In this first blog post, I would like to investigate my own starting point at this very beginning of the course. What are my expectations at the start of this «online learning»-journey?
Two things come to mind:
First, for my part I expect the most valuable aspect of the course will be to have the student’s perspective of online learning. What’s it like to take part in an online course? Is it possible to work well together when we are not going to meet (physically)? How do we work together using digital tools? What obstacles might students face when it comes to online learning? And what are the advantages of online learning compared to traditional face-to-face meetings?
Second, I expect to go outside of my comfort zone!
To me there are several barriers associated with this online learning process:
- I am one of those persons who get annoyed and helpless when the printer does not work, and I am not confident that I have the basic skills needed to attend an online meeting with both a working microphone and webcam. Where to get technical support when you are «sitting alone»?
- I have never used Adobe Connect nor blogged, I rarely even update my Facebook account. Starting to use such tools constitutes a big change, leaving one in a way more exposed than usual. The blog has the entire world as an audience, meetings in Adobe Connect might be recorded and the webcam shows a close-up of your face – which might leave you with the feeling of «putting yourself out there».
- My everyday working life is based on face-to-face meetings in Norwegian, so the transition to online meetings in English is perceived as quite huge. I am both curious and jittery when it comes to the communication part. Will we be able to communicate well digitally? What will it be like to follow the conversation with the technical barrier and when so much of the non-verbal communication is not conveyed? How is communication even carried out in a digital environment?
Lessons learned at this point, there might be several obstacles to overcome for students to get started with online learning; ranging from minor challenges (e. g. get the microphone working) to overcoming the threshold of being exposed and worries regarding communication. Teachers planning to introduce online learning might benefit from being aware of these (and other) obstacles.