The following are my thoughts as I traveled through the eight weeks in my first class toward the certificate. I learned so much during this time, and I am reminded of how much there is always waiting to be learned.
Yikes! What a scary first week it was. I didn’t realize just how difficult it was going to be getting back in the swing of things, but it actually makes me happy since I feel like I’ll be empathizing more with my students, which is always important to remember. The amount of work that I put into just this one week in terms of trying to figure out how to navigate the site and find the syllabus and due dates really threw me for a loop. I was so embarrassed when I realized that I hadn’t turned in the assignments by the due dates! I’m really enjoying taking the class so far for two reasons: I like the environment of being with others who are actively pursuing this genre of teaching, and I also like the fact that I’m finding a very practical need for the material since I’ll be teaching online in the fall.
Really interesting readings this week. I feel like I’m learning a lot, and having to post and respond is fun! I hadn’t realized just how different it would be to navigate everything online. I think I’m just so used to reading actual paper and being able to mark it up. I also am comfortable with a syllabus that I just look at and work off of. This type of class asks for much more organization in terms of looking at several areas (syllabus, rubric, discussion boards, etc.)
Just when I thought I was starting to get the hang of it, we switched to another platform—Moodle. Although I was nervous about embarking upon another platorm to learn, I did come to the conclusion that the more I’m exposed to, the more I’m going to start feeling more comfortable with the process of how the various sites work. Having to start a discussion was a little daunting, but it was also similar to what I do on a daily basis in my classes. I really do think that online discussions have a lot of positives to them: students have time to think about what they want to say, students might also be less nervous about writing their responses as opposed to saying them aloud to a class, and students might also pay more attention to the manner in which the response is given—considering others’ responses and interpretations.
Beginning the discussion process early on definitely seems to make for a more in-depth conversation that can evolve and grow throughout the week. Posts that come in at the last minute seem to die out too quickly. I’m starting to think about using groups in my class next semester since I certainly can’t see how posting one question to a group of 28 students would produce more than a few strong responses without hearing a lot of repetition. I’m appreciating what I’ve learned this far in terms of what I’m gaining, as well as what I’m going to be able to apply to my own class.
Another “yikes” moment this week being exposed to the enormous amount of information regarding accessibility. Although the information was pretty technical, it’s obviously incredibly important to be aware of these laws, which definitely opened my eyes. I can see that as I begin to craft my own class, I’ll have to keep this information close at hand.
I loved learning about Scoop.it! and curation, and I’ve already shared it with a couple of colleagues. After telling them about it, we had a fantastic conversation about how we could make it a part of our classes (Many thanks to Anne for asking me how I might be able to use the site in my English courses.) I’m realizing that this class, and the certificate overall, are going to be so helpful in introducing me to resources I didn’t know about. Learning more about blended learning has been helpful, and now I feel as if I’ve just scratched the surface. But, I’m also much more interested and curious now that I have a bit more of a taste of it. I loved my colleagues' magazines too—what a wealth of knowledge everyone was able to provide!
I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed as I’m scrambling to get finals graded and final grades turned in, and then having gone to a conference out of town over the weekend—I’m feeling like a chicken with her head cut off. BUT, the e-portfolio (although a huge task) is actually a great way to help me see all of the material of the class coming together. It’s forcing me to time-capsule the last eight weeks, and as I uncover the journal responses, I can see just how much I’ve been exposed to. I’m realizing that as I put together my first online class, I will be doing so with a much keener eye on student engagement, purpose, and meaning.