This blog post is part of the series on a course called Open Networked Learning, specifically for the course offered in Autumn of 2018, abbreviated as ONL181. This blog post is about my reflections on topic five of the course that deals with the topic of course reflections. Below you will find my personal general reflections about the course.
About the blog and blog posts
S̵o̵,̵ ̵t̵h̵i̵s̵ ̵i̵s̵ ̵t̵h̵e̵ ̵f̵i̵n̵a̵l̵ ̵p̵o̵s̵t̵ ̵o̵f̵ ̵m̵y̵ ̵j̵o̵u̵r̵n̵e̵y̵ ̵i̵n̵t̵o̵ ̵t̵h̵e̵ ̵w̵o̵r̵l̵d̵ ̵o̵f̵ ̵O̵p̵e̵n̵ ̵N̵e̵t̵w̵o̵r̵k̵e̵d̵ ̵L̵e̵a̵r̵n̵i̵n̵g̵. This is my first post into my journey to practice the learning from participating in this course. I never blogged before and the fact that this is my 6th blog post during the course of this journey, It is safe to assume that my personal key takeaway from the course is that I started to blog (sharing). In my previous posts, I have said that I have always been a passive open learner, meaning I consumed data and never produced anything. This course thought me that blogging could be the way to get started with sharing and it was spot on. I hope to continue writing blog posts regularly. I will start with the goal of writing 2 blog posts per month.
About “Medium” as a platform for blogging
Why did I choose Medium as a platform for my blogging? There are a couple of reasons why I choose to use Medium as the platform for my blog. I read many blog posts on daily basis and the majority of them are on medium. So I always wanted to try the platform. I liked the simplicity of the platform. Simple to signup and start blogging. It is very limited in terms of features, for example, you cannot insert tables in Medium. Sometimes annoying but its other features such as stats about the posts, and a small note under each post showing how long the post will take to read, etc. I think everyone should try it. I have not upgraded to a premium paid subscription, but I intended to do and the reasons are well mentioned in a blog post found here (Read the two blog posts the post links). Let’s not get into the debate of “why should we pay for open content”, I think there is no answer to that. It comes down to personal preference. The stats I talked about, what does it show me? It gives me a rough insight into which blog posts are being read, whether there are being just viewed or fully read. Percentage of readers against views. Should my posts be long, short, etc. These metrics are very important. You don’t share just for the sake of sharing, it is important to make your sharing count. The numbers will also determine what topics you should concentrate more, etc. I started with a dream of my blog posts reaching a readership of 100, but as of writing this blog, I had 65 views and 51 reads. A good readership percentage I would say, of course, a computer algorithm calculates/estimates if a visitor read it or just viewed it. But, generally such algorithms work well and I believe those numbers. The other reason I use medium is the fact that Grammarly is integrated into it. Grammarly is a great service/tool if you are writing in English. The free version serves enough to write good quality posts. The last reason is, it is easier to find older posts related to a topic faster. I had trouble finding blog posts from participants from previous iterations of the course. I, unfortunately, did not succeed. The medium posts are indexed well and searches are easier. Search for “Open Networked Learning or ONL” on medium and you will see all my posts and few others. If more people write on medium, more blog posts will be shown in the results.
Working in Groups
I have always been very lucky when it comes to working in groups, I have had no team member issues, no issues with some members of the group not being cooperative etc. The ONL PBL group was no different. Thank you, Miriam, Caroline, Sunnee and Jarrod. It was a lot of fun, a lot of learning and information sharing. Everyone contributed and our facilitators were often critiquing our work positively. Our group dynamics did not surprise me, based on my previous group/teamwork experience. However, there was one key takeaway for me from this group, the key role the facilitators play. I think it positively influenced our work. Thank you, Francisca and Elaine,
The Course itself
Time Spent on the course
The course was well structured and well planned and well scheduled. The total effort was supposed to be worth 80 hours and I spent a little over that time. Here is an approximate time I spent on the course, 20 meetings, (1 hour each), pre and post meeting time (30 minutes pre and 30 minutes post), I always took time to prepare and reflect immediately and take quick notes. My meeting time was about 40 hours. Although I missed some meetings, I did see the recordings later. So no reduction in time for the meetings I missed. There were 6 webinars, add a little prep time like for other meetings, that is 12 hours. I wrote 6 blog posts, the current blog took my entire train journey from Nuremberg to Frankfurt. 2 hours and 30 minutes. This blog post was without any literature review, so I easily spent 3–4 hours on each of the other blog posts. That makes it 18 hours for writing blog posts. 70 hours so far and add to that time spent on group work which I did not calculate. So I would say 80 hours is minimum time you will need to spend on the course, I personally spent more than that.
What changes would I do to the course if I did it
I think getting everyone to the meeting at the same time is the biggest challenge, fortunately for our group it worked out pretty well. Mostly everyone was present in the meeting. However, it took a while to do the schedule, I personally would have liked to do it faster/earlier. The change I propose is that, either at course level or at first meeting facilitation level, strict emphasis should be made to make a schedule. Maybe an aim or outcome of the first two weeks? The second change is about blogging. I think it is hard to search for blogs specific to this course. I don’t have a good solution at this point, but one option is to use the Medium platform, but this is not a good suggestion because one loses the freedom of choice.
The outlook for me after the Course.
I have outlined a planned design for a new blended/online course in my blog post titled “Online/Blended Learning and me”. This will be my first application of my learning from this course. In parallel I also plan to do a deep dive on few new tools that I have learned during this course and how they can influence my course. The tools such as padlet, prezi, canva. Hopefully, the deep dives on these tools will also result in me writing blog posts on them.
Before I finish this post, I just like to say that this course has indeed added to my knowledge and the way the course was designed and tools that were used has helped me stay connected and continue working on the course, During this study period I have traveled to three countries and I am surprised that I did not miss much or affect my contribution to my group. Zoom and Google apps (drive and docs) especially stand out.