As a Learner
I learned in this course by doing things that were outside of my comfort zone. With some of the assignments, my initial thought was, “Who cares? This is a ridiculous assignment. I’ll just wait until tomorrow to see if tomorrow’s assignment is less absurd than this one.” I told myself that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and complete the assignment even if I thought it was absurd. I learned that good things can come from doing something that makes me uncomfortable.
I am fascinated by the difference between “push” learning and “pull” learning. I come from a traditional learning environment and having the opportunity to “pull” the information I needed to complete a project instead of a set of pre-determined lectures being given, has been an enlightening experience. Being able to find a resource or person from my social networks to learn from has changed the way I view myself as a teacher and as a student.
I was pretty good at finding resources online if I needed to learn something. The game changer for me happened when I added the social aspect to learning. Sometimes I think I’m too stubborn for my own good. I want to do everything on my own. I learned that rarely do people do anything alone, and you generally get a better product with collaboration.
Co-Design of This Course
The most distinguishing factor of this course from other courses is that this course did not take place inside of Canvas. The “location” of the course had multiple facets – DS106, Twitter, and Hypothes.is. Our social learning was not limited to others in the class, rather it was open to any social network or platform.
Sharing with and learning from each other through the use of hypothes.is allowed us to share thoughts and ideas. I particularly enjoyed adding annotations to words that I was not familiar with and providing the definition in the annotation. I found one word that is not in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. We were able to share our views and encourage each other as we learned.
One thing I would do differently in designing this course would be to either eliminate or loosen the restriction of the focal theme. Although I enjoyed working within my theme, there were times when I would want to try something new from the Assignment Bank, but it would not have worked with my theme. I had some great ideas for other projects, but the limitation of my focal theme prevented me from exploring them.
I would add a peer critique requirement, even if it is as simple as having students list two things they like and offer two recommendations. I think getting specific feedback, both positive and negative has great value.
My Understanding of Pedagogy
I used to think of pedagogy in terms of a process – preparation, presentation, association, generalization, and application. After taking this course, my understanding of pedagogy is much less linear. Most of these can be done simultaneously or out of order. Instead of focusing on the learning path, the focus is on the learning result.
During this class, the meaning of “instructor” changed for me. I now think of “instructor” as more of a “facilitator” or “guide.” In this course, we were not all given the same projects to work on. We had our choice of Daily Create projects and we got to select from a pool of Assignment Bank assignments, although we were often given a category to choose from. We got to work on projects that interested us.
Also, reading about moving from “push” to “pull” learning was particularly interesting to me. It’s not as much about what you learn as it is how you learn what you learn. In this case, the instructor is available to provide assistance, if needed, but the learner is responsible for searching for and discovering resources to help them achieve their goals.
I really enjoyed this class. I learned more than I expected to learn and am able to apply it in ways I never thought possible. I have not only become more creative and skilled in creating media, but the process of stretching my creative abilities has helped develop my problem-solving skills. I have been able to apply what I’ve learned in this class in other contexts. It has made me a better teacher, a better student, and a better leader.