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Open Networked Learning

Open Networked Learning

Smile

— Dirk Möller (2019).

This is the first post on my new blog. Never thought to create and work with blogs or something like this…

Hmmm, but on the other side, why not…

Topic 5: Lessons learnt – future practice

Twelve weeks of online meetings are behind me now. What is the outcome? Here are some key terms: many discussions, different thoughts, different ideas, different solutions, new perspectives, new digital tools, more confidence in the digital world, not alone in the digital world and its challenges, meeting new colleagues (unfortunately only online), development in the skills of teaching, …

Digital media offer many opportunities both to improve the own teaching and to involve students more intensively in the online lecture. If one is able to “play” with the digital tools (blogs, meme, patlet, coggle, google drive, zoom, prezi => just to name a few) and use it according to the particular teaching situation, there is certainly a chance that learners will be better taken along. So far I assumed the typical teaching situation that as a teacher, I give a talk to the students in my online lecture and then discuss it with the students. Now, with the things I have learned during ONL, I can create this teaching / learning situation much more varied, making it easier for everyone involved.

I could not determine a direct influence on my practical work so far, because I did not have an online course during my ONL time. But what I can say is that I reflect much more about digital media and implementing into my teaching activities. In the past, for myself digital media in teaching only consisted of the platform I communicate with my students (zoom, adobe, skype, …). Now I start thinking about how I can create my online lectures (next year in May / June I have the next one). A structure based on / comparable with my experiences during ONL would be perfect. I do not know whether that is really feasible on that high level. I tend to build the next online course “simple and safe” and install elements that I’ve become familiar with. For example, splitting the whole group into several small online rooms to facilitate group work. Or in a collaborative sense, out on a goal / aim by the use of a common presentation tool (prezi, coggle, …). I have many ideas (and also ideals) in my head, I hope I can continuously develop my online skills.

As I mentioned earlier, the use of digital technology in teaching is an incredible gain, but you have to keep the technology under control. In other words, both the specific properties of a digital tool must be known, but also the certainty that the tool is usable. We once had the problem in our group that a free version of a tool had some limitations. Thus, this tool then fell out for our group work. Ultimately, this “problem” was more of a win, as we were once again shown that you must be safe in dealing with it. Another important question is to what extent can I use digital media to my students? Not all students have a sufficient technical understanding, this must be taken into account in the planning of an online course. Detailed instructions (e.g. pdf) or links to corresponding explanatory videos are helpful. At the beginning of an online course the teacher should focus on this, in addition to the socialization of the participants with each other.

How to implement all the impressions, experiences and knowledges? Good question. Certainly, there is no clear answer. For myself I think I should try to prepare my next online course with the premise of only implementing a few new digital things. But handle these things very well and be able to “play” with them and motivate students to work online. Better than too much digital things and have the risk that in the teaching situation not everything works well and so it tends to have a demotivating effect on the students.

It would be exciting and hopefully fruitful to introduce my colleagues to the digital possibilities in teaching. Not everyone will be ready to open his/her mind, because it would be necessary to leave comfortable zones to have progress. But it would be an interesting challenge.

So, tonight I will have a nice glas of red wine and enjoy the advent time. Cheers to my fantastic group PBL 8.

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” (Phil Jackson, NBA coach)

Topic 4: Design for online and blended learning

For the past two weeks we talked about the issue (or challenge or opportunity) of designing an online or blended course, bearing in mind important factors to consider, especially social presence, cognitive presence and teaching presence. In addition, another topic has strongly influenced our discussions, emotions.

Emotions

The importance of emotions on teachers´ and learners´ side should not be underestimated. Much has been exchanged in our online meetings about that. At first, I did not consider that emotions are so central to me. However, I quickly realized that emotions in the teaching / learning process always play a role and must always be taken into account. Above all, teachers are asked to create a pleasant learning environment for all participants in the learning process. Our group members have contributed many examples from their own practice, making the complexity and meaning of an emotional relationship within a learning process very clear. Much of the things that was reported and discussed, I could understand well. Most of the cases that my colleagues reported, I knew similarly from my own teaching, however without paining so much attention to it. The meaning of emotions in teaching situations was once again made clear. This realsation is already a valuable outcome for me by ONL.





https://coi.athabascau.ca/coi-model/
Emotional Presence
The extent to which learners and teachers adapt their behaviour to accommodate the overt and covert presence of emotion.

