What helped me learn?
As described in the last post, a hands on approach and using what we were learning really enhanced the learning experience. One additional component of the course that helped me learn was the ability to focus learning on my own interests. In the beginning of the course I felt like I had to review everyone’s responses. I felt overwhelmed and it was almost harder to learn with such an overflow of information. As thing got settled, I realized that the abundance of response was actually beneficial to my learning. Instead of feeling like I had to read every post, I realized I could pick and choose which discussions were interesting to me or challenged me and then focus on those discussions. It can be likened to a buffet where I can look at what’s available but only have to take what I really want. Personally, I know when I am able to direct the topic of my learning I am more engaged. It becomes a joy to find additional resources instead of chore. Online courses offer a unique aibilty to have more individually focused learning in discussions that I have greatly benefitted from during this semester.
What hindered my learning?
I will respond to a this question in a way that was not likely intended. I’m guessing the question is meant to ask about things within the course, the design or format that hindered learning. My response is that outside factors hindered learning. The busyness of life, the complexity of finding time to really read and reflect and write hindered learning. This offers a couple lessons then:
1. My learning was enhanced when I sat down and made time for the course. Even though it is an online course, I had to treat it at times like a traditional course and block out an hour or two or three as if it were a class time. Then I was much more productive. Setting aside time for online courses is a must as many others have recognized.
2. If my life was sufficiently complex to hinder learning, how much harder it must be for young students who face much more challenging conditions. I have a very supportive wife and family, a car to get from place to place, an office and access to fast reliable internet. Many youth who we criticize for dropping out or doing poorly in school have no such supports or access. They live in unsafe conditions, lack examples and role models and may even be lacking basic necessities of life like food and safe shelter. These conditions are the real hindrances to learning and have been recognized as such for some time.
How do I feel?
As the class concludes I think I feel the same way I do at the end of every semester. I’m amazed at how quickly its gone, how much I learned, and how much more I could have learned. Each semester is a similar pattern. I start out with the best intentions, planning and organization and intentions. I read every word of assigned readings and complete some assignments ahead of schedule. As the semester wears on I seem to just barely make deadlines, do only the required and necessary readings and I feel like I just want to get through instead of learning the most I can. By the end of the semester I then realize how much I’ve done and learned. This course is unique though, especially because of the blogging assignments. I have been able to reflect on what I’ve learned right from the start. This has helped me to realize that I am making progress, that I am learning and that I’m actually doing OK.
So thanks for the blogging assignment, the great semester and the chance to learn.
Signing off for now and perhaps for a while,