As with most people in education, there is an awful lot going on at the moment for me:
- preparing two papers for a conference in Tokyo in early October (and I will be overseas for three week approx from 2 - 22 October); one paper is on use of e-portolios for learning, and one is on activities to foster reflection, self assessment and deep learning.
- developing and teaching this new Intercultural Competence paper - only level 5 but still demanding - although very much related to language teaching in that language and culture are inseparable, it means going 'back to school' to familiarise myself with relevant models, theories and frameworks.
- developing in a team, online beginners language papers - hence the reason for doing this course.
- plus we are in the process of restructuring the school, so . . .
Why enrol for this paper? The main one is I need to learn about online communities and experience online learning as a student. The beginners language papers will target intermediate and possibly high school teachers, business people, and possibly university students who have timetabling problems. We will need to cater for different learners and different needs.
The other reason is, my research interests are autonomous learning, which takes in learning strategies, motivation and reflection. This paper links in very well with my interests and the readings look very relevant.
How am I doing so far?
I am achieving my first aim - finding out just what it feels like as an online student who is not really into technology. I happily use email, and wikis and blogs (but set up through Blackboard so haven't ventured out yet into the wider world), have heard about RSS but have no idea how to use it, nor blog links. But I now understand why I would want to use them to make life easier. I go along with Stephen Downes when he says it is easy to focus on the technology and we should let the learners choose their own technology. But at the same time, we need to remember that some learners are like me - they don't know what choices they might have, and it is wise to set off on familiar ground - possibly just an email forum and a blog already set up ie scaffolding. Part of the problem is not having the time to explore and play with things and it is frustrating. But there is a huge sense of achievement and motivation when you achieve something small.
I will deal with my learning styles later but it is clear that although I would say I am an autonomous learner, in this new environment, I am right back at the novice stage and appreciate guidance until I get my feet. Having said that, I am enjoying the challenge, and the exposure to the different approach to learning.