My reflections on Topic 5
So, this is the end of the journey. Or the beginning of using the knowledge gained in this course. The course started in digital illiteracy resulting in problems even to understand what to do and how to get information. There were a few times I misunderstood meeting times and coordinates and I could not easily recall that information. Thanks to our group and Marcus guidance we finally got on track and accomplished our tasks in due time.
I’ve learned a lot about tools and procedures related to online teaching. Many of these things I could have been reading guided by the course list of recommended literature, but the guides and webinars made things easier. But the most valuable insights are related to the understanding of the difficulties that students may face when attending an online course. Putting us in this situation gave us the understanding of the student’s situation. Moreover, the tools and procedures are not a major issue them self. But the limitations of the tools result in additional obstacles when forming the groups, getting to know each others personalities and capabilities – the important group dynamics was more difficult online than in the real life.
I will use the knowledge I gained for introducing at least one online learning activity in my courses. My experience is now that strict and clear instructions are needed in order to facilitate the task. I will also carefully choose the particular tool that will be part of the learning activity. Ideally, I will use tools that are supported by KTH because of the legal, technical, confidentiality and license issues. KTH taking responsibility of these issues will reduce my work load and worries.
I think that digital tools for online learning activities have a great potential. Many brilliant tools and methods are yet to be developed but as a course designer and teacher you can easily get lost. I think that a course in online education should contain two separate parts. One part about the tools and how to use them. In particular specific recommendations based on real teaching experiences including hands-on exercises and labs. The other part should be dedicated to course design in a digital environment. How to avoid the most frequent obstacles which we now know are universal and the same as in classroom teaching but even more difficult in the digital world. Maybe also a third part with novel educational ideas based on and enabled by the digital possibilities.
My experience from this course is that the digital tools and flexibility when it comes to the choices of methodology in the collaborative work took a significant amount of attention from the actual tasks. Maybe even so that more time was given to the handling of the tools and trying to find a form for cooperation than the actual problem definition and solution. In this particular course where the objective is to get experience of using digital tools and to learn and understand the difficulties this make sense. However, when designing other courses care must be taken in trying to avoid such situations.
Finally, I’m happy to have participated in this course and would recommend the course to teachers curious about online education.