The Five Stage Model

The five stage model serves as a visualization or “scaffold” for structuring digital teaching activities. It offers teachers a framework for supporting participants in developing their digital skills. The subclassification into the different learning levels “access and motivation”, “online socialization”, “information exchange”, “knowledge construction” and “development” with the increasing interactivity of the participants from stage to stage was intensively discussed from different perspectives. The different professions, experiences and cultural backgrounds of each member of our team have done very well for this process.

https://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html
The five stage model

Emotions are important, as it became clear now. The five-stage model makes it possible to consider this in the context of digital teaching. I did not think that we would discuss it so long and intensively in our team. I have always thought that emotions are a kind of “accessory” that is intuitively passed on by a teacher to a learner (so either you live emotions by you own way of teaching or not). But there seem to be several levels, especially in online courses, where you can explicitly create an environment etc., which will make it easier for a participant to become an integrated member of the “teaching / learning” team and thus promote interactivity. Additionally, the five stage model gives me a nice tool to plan online courses. I believe that this approach (the familiarization of the participants in the new, perhaps unfamiliar learning environment) brings a significant benefit => all participants are “picked up”, even inexperienced participants (technical or digital) are not disconnected. This also applies to teachers. It will be a more familiar handling to the digital media, which will improve the own teaching quality and the way to deal with the learners in the digital environment.

This is definitely true for me…

References

Cleveland-Innes, M. (2019). Emotion and learning – emotional presence in the Community of Inquiry framework (CoI)? Introductory video on the Padlet

Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. [Homepage] http://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html

Topic 3: Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning

Sunday evening after a busy week with lectures, research activities and discussions with students. Many impressions and new thoughts to reflect. Topic 3 also opens up the possibility of thinking about new perspectives (in this case “networked collaborative learning”) and thereby expanding your own perspective.

A week later, sitting in Dresden and reflecting the last two weeks, “learning in communities – networked collaborative learning”. In the beginning, for me it seems to be very clear that “learning in communities” is a cooperative thing. I work with colleagues or students, that’s it. But if you take a deeper and a more differentiated look to the issue, then there are already some differences. The most significant difference for our group is how to work together, “collaborative” or “cooperative”. Some very nice and stimulating discussion started and I caught myself just listening fascinated to my colleagues of PBL group 8, from which different perspectives it is possible to classify/understand the two words. Many things happened in my brain.

Collaboration vs. cooperation

From my point of view, Siemens describes the differences between both terms in a clear understandable way (Siemens 2002) and was relatively close to the ideas of our group: Collaboration means (1) working together by sharing (different) ideas and (different) knowledge, (2) connecting the ideas and knowledge of people from different perspectives, (3) people coming together and willing to cooperate to achieve a common goal. We discussed about challenges and recommendation of collaboration, e.g. (1) finding a common ground and agree with certain actions/decisions/conclusions when people or groups have totally different ideas on a certain subject or (2) pointing out the common goals of the participants in order for everyone to have a clear mindset of what they want to achieve together with the collaboration.

In contrast to this, Siemens differentiate cooperation as a way to work together in which “people doing things together, but each with his or her own purpose”. So everyone could have different individual goal and individual qualities to the topic. There must not be that kind of exchange between the participants.

Reading the article from Brindley and colleagues (Brindley et al. 2009) helps to understand the importance of this collaborative learning in higher education. One results beside others shows that small collaborative learning groups should be included in online courses.

References

Brindley J, Blaschke LM, Walti C (2009) Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3).

