first, I attach a list with links to all my weekly POT posts. I include a brief comment on the interest of each contribution.
POT WEEK #1: august 31 2011, A Classroom in the Cloud
Here I shared my thoughts on the general concept of online learning. I reflected on how the availability of affordable technology, and the convenience of the service, triggered the appearance of online learning. It was encouraging that 4 people replied!
POT WEEK #2: september 18 2011, the students’ preference
I was still a bit shy at this stage. My post was only one paragraph long. In it, I reflected on the students’ choice between online and on-site courses, and posed a couple of questions to learn from the insight of other participants, but I did not get any replies.
POT WEEK #3: september 21 2011, Pedagogical Goals and Objectives for my IT Project Management online course
My post was 6 paragraphs long, I was already at ease with the dynamics of the course. I explained what I learned that week and what caught my attention. My main learning: “Learning is not a spectator sport”. 2 people replied to . I have not been keeping a record of my replies to other people’s posts in their blogs, may be I should have.
POT WEEK #4: september 28 2011, Planning my online class (POT week 4)
I was excited about how interesting the course (and the peoples’ comments) were at the time. Since I am a Computer Science instructor, and the week’s topic included elements that pertained to my specialty, I shared my insight and suggested an URL that someone found useful. I was glad to help and felt a part of the community My main learnings: the cycling concept to allow for breaks in mental activation (changing the context and focus of attention); and having a short condensed version of the regular course.
POT WEEK #5: october 5th 2011, Program for Online Teaching (week 5)
This was an interesting week. I reflected on what I had learned and posed several open questions (that no one replied) to learn about other people’s insights. I do not think there are unquestionable truths in this evolving field, so I like to pose open questions and trigger a debate that would enrich us all, but I am not always successful. My main learnings: manage student expectations; and completeness of your syllabus will save you and your students time.
POT WEEK #6: october 12 2011, a jing lesson on dance positions
This is possibly the week I enjoyed most. Jing was fun. Since I am also a dance instructor, I created a short jing lesson on dance positions, and it received a great positive feedback! A couple of days later, my university students were learning how to execute their first computer program by reproducing the procedure they could watch in the jing I had prepared for them. My main learnings: Jing; the online participation of a student that poses a good question is as worthy as contributing a well-founded comment.
POT WEEK #7: october 19 2011, Debate: online degree vs onsite degree (POT week 7)
This time I was able to trigger a debate with the open questions included in my post! And we had an interesting exchange. My main learning: online teaching is about participation, the instructor cannot expect participation to happen spontaneously, the instructor must plan for participation and promote it explicitly (I learned different ways to accomplish this, very useful).
POT WEEK #8: october 25 2011, POT week 8
Again, in my post, I let my reflections end in open questions, and I got some responses (not as many as I would have liked). I contributed with personal experience (in group formation) and also highlighted useful information (that I had found at other people´s blogs) for the rest to see and benefit from it as well. My main learnings: interesting performance measures for online instructors; and the benefits of having students introduce themselves to the class in a specific online forum at the beginning of the class (the instructor must set the example by being the first). I put this into practice in 4 courses in the following months: great results! I highly recommend it.
POT WEEK #9: november 2 2011, Student Activities (POT week #9)
I reviewed my week’s work in the post, along with my reflections on it and an open question (so that others might also contribute their opinions). I also poured in personal opinions and what I intended to do in the future with the knowledge I had acquired during the week. I received a response not as numerous as I would have liked. At the moment, I had already realized that since I was keeping the pace of the course and many people were not, it was difficult for us to interact on the basis of the weekly assignments, because we were at different points of progress in the course itinerary. My main learnings: diigo is useful, not only for information exchange, but also to create a feeling of belonging to an online community; may be we should not accomodate different learning styles, and prepare students for the professional environment, where they will have to be fluent in all of them; peer-review rubrics; reflective journaling by students; prepare opportunities for online students to get to know each other (feeling a part of a community of learners will reduce drop-out rate).
POT WEEK #10: november 9 2011, POT week #10
In the post I reviewed my week’s activities, what I had learned from them, my thoughts on them and the plans and intentions they spanned. I also shared my professional experience with web sites. My main learnings: prepare interaction guidelines for students to follow when they do group work (do not let them on their own completely to figure it out); as a way to promote online participation, provide students with a model of participation or usage of the blog (for asking, commenting, sharing, responding, …).
POT WEEK #11: november 16 2011, POT week #11
I commented on the impressions I had from doing the week’s activities, reported on a small comparison experiment I did, and posed an open question on a topic that I wanted to know more about (I did not receive any answers). My main learning: students must be exposed to the “RW Culture” as much as to “Innovative Content Production”.
POT WEEK #12: november 29 2011, POT week #12: the mid-course post
I did the self-assessment check and found the preferred answers very interesting. I also checked the rubric: very useful, I should have checked it weeks ago. My opinion about my progress at that moment was: I think I am doing rather well, since I am enjoying and learning a lot from the assignments but I feel I should try to interact more with other participants. One problem with this interaction is that the interaction opportunities are fewer with those participants that do not keep the pace of the class, because you cannot interact on the basis of the current week’s topics. My main learning: the learning outcomes derived from participation in an online course can be measured/evaluated along multiple complementary dimensions.
POT WEEK #13: february 7 2012, POT week #13: images
I uploaded and annotated an image on flickr. I exchanged interesting ideas with 3 other participants. My main learnings: Windows snipping tool is very useful (I jotted down I had to tell my students about this); have students create graphs, diagrams or tables as part of their assignments, because it requires an elaboration of raw data that will enhance their comprehension.
