Engels, Mcluhan and Voltaire walk into a classroom…

This week has been a series of insights beginning (appropriately) with the Beginners’ Questionnaire. A score of 9 made me feel like a bit of a socialist (my undergrad was in Russian studies). Like the image below, it seems like I am more interested in developing “The People’s Course ” with collective

construction and industry statue, Vilnius

submissions of content and shared insights to benefit all the participants.

I’ve always done this in my F2F teaching with learners developing projects relevant to them and providing examples from their own experiences to teach each other the course content.

My online experiences have been quite different, with my teaching style being borrowed from those I had experienced, heavy on instructor-directed activities and almost solely instructor-sourced content.

This has never felt quite right, and now I understand why. I also understand why I’ve had some reluctance to create online content-it has simply been a case of not wanting to “impose” on others. It is now rather exciting to realize that all of the social media tools I’ve enjoyed personally will support and encourage the same sharing that has marked my in-person training. I feel a lot more comfortable to create content to explain or demonstrate concepts knowing that my learners will do the same and I can make use of their creativity as well.

The Ko text in conjunction with the Getting Started Chart helped me realize that it wasn’t a question of familiarity with tools (I’ve worked with Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Elluminate, GotoMeeting, Adobe Connect and others) but rather using whatever tools are available (including WordPress, Twitter and Facebook) to deliver training in a collaborative with content developed by me and the participants.

I’ve been working on a concept for a distributed LMS around Facebook (go where the learners are) and as I looked around I discovered Insidious Pedagogy by Lisa M. Lane and an article on using WordPress as an LMS. I have previously used WordPress as an e-portfolio platform as a proof of concept in a Portfolio course I took showing how tagging could automatically create competency-based evidence summaries and provide a more effective e-portfolio navigation framework. These articles confirm for me that the idea of taking learning to the people is the next step we should take. (BONUS: If you’ve read this far, you deserve a reward and this Everything WordPress link is it.

Finally, I sat in on Alec Couros’ EC&I381 class last night and realized that a skill I get positive feedback for-being able to persevere online when some sort of crisis strikes (by redirecting, using other resources and using humour to keep everyone sane) can simply be a normal way to teach an online class-one that makes it much more interesting and engaging (important when the time difference has the class running from 10pm-midnight).

All in all, it’s been an enlightening week.

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