My vision on the propositions:
collaboration in learning is correct, we learn from each other by seeing other and new views on things. It was not always easy to understand, someone telling something for a few minutes from his point of view, with his background in knowledge and understanding, is not always easy to follow if mine are very different. There often wasn’t enough time to ask for much elaboration.
We used the Blackboard platform, email, google+, google docs, prezi, programs for making diagrams,… to work together. I never was a fan of prezi, I always felt there was to much clutter around when focussing on one point that made you deviate, but I’ve seen some nice uses this semester.
The conversations in the chat were very playful, stimulating and creative, they brought a wide spectrum of related items to the topic.
Collaboration outside the online lessons could do better in my opinion. I had email sessions, live chat and video sessions that helped, but this could be more structured and/or more used. I certainly have an appreciation for people’s work outside this training and realise that agendas are hard to accord. Funny thing happened during a video session with Bram and Wendy: we all had the feeling that the description of the wiki tasks had changed during our working on it. I checked with the form I downloaded in the beginning of the semester and found no difference. Is it our understanding of the tasks that changed?
One of the biggest issues i had myself is the confrontation with an enormous amount of data. Going through papers, selecting appropriate ones, analysing them and taking the appropriate messages has surely taken a lot of self reflection emotionally and psychologically. e.g. motivating myself to hold on, taking the necessary rest and distance, taking walks in nature to clear my head.
Also checking from time to time if I wasn’t wandering of to much from the initial item (which happened easily and often)…
The biggest realization was when we kept on asking for more feedback and Richard said something that made me realise that in my school paradigm I had always expected assessment, the work wasn’t finished until somebody else told me how good it was. Now I’m not saying that feedback isn’t necessary 😉 Certainly as a novice in an area it’s hard to assess the work that has been done and your findings.
The guided readings were of a high difficulty level, what made that I had to reflect and research on how to handle them. They also were a good preparation on going through dozens of papers for the tasks since most papers are easier to understand, what lightened the work.
After a while it seemed that although differently formulated, the same messages were coming back in different papers. Sometimes there was one sentence in a paper that made the difference in my understanding of a subject.
Much of the work was self-steered, although there was guidance, many questions stayed unanswered. This made the learning more accidental, using google scholar and twitter with directed search words and whatever selection I made after skimming was the item I studied. Doing series of new searches on questions that arose from this made me sort of a rhizomatic learner.
In TEL2 this approach seems feasable, but can it be used in all courses? I still have the notion that some fields of study need a foundation where students can build there own learning on. Studying this way will require a great adjustment of students, teachers and staff, not to mention the legislative impositions, actually whole of society. Education has mostly followed on jobs that were necessary. Here we are making students ready to educate themselves. Either for existing jobs or for jobs that don’t exist yet, what I hear is exactly the point. Is this kind of learning for everybody? I have my doubts, it requires quite a lot of personal potentials. A great deal depends on passion and personal motivation. Maybe this is the most important foundation we have to lay for students, bring them in contact with the things they want? Giving them the freedom to explore this, then it could be for everybody.