? It was my fondness and commitment to my peers in my PBL group that kept me motivated and committed to completing the ONL152 course along with the that I truly found what I was learning was meaningful and relevant. I valued our groups weekly Google Hangouts – they are great as they encourage active brainstorming of ideas, sharing of insights and the value each group member brings to the discussion is an essential part of the learning process. I feel a connection towards my fellow “Internet Explorers”– they are just great to work with – I may have never meet any of them in person yet we are a team and I would not want to let them down. I believe it’s the sense of community, mutual respect, joint responsibility and our eagerness to learn more that keeps us ALL engaging with the course topics and ultimately committed to completing this course.
My thinking over the past two weeks has shifted from, “what have I learnt as online student” and “how could I use this as a teacher” to one where I have started to think about the practicalities of how am I, as an Education Manager, going to use what I have learnt on this course in my work. In the years ahead, my institution will undertake a journey of introducing a blended approach to learning and teaching. I will be expected to lead the way as we prepare our institutions leaders, teachers and students for this evolution.
Online learning has opened a world of new learning and teaching possibilities. I am excited about the potential impact it will have on learning and teaching in our institution and I do believe it will improve the learning experiences of our students (after all that’s what is should be all about).
I feel empowered by what I have learnt so far on the ONL152 course. My biggest realisation though is: – if I want to stay relevant and be of value to my institution then I will need to take greater ownership of my own scholarship in this area. I have to spend the time developing my knowledge, continuously improving my digital skills and develop my PLN (so that I can see what others across the world are doing this dynamic field of study). The emphasis being on the word being “I”, if I do not keep up I will be left behind.