Wow; I can’t believe this course is almost done!
A look backwards over the past 12 weeks has been insight to me; a journey where I continued to foster growth and locate new knowledge on an individual level and collectively with all of you in our blogging community. This course, laden in opportunities to experience social media and technology, has challenged me to consider my own beliefs and understandings about learning and pedagogy in an online environment; both on local levels and even stretching to more global perspectives as I relate back to my healthcare environment.
In particular this has proved to be a fascinating course for me to complete my graduate degree with; this being the first time I saw ‘facilitating online learning’ offered in three years and equally one that I have been patiently waiting for. When I began this course I truly was naive to how much modeling and experiences of the tools we would encounter. Utilizing blogs, reviewing other online tools and the vast array of other mediums used in the blogging community brought for me a heightened learning opportunity that I had never experienced before and to be honest, opening a curiosity in me that I never knew existed. I can look back now to previous courses and understand the pedagogy of the course design, understand why facilitators chose particular activities and also understand why I felt so socially isolated in my first graduate course. Sadly, a story that I shared in a blog and one that almost caused me to drop out of the program was it not for a classmate who came to my rescue. The creation and sustainment of social presence is a critical factor for me moving forward and equally important is the community of inquiry that I can understand so much more clearly. The importance not only of social presence but how teaching and cognitive present intersect and can be powerful in creating a meaningful and engaging learning experience.
Facilitating online learning is a future goal of mine; with my workplace moving forward in the process of online learning with use of webinars and eLearning, I believe that a future state (fingers crossed!) will include more in-depth online learning and skilled facilitators will be required. Reflecting on the course objectives allows me to understand that I have broadened my understanding of online learning include role of facilitator and how to engage learners in an online community, however I will need to challenge myself to stay abreast of technology and the rapid associated changes. The challenge will further lie in exploring and testing new mediums of online learning; professionally connecting with others who work in this environment and learning from their successes and areas of improvement.
It’s been wonderful learning with all of you; thank you for all of your insights, perspectives and stories! Best in all your future studies! Kathy