Siemens, G. (2002).  Interaction. E-Learning Course. October 8, 2002. Retrieved May 19, 2008, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/Interaction.htm

Topic 2: open learning – sharing and openness

Very exciting topic. It affects both, teachers and learners. Everyone can benefit from it, but everyone must be willing to share. And maybe that’s the sticking point …

Sharing and openness

The idea of sharing my materials openly for online courses has set a defense mechanism in my mind. I’ve spent much much time in the development of these materials and putting everything together, hours and days. And now I should just make it available to the community? No, why? What is my personal benefit from it? First of all, apparently nothing …

The more we have talked and discussed about this subject in our PBL group 8 over the past few weeks, the more the idea developed that it might not be so bad to share. In his TED talk, David Wiley gave me a very vivid insight into the terms “open”, “openness”, “education”, “successful educators”, “sharing expertise” and examined them from a more sophisticated perspective. We have so many opportunities to share knowledge with the new digital technology so that everyone benefits, teachers and learners. For me, in addition to the moral (or perhaps selfish) justification for not sharing my material, the copyright issue is a reason not to share anything. Maybe more of an excuse … The video by #watchnowvideomagazine has created a certain clarity that makes it easier to reduce the copyright problem and gain security.

Open learning

Any medium (e.g. blogs, twitter, open course materials, facebook) that you can use for open learning has advantages and disadvantages. More important than the medium itself, in my opinion, is the respect and mutual trust needed to benefit from each other. “Respect” that openly used material should be given out of respect for the actual author. “Trust” that sources are valid and no false knowledge is disseminated.

“ONL requires a shift in mind towards openness, combined with the right network tool to suit your teaching context.” (final conclusion PBL group 8)

This quote from the final presentation of topic 2 of my PBL group 8 summarizes “open learning – sharing and openness” very well in my opinion.

Good team, good job 🙂

References:

  1. Open education and the future, Short TED-talk by David Wiley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb0syrgsH6M
  2. Creative Commons guide. Nice short overview to CC-licensing by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YkbeycRa2A

Topic 1: Online participation & digital literacies

Sitting with a nice glass of red wine and thinking about the past few weeks of Open Networked Learning. Many new impressions, nice new colleagues in the online sessions, many hurdles (or challenges) to solve…

… but it is a fascinating journey with so many new impressions, ideas and possibilities.

Topic 1: Online participation and digital literacies

Three things impressed me in topic 1. There is the topic itself, which is very exciting and about which I have never thought so much. I had not been so aware how I act in the digital media. Breaking these down based on the work of White & Le Cornu, this makes it easy to develop an understanding about this. The model “visitors and residents” visualizes and clarifies this in a very nice way respectively. Exciting, that the behavior within the group is not so different, as one might suspect at first.

Furthermore, I found the handling of different types of media within the online sessions extremely pleasant. That’s how I got to know digital possibilities that I had never used before. This will certainly help me in developing online lectures as part of my teaching. Next year I have my first big online lecture over a time period of several months and I’m glad to get new “tools” as an additional support.

But the most impressive thing is the communication within our team PBL group 8. I recognized a great respect of each team member towards the opinion of the other. This is not natural for me personally nowadays. So I enjoyed the time. The discussions on the topic of digital media have also opened up new points of view for me, as well as a view of the topic itself. All this still needs to be processed, but my own point of view is increasing. Thx to my team!

I´m old fashioned about online participation, I think, maybe, not really sure. But, is this really the truth? I use Facebook, WhatsApp and for video conferences zoom or adobe connect. That’s it, if I do not count my normal mail traffic. Media such as Linkeln, Twitter, Instagram, etc. seem to me too complicated. To what extent they can help me in communication with students or in teaching, I do not know. I’m rather skeptical …

References:

  1. David White: Visitors and residents (part 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPOG3iThmRI&feature=youtu.be
  2. David White: Visitors and residents – Credibility (part 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO569eknM6U&feature=youtu.be
  3. White, D. & Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9)

About myself

This is Dirk Möller from Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences in Germany. I have a degree in sport sciences (Dipl.-Sportwiss.) and physical therapy with advanced skills in manual therapy (IFOMPT), therapeutic climbing, MTT and applied biomechanics (movement analysis). I worked for a long time in several physiotherapy practices and rehabilitation hospitals. Since 2012, my focus has moved to Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences. I work as a lecturer in several study programs for physiotherapists and musicians. Since my time at the University I´m one of the heads of the physiotherapeutic MotionLab and a member of the interdisciplinary research team focussing on musicians´ health. My area of interests includes musicians´ health from physiotherapeutic perspective, applied biomechanics (especially electromyography and motion capture), human movement studies and the combination of manual therapy and sports science.

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