I joined an open access course last year: Facilitating Online Learning Communities. I am now officially enrolled and am in the process of completing the four assignments. Assignments 3 and 4 were concerned with the Elluminate sessions that I ran for midwives last year. Assignment 2 discussed my experience of wikis.
Assignment 1: Reflecting on your learning.
Discuss the characteristics of an online community and the implications for learning and teaching.
- Introducing newbies to online communities
- Online midwifery communities
- Student at the center of learning
- Community in a formal education program
- Learning away from the classroom
- When technology does not work
- Developing a blog
- Students connecting with each other
- Second Life
- Facebook in midwifery education-discussing Facebook with my teenage daughter
- Looking over each other's shoulders to learn and support each other in an online community
- Building online communities
- Facilitation and moderation
- Identity of teacher in learning community
- Teaching or facilitation?
- Virtual role play
- Presenting myself as a teacher in Facebook
- Carolyn: The plethora of tools and resources makes it seem that the sky is the limit with regards to online teaching, learning, collaboration and communication. It is very exciting and very easy to get carried away with the array of possibilities of social networking. But the challenge is to engage with students and midwives, and facilitate opportunities in such a way that they are challenged to participate. It is the learner that should drive social networking for learning and not the tools.
- Graeme: Impediments to social networking in education and flexible delivery continue to be lack of access to adequate technology eg broadband. This discriminates against students who do not have that access. Whilst it is right and proper that students are at the center of learning, there are times that students have to be 'taught', and this has to be in a face-to-face context at times. There are times when the role of teacher and facilitator changes according to the needs of the student and education program. The unpredictability of technology can be problematic and the lack of academic rigor and evaluation is a barrier to wholesale uptake of social networking.
- David: Technological breakdowns can be a frustrating problem so it is advisable to have an alternative plan. Lack of participation in online activities can be part-way addressed by giving participants the opportunity to 'play' and experiment with the technology. Strategies need to be put in place to encourage interaction eg making instructions and information as detailed and as simple, and presenting them in such a way that people will put them at the top of the list of their priorities. A balance of directed and facilitated activities is effective.
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Image: 'Fire in the sky'