POT WEEK #14: february 15 2012, POT week #14: take advantage of audio and video
Learning new audio and video tools with superb usability opens new pedagogical possibilities! I must say that my teaching evolved as a result of what I learned this week (and my students have benefitted a lot from this evolution, they have “embraced” the new technology and considered it a very interesting step forward as well). I recorded an audio (with Audacity) explaining the Samba rhythm. 6 comments! Main learnings: Eyejot!! ; invite recognized professional to address the online class; students contributing course contents (narrated presentations); instructor records a video (introducing himself at the beginning of the course, and presenting the course).
POT WEEK #15: february 21 2012, POT week 15: multimedia and dances of dancesport
I recorded a Jing about “The Dances of Dancesport”, and 3 comments were exchanged. Main learnings: student generated content (this has had profound impact on me, it has changed the way I understand teaching, I will comment more on this after this list); and use a variety of multimedia formats (and teach students how to do so as well so they are fluent with these tools and do not fear completing assignments).
POT WEEK #16: february 28, 2012, POT week #16: online students
I answered Julie Vignato’s questions about students’ expectations, challenges and difficulties. I presented my JAVA Programming FAQ for my JAVA course. I reflected on the usefulness of teaching basic concepts of Time Management and Emotional Intelligence to students. 2 comments. My main learnings: communication is the basis of online learning; share the responsibility about student learning with the students (learning is not a spectator sport!); I learned about brain’s downtime in NYT article; and of course, the usefulness of FAQs (time savers, first response mechanism for students…).
POT WEEK #17: march 7, 2012, POT week #17: Eyejot on Class Management
I recorded an Eyejot as my week’s post. I reflected on the usefulness and benefits of the POT course, I recommended it. 3 comments. Main learnings: importance of regular announcements in the forum; establish a predetermined procedure for posting that students should follow; how to adapt your pedagogy for courses with large audiences; neither content, only, nor technology, only, make a course (content+technology+pedagogy+motivation).
POT WEEK #18: march 14 2012, POT Week #18: CMS
I recorded an Eyejot. 3 comments. Main learnings: students should be active participants on their own learning; relate class participation grade to learning outcomes; deliberately prepare opportunities for student-student online interaction; have students follow a predetermined schedule for posting; the CMS may limit/constrain your pedagogy.
POT WEEK #19: march 20 2012, POT week #19: web-enhanced, hybrid and open courses
Again, I recorded an Eyejot (great time saver for presenter and listener, IMHO content is comprehended with less mental effort/focus than text). Main learnings: open courses may enhance the learning experience; flipping the classroom (my favorite and the concept that has impacted me most); when talking to problematic students “always err on the side of softening your words” (and may be on all other situations as well); leverage learner-to-learner interactions!
POT WEEK #20: march 26 2012, POT week #20: educational technology and instructional design
I recorded an Eyejot for my weekly post. 2 comments. Main learnings: a blended course may give you the best of both worlds; management of disengaged students is also a part of the instructor’s responsibilities; I learned about Instructional Design; mashing up is a basic competence (reuse), but autonomous creation is INDISPENSABLE; reinvent yourself.
POT WEEK #21: april 3 2012, POT week #21: introduction to online education theory
I used an Eyejot for my presentation. 4 comments. I wonder whether this lesson might be placed earlier in the course with a pedagogical advantage. Very interesting. Main learnings: online pedagogy models (constructivism, instructivism, connectivism, they are different means to achieve the same objectives); personal learning network (very relevant to online learning);
POT WEEK #22: april 11 2012, POT Week #22: Personal Learning Networks
I recorded an Eyejot. 3 comments. Main learnings: online learning offers some tolerance to different learning paces; promote student responses to questions posted in the forum; importance of networking (it is almost always possible that you find someone who is several steps ahead of you, and from whom you can learn valuable things for your personal and professional development); and the networked STUDENT diagram!
POT WEEK #23: april 20 2012, POT week #23: presentation on the 10 most influential discoveries
I recorded a jing that I wanted to serve as reminder of the 10 most influential discoveries I have made in this POT course. 14 comments!! Some of them very helpful, I should find a way to personally thank some course participants for the time and attention they have payed to my words and the useful comments they have shared. I have a lot of new ideas to put into practice in the future that will make my teaching more interesting and that will benefit my students, my institution and myself.
One additional post:
april 15 2012 teaching competences online
Here I reflect on the teaching of competences besides contents. The main intention was to motivate an exchange of ideas with any other POT participant addressing the same issue.
SUMMARY OF IMPACTING LEARNINGS
Next, I have compiled a list with learnings that have had an impact on me because I have recognized their usefulness and interestingness. This is my list of concepts that I want to implement (some of them are not exclusively online):
- flipping the classroom;
- student centered activities;
- encourage student activity (think “testing” instead of “failure”);
- students as the protagonists of their own learning:
- share the responsibility of student learning with them;
- learn by doing;
- student generated content;
- learning is not a spectator sport;
- manage student expectations;
- create a community of learners, do not expect it to grow spontaneously;
- activity cycling;
- condensed alternative/complementary version of your course;
- student online introductions at the beginning of the course;
This academic year, apart from my full time position at my university, (and my part-time dancing occupation) , I started my own technological business. As a result I have had very little time for myself or for any other occupation. I have struggled to meet every weekly deadline of the POT course, but always with the satisfaction of having made a worthwhile effort because of what I have obtained in exchange: a lot of new inspiring ideas.