My prior experiences
In 2012 I returned to tertiary study as a mature age student enrolled in the Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Development. This was prompted by a workplace review and the realization that it was important to remain relevant in the workplace. Approaches to education were changing rapidly and further education was encouraged and supported by USQ.
My experiences in online education were varied – the ideals versus the reality. I found it valuable to observe teacher and student behaviour as it informed my ongoing work within Learning and Teaching Services (LTS) at USQ. Not all were prepared for learning and teaching in this space and it was evident that improved support for the use of technology was desirable for both teachers and students. The intended or expected levels of online interactions in discussion groups did not always occur, so planned outcomes were affected, although linking assessment to discussion and collaborative tasks seemed to help motivate students. I would like to see increased use of audio and video elements in online courses to foster more personal interactions in addition to text only discussions.
NGL and what I know about it
I associate connectivist pedagogy, open education and MOOCs with NGL. Connectivism to me describes the way increasing numbers of people are learning using the global network in their informal and formal education.
I know more about open education practices and the use of open education resources (OERs), as I work in Learning and Teaching Services at USQ and these practices are being promoted. I am familiar with Creative Commons and the concept of using, repurposing and sharing of educational resources and have encouraged teaching staff to utilize these when redesigning courses for online teaching.
MOOCs are topical and there’s lots of discussion about the value of them – I’m watching with interest to see how they evolve. I did enroll in one a couple of years ago, however there were technical problems with access and this combined with being very busy at the time resulted in me becoming another fallout statistic!
My student role
When I recommenced study I was expecting change and wanted to experience online education – I started out as a traditional student, but willing to become involved in discussion forums, collaborative tasks and using cloud based tools for completing assessment tasks. There were often some technical issues to resolve and some coordination problems, however the shared learning and educational outcomes have been rewarding, especially for my work context.
So, I should be a little prepared for some of new experiences when studying NGL – the idea sounds appealing, the reality of doing it another story so far. Through this NGL experience I hope to gain valuable insights into the realities of this style of learning which will help inform LTS about student and teacher perspectives.