My thoughts on starting a new online course.
1. Getting to grips with a new VLE (in this case Moodle) is frustrating. I can’t seem to post to most of the forums and I don’t know why – is it me or is it something to do with how it is set up?
2. I am keen to get ahead of the curve in order to stay on top of everything in terms of the workload. Got intentions maybe but how realistic is it. How many of our students start with the same intentions and then life gets in the way!
3. Writing – I have no problem with reflective writing but I am really rubbish at writing stories (one of the tasks we have been asked to do). And yes I know practice helps but my previous attempts have never been successful. Should we keep trying at things we are not good at or accept our weaknesses and work to our strengths? For me the answer depends on the weakness. I can’t imagine ever needing to be a good story writer so feel less inclined to worry about my skills in this area. However, if it was a skill more pertinent to my work or life then I would be inclined to work on it. I guess this chimes with two of Malcolm Knowles’ assumptions of adult learners – ”
3. Readiness to learn. As a person matures his readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the developmental tasks of his social roles.
4. Orientation to learning. As a person matures his time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application, and accordingly his orientation toward learning shifts from one of subject-centeredness to one of problem centredness.” Knowles 1984:12
(Knowles, M. et al (1984) Andragogy in Action. Applying modern principles of adult education, San Francisco: Jossey Bass.)
4. I am also considering myself as a learner in formal settings. I enjoy reflecting and learning from my experiences and life in general. As someone who teaches, I always find it difficult to transition to the role of student / participant. My comments are always along the lines of, “I wouldn’t have done it this way”, although I do of course appreciate that there are many valid and useful ways of teaching the same thing. However, it is difficult to escape the being in that ‘meta’ role of not just learning the material presented but also evaluating the teaching that is occurring. Occupational hazard I guess and at least it shows the ingrained habit in my own practice to evaluate everything I do and to reflect on it.