ONL18: Reflections

As with all of these courses, the best part about it was meeting colleagues and having interesting conversations with them. Because of the way the course was organized, virtually all sessions were or involved conversations with colleagues. We do discuss courses a lot at work as well, but these conversations are often more practical than theoretical or pedagogical. It’s nice to meet colleagues from around the world and hear what they have to say about things we all wrestle with.

While figuring out our presentations and coursework, we were introduced to many practical applications, software and other tricks of the trade. Most of them will be useful, and those that will not, well, at least we now know that we do not care for them. In other words, we got to try out different ways of presenting our projects and most of us will use at least some of the software, platforms or websites we saw. I would have not known where to look for these on my own. Had I found them, I probably would have not had the patience to try them out

The more theoretical content of the course will also be useful to most of us, I think. Much of the pedagogical content seemed quite abstract. Other content seemed very practical, e.g. for building a blended course. I much preferred the latter, probably because I am currently in the process of creating materials for a blended course myself. Simply put, I was already looking for ways to structure certain elements on my own course and found stuff I can use. As a card carrying humanist, I should also say that I do recognize that people tend to appreciate utility more when they have an immediate need. Of course, I also recognize that the more abstract content will shape my thinking in the future as I get a chance to think about it a bit more.

Overall, I am hopeful for the future and grateful for the course. What worries me a little is that future teachers have to become content creators. This means not only using the occasional online quiz in class, but creating lecture videos, editing them, mixing the sound, lighting them, scripting them, and making them look professional while taking care of all the other content. It seems these skills go far beyond pedagogical skills and teachers will need training in, for example, using video editing software suites and the like. It’s a daunting thought that you have to become a multimedia wizard in order to teach if you don’t already have one foot in that world. But I think universities and teachers will find ways to adapt. They have overcome much greater obstacles in the past.

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