Ah the last assignment of Pedagogy First, the online course on teaching online courses. For our final task, we’ve been asked to summarize our blog posts for the year. So here goes:
Week 23: Learning theories. This was the topic for which I volunteered to make a short video. In developing this video, I learned that despite the fact I thought I knew something about learning theories already, I still had/have much to learn. I also learned that it takes infinitely more time to develop a short video than I had imagined. This 9 minutes of vid took me ages to put together!
Week 22: Who to follow. For this week, students in a College Teaching course asked me for a list of ed tech folks to follow on twitter. Having only just tried out twitter, I didn’t actually have a list. So I put together one, and I think there are some awesome folks here (please feel free to suggest others). Now the trick will be deciding whether I want to go “all in” and actually follow the folks on my list or whether I’m just happy to know about them
Also, Ralene Friend kindly followed me on twitter (I’m following her, too), although I don’t actually tweet very much at the moment. (Random: Is hers a cool last name or what? I have a new Friend friend.). Maybe I’ll have to give this tweeting thing a go after all.
Week 21: Learning theories. On this week’s post, I talked about the literature on learning theories and how jumbled it seems to me (also see week 24; this was to be my topic for my final video, and I believe I was a bit cranky about the state of the lit). I lamented the lack of a good diagram. Jenny Mackness commented with a link to a pretty cool diagram (in the comments of the post). It’s one of the better ones I’ve seen, as it shows disciplines and names, although for me at least, there’s still a bit of fuzziness about how all these relate to each other at their basic theoretical level…hope to keep talking with Jenny about it!
Week 20: Social constructivist instructional design. This week I went on for a while about what happens when you overlay a cognitivist design model on an attempt to develop a social constructivist course. I’m still not sure, and I’m not still not sure what a truly social constructivist “design” would look like, or whether one is possible or desirable. Interesting things to consider.
Week 19: What’s in a name? This week, I considered the definitions of online learning, hybrid/blended learning, and Web-assisted learning. I also considered the term the “flipped classroom” asking whether it really is blended learning or whether it is actually anything new (or is it simply active learning). Had good comments from both Cris Crissman (who’s video I thought was excellent) as well as Jenny M.
Week 18: In and out of the box. For this week’s post, I talked about my conflict with learning management systems, indicating that I’ve sort of in theory been against them but in practice, and over time, have come to realize that they can be useful to students. Jim Sullivan, Laura Paciorek, and Ralene Friend had interesting insights to share. And lo and behold, a student in one of the classes I’m teaching commented! I was particularly glad to hear her perspective, since she’s a member of the group I was talking about in the first place (she also is a faculty member, which also helps)!
Week 17: Time and online teaching. This week, I offered some key themes I see as connected to the issue of time and online teaching. I think many of us are worried about the time involved in teaching online, and it’s something that we need to be aware of. I’m not sure there’s great info out there about what to do about it, but at least being mindful has the potential to help us better manage our online teaching time. Enjoyed hearing from Laura P!
Week 15/16: I chair dissertations. I agonized over what to do for these assignments, which as I recall was to do a screencast of something and do an faq. I probably could have done something quick, but I’d been thinking about dissertation students for some time and how I needed to make some information more available to them, so I decided to develop the “Major dissertation information” section of my blog, which required me to do an extensive overhaul. So I did, and I developed a screencast to show students how to search for empirical research articles and an faq related to dissertations. I’ve had positive comments from students, and fellow profs, so far, so it’s gratifying to have done something useful. I have more to do, however!
Week 14: My first time teaching online. The assignment this week was to do a slideshare, so I got a bit creative with it, at least for me, and used Cambell’s monomyth structure to describe my first time teaching online. Was fun to do, but in retrospect, the slides move way too slowly, and I wish I’d sped it up a bit. I used that information, though, as I developed my final video (week 24), which I think was much better paced.
Week 13: A room of my own. I tried to do captions on a picture. I gave it my best effort, although I wasn’t entirely sure how to make use of this in my own teaching. I recognize, however, that it’s the kind of thing where the next time I’m teaching online, I could have an ah ha moment and realize that I do in fact need to know how to do it.
Weeks 1-12: Summary and reflection. Here’s a link to my thoughts about my posts from the first half of the course.
Overall comments about the PotCert experience:
I think that the blogging aspect of the program was particularly important for me. I like to write, but I usually do so in a much more formal forum/format. I’d thought about blogging, but I simply wasn’t sure I had much to say. I liked having the topic prompts. They made me realize that maybe I do have something to say, and through saying it, I certainly have much to learn.
The other thing about blogging that I’ve enjoyed is interacting with folks about topics we find of common interest. The comments I received on my stuff made me think more deeply about what I’d said. I tried to keep up with commenting on 3 folks per week and wish I had had more time for that, as folks are doing some really interesting work. Indeed, I hope to stay in touch with some PotCert folks in the future.
I’m fairly certain that I’m done with discussion boards and will be using blogging in my own courses (never say never of course, by I used bogs this term, and students seem to like them, and I like them!).
Finally, I think being nudged to try new tools was another nice feature of Pedagogy First/PotCert. We’ve had a structured walk through some new and important tools, while knowing others are sharing our frustrations with trying to get them to work and accomplishments when they finally do. The task-based approach worked for me!
TL/DR: I’ve learned a lot this academic year that I believe will help me improve my teaching, I am happy to have gotten to know so many smart and interesting colleagues, and I look forward to continuing the conversations about online teaching and learning in the not so distant future.