Flexible learning… thinking as student

I remember that last semester when I got to know that we were going to work in a “flexible” way in this subject, I was very curious to know what that exactly was meaning. One thing was clear, we were going to have  more flexibility, whatever that meant…

Now I have been already in the course for some time and I am still confused about what “flexible” means. Initially the teacher explains us that we will “have a flexible level in our learning”, I still didn’t get what that means, but I thought “ok, that means I will learn when ever I want, whatever I want, that sound interesting!”. But then he presented the structure of the course, which didn’t look very “flexible”, we had well structured content and clear deadlines to deliver some assignments related to each topic. he was explaining that it was to be able to track or process and guide us when needed. I also found it a very good idea and I was excited about it. But then I understood that it was not learning what I want, since the content was pretty much defined and when I wanted because I must be ready to next topic on time.

Some of the tasks where to be done individually and others collaboratively, but beside of this, it was from the beginning introduced the idea of a community where we can share ideas and knowledge and discuss at any time we wanted. Then I thought, ok, that’s interesting and it bring me the flexibility part, since I will be able to discuss ideas and doubts at any time…

Everything was looking very interesting and organized from the beginning. Then the process started and I will try to summarize my experience that brought me to write this reflection.. At the beginning was the process to get along with the tools we will be using, it was not a big deal I already had a G+ account and the teacher created a community, so all fine. So the first topics where ok. I had to post things, I had already a blog that I used for some personal things very sporadically. I lost a lot of time figuring out how to manage to keep separated my personal posts and the posts that my colleagues will read, at the end I decided to create a new Blog. problem resolve, but during this time I was overwhelmed with other subjects assignments and I realize I was slow in the topic that was about to finish, so I rushed to finish it (by luck it was to be done individually!). The next topic i realize I was not understanding so good the previous one, although I could manage to finish the assignment and even have a got a good mark. I was confused and this week I got sick, so I was not able to really keep track of what was going on in the community. we had to collaborate, but I was really lost when I came back from my sick period.

When I came back the teacher supported me and gave me some literature to check and some videos so that I could catch up the current state of the topic, but i was already delayed with the previous topic and topics of other subjects as well, so I started posting questions in the forum so that I could know where they where… it was very good to have my classroom mates there to support me as well. I think without the existence of the community I would have not been able to recover the time.

In general the teacher was also very supportive, he was always answering my mails really fast. He was asking me to contact him in the forum, but I felt more comfortable contacting him via mail. I am happy that he was flexible enough to allow me to skip this rule and have this one to one communication as well, beside of the community. But what it was not working so good for me, was that after delivering the assignments we sometimes didn’t even get feedback before starting the new topic or I got sometimes interesting feedback and recommendations how to improve my knowledge about the topic so that I could manage better the next one, but I didn’t find the time to read the recommended literature or see the videos, since I had to jump into the new topic already…

So, I think it is very interesting the fact of having a community where we can openly get in track with the content in different ways, but has been a bit stressful to have to organize the collaborative work having limited time to deliver the assignments, I have sometimes the feeling that some topics need longer time than other to be digested, and some also need longer time for personal reflection than others where I was missing more opportunities to share and elaborate ideas collaborative. It must be difficult for a teacher to define that, but it would be great to have flexibility on that as well. the experience has been positive at the end, because the teacher has been always there to support us, and the most interesting thing was that it was not expected that we give correct answers, but that we even use mistakes and misunderstandings as opportunities to learn from each other.

One of the best things of this experience is that one can continue the conversations that were initiated in the classroom out of it, and it makes us come up with new open questions or ideas to the next f2f session, i love this part!. I still don’t get exactly what part is “flexible” in my learning, but i like the experience I have had so far. And I have the feeling that many things are just starting points and I’ ll digest them maybe after the class better than during it… i hope the teachers is already aware of that ;)…

Acerca de Vania

explorando la vida!!!
Esta entrada fue publicada en #ONL14, ConnectedCourses. Guarda el enlace permanente.

Una respuesta a Flexible learning… thinking as student

  1. Flexibility is a rather vague term that means different things to different people (like “open”). Too much flexibility easily becomes anarchy and causes confusion and stress whereas a stricly regimented schedule with deadlines can kill curiosity and innovation. Getting the balance right, especially in more open courses and especially at scale in the case of MOOCs requires careful design and planning. Ironically real flexibility has to be carefully planned in advance and scaffolding is needed for those who don’t understand the flexibility.

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