the ups and downs

Well after the high of getting this blog set up last week I think I am starting to hit the low that is part of any journey. I have spent countless hours of the last few days setting up all the technology and trying to get my head around the requirements for the course (as well as the technology) of which this blog is a part of. But after reading what some of my peers are up to I am feeling really lost and behind. As a student I am feeling bewildered, confused, lost, unprepared and totally out of my comfort zone. These feelings don’t sit well with me as a person, I usually like to have a knowledge and understanding of what i am doing, feel prepared and in control and while I don’t mind a challenge I usually don’t challenge myself so much that I don’t know what I need to do to meet the challenge.

As a teacher and from my previous learning I know that all these feelings can contribute to significant and transformative learning, which I am hoping will occur in this course. As a student this knowledge is currently not giving me much comfort, my thoughts can’t progress to what I can learn because I am so caught up in what do I need to do to get through this subject.

It is quite a coincidence that I feel like this today. It is day one of semester for the students that I teach. I am hoping they don’t feel the way I am currently feeling but I am not so sure that they know what they need to do to complete the course, how to navigate the course page and be able to then focus on the actual learning. Perhaps this is part of the learning? As a teacher this has provided me with some insight to how my students may feel and therefore perhaps this is valuable learning for me, perhaps I need to be aware of  these feelings and be mindful of them when designing the courses I run so that my students are provided with enough to challenge them without taking the focus away from the learning that should occur.

Does it matter what learning occurs as long as some learning occurs? In my case probably as the courses lead to a formal qualification but in other areas who knows.

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7 thoughts on “the ups and downs

  1. Good post. Lot’s of interesting bits here.

    Taking your last question first, I wonder who defines what learning is important? In your teaching situation (and many others – e.g. the undergrad course I teach) it’s formally defined by some group. But with a course like netgl, I don’t think there is such a group. In fact, I’m not sure that it makes sense to define an explicit, objective curriculum that everyone would have to learn.

    In designing the course, my answer to this question is that it is you that decides what learning is important. What do you want to learn? What’s important?

    In assessing your work – because that’s still required in this course – I’ll be looking more at the process you use. Is it disciplined? Does it engage with NGL? Does it use the research? Is it logical and well argued? It’s the how, not the what.

    As I’ve shared on my blog recently, I’m interested in what insights there are that can help guide the design of a course based on principles of NGL. Some of the literature around cMOOCs reports this confusion being widespread and common. Perhaps you’ve identified something for you “as a teacher”?

    On the pragmatic front, if you’re just plain stuck with the course, ask me some specific questions via whichever medium suits and I’ll try to help.

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  2. Thanks David for your thoughts. I am not necessarily stuck with a specific aspect of the course. I think it is just taking me a little time to get my head around what I need to do and how to navigate around the various tools. It is also a different format to learning than i have done in my previous subjects and therefore my study methods that have previously worked for me are needing some adjusting. As someone who likes to be in control and know what i’m doing it is taking me some time however i feel tonight I have a better handle on things so now to catch up.

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  3. Hi and just letting you know that I can identify with your feelings of bewilderment and the hours spent trying to come to terms with the large amount of tasks requested for week 1. Even though I was familiar with much of the terminology through my work, the reality of applying it personally to my learning in this course was confronting. It seems this is part of the learning journey, certainly not a comfortable part for me, but thoughts are emerging from the fog and hopefully they will take shape with time. I agree that this experience can provide valuable perspectives as to how students and teachers could feel when placed in a similar situation.
    Looks like we are in for an interesting and challenging journey……..
    Deb

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  4. Ditto. I threw my first ‘hissy’ fit in years over getting set up. Totally lost despite hours of effort. Leant a lot about myself in the process. Will do some reflection on what I need to feel comfortable while learning in a new environment. I confess it feels better to hear others are struggling. Misery and company perhaps? I also miss being able to talk. Better now I am getting the hang of things. Look forward to journeying together. Tracey

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  5. I feel just as overwhelmed by this course and have lost more than a week because of being in a remote area without a strong enough internet connection to flip back and forth between blog posts. I have done what I could while being offline, but realized after a while that this is not the kind of course where one could “leave the online conversation”, sit and work on the sideline and then post your ideas later. By that time the dialogue might have been steered in a completely different direction and one’s ideas might have become irrelevant. This has made me aware of the importance of being part of the conversation at the time it is happening. That is the essence of networked learning… it is “live” and interactive, not stagnant and passive. I’m getting back on track “as we speak!”

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  6. […] In a comment on this post about the ups and downs participants are going through in the NGL course Mari shares the struggles of being offline in this type of a course. The feeling where being offline feels a bit like you’ve left the conversation and have fallen behind the evolution of where the others are up to. […]

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  7. […] having a verbal conversation about it with someone. I commented early in the course in my blog the ups and downs that I felt “totally out of my comfort zone” and it was refreshing to know I  wasn’t the […]

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