Summary and reflection

Hello potcert people,

I offer you my mid point summary and reflection:

Week 1 Interesting times: I learned how to set up a blog!  It was a good experience to do it, and I’m planning on adding another one next term, on dissertation writing!

Week 2 Ko and Rossen’s overview: I wrote two posts this week, one just reporting my “where am I results” and this one. I picked this one to include in my reflection because it’s where I realized that people were actually paying attention to what I was blogging…which was an interesting realization that I think changed the way I wrote future blogs…writing as self reflection is different from writing to encourage discussion!

Week 3 Course design: What are we missing? I enjoyed writing this post because it really made me think about the process of course design, but even more than that, I enjoyed discussing the ideas about course design and the questions we should be asking with colleagues. I thought the people who wrote comments had some great points, and one of the things that I really liked was thinking about course design as a set of questions.

Week 3 Thinking about a course on college and university teaching. Wow I had forgotten all about this post!  In it, I was noodling around with the idea of “what is a course” or what a should a course be.  I wonder if what a course is onsite is something fundamentally different than what a course is online (one of our questions asked about this, I think in the mind point survey).  I think I think that it is! And I think I need to think about that idea a bit more.

Week 4 On multimodality and course design. This week, I became more aware of Todd Conaway’s ideas, and they have informed my thinking. I like his ideas of space, and aesthetics, and art and how those related to teaching online.

Week 5 Just enough and not too much. This week, I learned that not all courses taught through an lms have to look exactly the same.  Jim and Lisa’s video about the interactive syllabus was pretty eye opening about the possibilities (and limitations) of an lms.

Week 6 Open and distributed learning.  This week I learned that having different paths to the same goals is actually an intentional _feature_ of some online classes!  You know, I talk the talk about that in my own writing, particularly about collaborative learning and problem-based learning. But I’ve realized that in those methods, there still can be a good deal of control, even if you are trying to let go of it. Online, there really may be multiple paths and we may not get everything. If I don’t Facebook, for example, I’m missing out on part of the conversation of this course.  Am I ok with that as a student? Am I ok with that as a teacher? It’s an idea that’s definitely taking me some time to adjust to (even though I’ve championed it myself). So I guess the take away for me is that talking the talk and walking the walk really are different things.

Week 7 Neither here nor there. This week, I worked out that we really don’t have an understanding of what community online is or how to get it; I mean we have some good ideas about it, but it’s a bit elusive, isn’t it? Pilar’s video made me think about the relationship between physical community and online community. One of the best things for me this week was that Laura P pointed me to a book on online community that I had overlooked during a full-scale search for stuff on online community.

Week 8 Be there or be square. This week, I learned that it’s possible and perhaps likely that an instructor could inadvertently squash community, but that at the same time, the instructor may not be able to induce it. Lisa had some great insights into this point that really made me think.

Week 9 On vampires and bunnies. In week 9, I learned more about teaching persona, and I met Cris and found out about her cool work in SecondLife.

Week 10 come again? This week, I learned that I’m not so savvy on the techno terms as I’d like to be.  I’m still pondering the multiple meanings of “open.”

Week 11 Free the fractals–but tell us where to find them. Nearly there now!  I learned that I”m more in favor of open resources than I realized. This realization will likely have a big impact on my future work (as a writer). But I also realize that there’s a challenge that attends openness.  That is, there is so much information, that it’s easy for things to be lost in the deluge. How do we siphon through the noise to find what’s good and useful?

A note on quality: Our instructions ask to talk about the quality of our posts. I confess that I’m not entirely sure how to do that. I don’t know how to judge the quality of a post.  Is it whether it’s useful to me? If so, I’d say that my postings were strong…I learned a good bit from doing them.  Is it their utility to others? If so, then I don’t know the answer to that. I think I had some good exchanges with some interesting people, but who’s to say whether they found them useful? I hope so, anyway. Or does the quality of the post have something to do with the form and style? If so, I hope that I have improved since that first post, and I hope that I’ll continue to do so.

TL/DR: I have learned way more from other folks than from anything I have done on my own.  Thanks potcert people!