My reflection on Topic 5 #ONL171

Flickr: brandslang firehose by LotteCh Creative Commons BY-NC-ND

Gain experience of online learning

My purpose to participate in the course and in a PBL-group was to gain experience of online learning. This because the college I recently started work at, is using online learning. From before I had experiences from synchrounous  webmeetings and asynchrounous collaboration in different webtools. But not from e-learning in its entirety. I learned that we can make a better use of the advantages of synchronous communication and the advantages of asynchronous communication.

Educational ideas about e-learning

I also wanted to know the educational ideas in e-learning. I must say, what I have gained insight into, is over my expectations. For me it’s not new with different and varying learning activities, formative assessment and collaboration (Cooperative Learning), partly together with ICT-tools. But my experiences is from the classroom in primary school and high school. It made me very happy that Vygotskijs thougts about learning also influence online learning. It has inspired strengthened me further in my mission to support the teachers how to develop the e-learning at our college.

Language barriers

The most significant experience was the language barriers. I knew it could be a  issue, but I did´t expect it to be such a big barrier.  I’m 55 years old, but sometimes I felt like 15. Everyday language about casual things in english is no problem. And pedagogical disussions in swedish is no problem. But pedagogical critical discussions in english became a big barrier. Or long discussions where the topic surged back and forth. My brain processor was not enough for analysing the meaning of all words and at the same time do my own inferences. 

Usually I’m not afraid to ask questions if there is something that is unclear to me. Mostly my strategy was to listen, hoping that I would understand by context. It was not always helping. I wish I had been able to participate better in the discussions. Now I have a clear sense of what it’s like to be an immigrant in a country where you do not know the language completely. Hopefully, I have developed my academic English language. 

Interesting reading

It has been interesting texts to read. I used to read a lot of pedagogical books, articles and thesis. But I have not read so much in english. But because the texts were so interesting, I put a lot of effort in the reading. I have made underlinings and notes wich I have translated  to realy understand. I struggled to find the Swedish pedagogical meanings of English  pedagogical concepts and words. And of course it took time and it was not enough time to read everything.

Last but not least …

… it has been fantastic learning to know the other participants in PBL-group 6! It has been exiting and thrilling to discuss with other people from all ower the world. I feel that we  developed our collaboration. Of course it’s becuse we learned to know each other better. I would be nice to have continuing exchange.

Charlotte Ch




My reflection at Topic 4 #ONL171


Figure inspired by Vaughan et. al. (2013)

The importance of explicit facilitation for joyful learning.

I believe that one of the most important things a teacher can do is to facilitate explicit with direct instructions, without being too dominant . If the students feel safe and secure collaborate it will help the students into learning precence , this in turn will helt the students to collaborate , further they will get motivated and in the end get a positive learning experience.  In other words – feel the joy of learning.

As a ICT-educater at MSB college, my assignment and challenge  is  to support the teachers/instructors to develop the blended learning design.  Not all the teachers have a pedagogical education. They are experts in different areas. Some are engeneers and Ph.D:s and some are former rescuepeople (some of them is parttime still active).  There is a lack of theoretical teories about learning. But so far they do a fantastic work by ambition, experience, intuition and by learning from collegues.

Many of our students has choosed this education becuse they want a profession that has a more practical alignment. Some of our students has been away from studies for a while and it can be hard to be a student again. Meanwhile the profession as a fireman demands more theoretical knowledge and the education has became more academic. This requires that the training must be designed to support and motivate the students. The teachers feel this is a challenge. As time goes, we will get students with another expericence from education, when the primary and secondary education are more advanced in their educational development.

  • We have to balance the lecturing format and one-way-communication to activate students into the theoretical parts of the education.
  • We have to balance the  studying for a final test with formative assessments to create learningprocesses and learning presence.
  • We have to give balanced direct instructions about how to collaborate.
  • We have to balance individual learning – in groups,  with collaborative learning in positive social interdependence.

Social presence
I think it is important to emphasize that ”social presence, is not just a “feel good” issue. Social presence sets the environmental conditions for higher learning. Research has shown social presence to be an essential mediating variable between teaching presence and cognitive presence” (Garrison, Cleveland-Innes, & Fung, 2010; Shea & Bidjerano, 2009). Social presence is connected to perceived learning and persistence (Akyol & Garrison, 2008; Boston et al., 2009).   Vaughan et. al. (2013).

Direct instructions
Direct instruction is a crusial and developmental component of teaching precence in a Community of inquiry. IT has been shown that students expect structure and leadership.  (Garrisson & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). Direct instruction is specifically tasked with ensuring systematic and disciplined inquiry and to ensure that participants move through the inquiry phases in a timely manner. Direct instructions also play an important role in enhancing metacognitive awarness and action. Vaughan et. al. (2013).

Constructive alignment
To achieve the intended learninggoals we need to have an constructive alignment to the intended outcome. As a teacher I have to align teaching and assessment to those outcomes. The outcome statements contain a learning activity, a verb, that students need to perform to best achieve the outcome, (John Biggs). Vaughan & Cleveland-Inneset say that rubrics kan be useful for claryfing assignment and assessment expectations only when students ar actively involved in their co-contruction. Rubrics is an explicit set of criteria used for assessing a particular type of work or performance.

Formative assessment
According to Yeh, (2009) there is an international call for a greater focus on assessment for learning, rather than on assessment for just measurement and accountability of students performance.  Vaughan & Cleveland-Innes (2013).  Like many others Vaughan & Cleveland-Inneset says that a
ssessment very much shapes the quality of learning and the quality of teaching. In short, students do what is rewarded. … Quantitative formative assessment online has an efficiency advantage.

I belive that Vaughan & Clevelands guidelines can be a good help for me and my  collegues to create and sustain a community of inqiury ín a blended learning enviroment.

Charlotte Ch

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press.

John Biggs – constructive alignment [Homepage]