The class conversation on Thursday evening via Google Hangout was a great experience on a number of levels. I learned more about the tools available via this free tool; I gained some great insights into how the math group is shaping their course; and I realized how important it is for me, as a learner, to put faces (and voices) with names. I have taken a number of online courses in the last several years, and my entire ed leadership program was either online or via audio conferences. Without ever having the opportunity to attach a human face to a colleague’s name, I tend to feel relatively disconnected from classmates. Our Google Hangout on Thursday night was great because it allowed all of us to connect in a supported, fun conversation. Dr. Graham’s encouragement to use this type of face-to-face interaction as a low-key, low-risk, casual time together was a great lesson – one that I will take with me as I consider teaching online courses.
I found that it was easier and even more enjoyable to read and connect to my colleagues’ blog posts this weekend as a result of the Hangout, as well. Again, the chance to connect and talk about our course plans led to greater connection as I read through the posts.
There were a number of resources I shared via Twitter this week – many of which were in response to comments and points made in my colleagues’ blog posts. Naomi’s post helped me think more about the intricacies of developing a quality online class; Helen’s post helped me to hone in on more of my developing understanding of MOOCs; Michael's comments about the need for teacher preparation gave me a reason to share iNACOL's standards for online teachers; and Jon had some insightful and entertaining thoughts on the sustainability of online networks. I appreciated the comments Aleta and Dan posted in response to my thinking for this week, as the opportunity to respond to their comments helped me refine my thinking about technology as a tool for teaching, and the role of the teacher in
Major themes this week included writing online, teacher preparation for online teaching, the complex nature of designing strong online courses, and the concept of MOOCs. So much to think about, and so much to look forward to as I look ahead to next week’s reading and more opportunities to make sense of this exciting new chapter in education.