What’s Next?

by alessiob

After a few months journey, the “Open Networked Learning” course has come to an end. It has been a really nice experience, which has enriched me with new knowledge from different contexts and offered me several new and different perspectives. In a nutshell, I would not say it has drastically change my view upon teaching and learning, especially with respect to digital tools [1] [2], but nevertheless it made me more aware that learners must always be the center of any teaching activity. Here after, some things I will bring with me from this journey and might be useful to you, too.

  • Digital tools might help your teaching experience (but they can ruin it, too). Digital tools should be used carefully and should not add further complexity and distraction to the teaching activity. To date, there are no scientific evidences that digital tools can effectively improve the learning [2]. Nevertheless, they can definitely help you with some aspects of your teaching. What is more, digital tools might be used in many different ways (not just for teaching) as, for instance, for an improved communication experience with your students.
  • We lack of (real) open education. Using the parallel with open-source software, some aspects to consider for a full-fledged open education are: price, source availability, open-sourcing, quality, development methods. Free education is crucial for open education, but free is not equal to open. Having access to teaching material is not equal to open education. Releasing old course materials is not equal to open education. Quality is paramount for open education and can not be affected by our choices.
  • Learning can benefit from communities. To learn something one has to see herself as a member of a given group and possibly share some objective(s) [4] [5]. However, me must acknowledge that boundaries (of a group) are constantly changing as old members go out and new members come in and old goals change in new ones.
  • Feelings are the truth (but not the whole truth). Feelings and emotions play a pivotal role in the learning process. They can boost the learning process or hamper it. Educators should keep this in mind when engaging with students and always trying to provide the most positive learning experience ever. At the same time, the actual course content should not be sent backwards and should always be prioritised over feelings.

[1] http://www.alessiob.com/2020/03/21/digital-literacy-and-covid-19/

[2] Strategic integration of open educational resources in higher education. In U-D. Ehlers & D. Schneckenberg (Eds.), Changing cultures in higher education: Moving ahead to future learning (pp. 119-131). Heidelberg: Springer

[3] http://www.alessiob.com/2020/04/05/what-open-source-software-can-teach-to-open-education/

[4] Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 179-198). Springer London.

[5] Dron, J. & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching crowds: Learning and social media. Athabasca University

[6] Cleveland-Innes, M. (2019). Emotion and learning –  emotional presence in the Community of Inquiry framework (CoI)?

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