Thursday, March 27, 2008

Time flees from me ...

Assignment 2 is over with all the reviewing, posting & commenting. We had an exchange with a class at the the University of Education, Iceland, in Reykjavik that was interesting. It was a pity from the point of view of this exchange, that some of my students chose articles to review that were very specific to Canada or to their local needs ... though of course they were articles that were also very specific to their own interests and needs. Bu at least everyone got to read each others' posts and comments were flying thick and fast across the Atlantic after a relatively slow start.
Solveig (the Icelandic instructor) and I had a short de-brief about how it went & we have some ideas now for how to organize it better next time ... we hope! We also had an exciting presentation by Terry Anderson (one of my new colleagues) on the Social Networking and learning community intersection. I think that tied together well with our exchange and also planted some seeds for our final unit on research in distance education. Certainly from my experience so far teaching this course, there is a dilemma between the need for many students to feel a sense of belonging and have some inter-reliance with other students, and the pressure of the real world (life, family, jobs etc) which produces a conflicting need to just get in, do the work & get out, without interacting with anyone else. So this will be another aspect to continue to observe ad document - how this dilemma or tension can be resolved or planned for, in terms of providing the appropriate and necessary affordances for a user-friendly and user-compatible learning environment.
Now back to marking Assignment 2!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Debra,

Just to comment on your observation:"Certainly from my experience so far teaching this course, there is a dilemma between the need for many students to feel a sense of belonging and have some inter-reliance with other students, and the pressure of the real world (life, family, jobs etc) which produces a conflicting need to just get in, do the work & get out, without interacting with anyone else."

I think the key to address this is the social integration of DE learners and teachers. I think that the way you're conducting this course promotes the idea of social integration, for example the opening of the course included personal photographs, informal Elluminate session was flexible and friendly and the additional student discussion forums in all units let us students discuss topics other than learning materials.

I'm a strong believer of social activities in DE courses and the ones you included in this course were enjoyable and reduced my isolation from the rest of the classmates.

As a teacher I will certainly look for new ideas to increase social interaction of my DE learners.

Greetings from North Vancouver,

Serhat

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