This has been a whirlwind week for me with extra demands at work, along with my husband being in the hospital. I managed most things very well, but did less on the class discussions this week. I had plenty of time to read, and reflect about this weeks readings. I found the topics very meaningful, as creating an inviting online environment within our learning management system is my goal.
This leads into my topic of fostering community in the online class to encourage and facilitate peer collaborative learning. My goal in the online courses I’m teaching is to foster and encourage critical thinking skills especially as applied to the field of diagnostic medical sonography. Critical reasoning, learning , understanding and culture will be included in my topic of fostering community.
It’s Sunday late evening. This week has been completely crazy for me at work. The weekend flew by and unfortunately I had to table much of this week’s course work until the weekend. I know I’ve been pretty invisible to my group mates this week and hopefully I’ve not caused them too much concern. Once I saw the reference to their being no real group work this week (sometime during the middle of the week) I breathed a sigh of relief. I was fortunate that we did not have a major assignment due this week because I honestly don’t know how else I would have squeezed a few more minutes into my work week.
I am happy to report that the extremely busy week I’ve had is rare, and I took action to ensure this would not happen again the rest of our semester.
I was very grateful to read the comments left by our instructor on our blogs this weekend, and personally I was very happy to read her comments to my post, in support of having a lot of projects and encouraging me that I can do it. Honestly, it was just what I needed to hear, and the sociological focus of this week’s topics made me feel blessed to have an instructor who truly connects with her students — thank you!
I’ve found the topics in this course to be of great interest to me personally. I love the idea of building learning communities and social aspects of learning. When I signed up for this course and read the course overview, I wasn’t too excited about the class. However, once we got access to this course and I saw the materials we had access to, I knew this would quickly become a favorite of mine!
Now… onto the topic of a midterm. I have many interests, the difficult part will be fine-tuning and choosing just one! I really have spent a lot of time exploring social learning tools – how others successfully use social networking tools to promote community building in the classroom because I feel that too often the e-learning environment does not support or use social tools to the benefits of the students. I know many faculty opting to use Facebook or Ning network. I’d like to encourage the use of social tools in my community college courses but my distance learning program frowns upon it and feels like we would be violating privacy rights of our students and/or not have access to be able to remove content that is inappropriate. I feel that this is an outdated risk — our data is all over the Internet and if the group is setup with privacy controls, there shouldn’t be much to worry about. So, that is an idea, or focusing on e-learning environments that do have a social networking aspect to it, but that’s part of my ultimate research project for this program, so I’ll probably skip that. Anyway, that’s where I am at with things. I’ll keep thinking…