Monday, 19 March 2012

The successful online student

 Am I a successful online learner?
Sometimes. Today I am not as I am not really focussed when I am writing this. Last week I was not as good as I have been tired because of having to manage illness at home and also dealing with some challenges in setting an online assessment for my students. 
Sharing experience - I probably share too much - say too much, which is odd, I am in some ways an extroverted introvert. Some would say I love the sound of my own voice except I am very self-conscious. It took me years to cope with the stress of lectures and get into performing. Online there is less need for performance. In twitter I am more the watcher and less the exhibitionist, I follow more people than follow me. So I do not think it is easy to say that people share consistently. We are all a bit compartmentalised about what we share and when and with whom and in what environment. Online makes you more likely to share some things and less likely/able to share others.
Communication through writing - I hate formal writing. I always prefer conversational, almost spoken writing. So I do not think that there is a huge loss between writing and speaking. In Skype it feels like a conversation except we can all type at once, whereas we cannot all speak at once or nobody would understand anything.
Self motivation and self-discipline, time management - These are the most important factors. Motivation is not really a problem on this course as I am passionate about e-learning, or any way we can improve learning and make it more widely accessible. Self-discipline is a problem. With online courses as a tutor I have seen them rush off with a great excitement and interest before they lose momentum and drift towards assessment. I am the same you have to be more of a consistent plodder that a flash in the pan to be very successful. It is better to be Eeyore than Tigger. Moving from 12 hours to 1 hour then back to 6 hours then doing none is less successful than being consistent at four hours as if you give the course uneven time you get uneven results.
Accepting criticism - We are academics we never accept criticism. All the referees and grant reviewers in the world are idiots. They never have the big world view we have. Ignorance is wide-spread amongst those who are critical of our views. This is because we are in the field of reputation, we sell our reputations and anything that undermines our credibility is a threat. I am exaggerating but regardless of needing a thick skin to cope with reviewers we all have some soft spots.
Thinking it through - I showed above that I don't as I read criticism instead of critical thinking. So I am not always good. I know that I am biased about some things but we all have personal beliefs. What kind of constructivist, behaviourist, cognitivist are you?
Feel that e-learning can work - I have seen examples of the saboteur both online and face-to-face. I said in another post that I did team building with someone who did not believe in the approach we were taking to team building on that course. In that case it was a feminist sociologist who had an axe to grind. She was an expert in the feminist view of science and she made me want to burn The Female Eunuch much as women burnt their bra's in the 60s. Anyway after some cooling down time I can talk about it now. For me this is the most frustrating participant on a course. They are the most likely people to get me to say something inappropriate and Anglo-Saxon. Quite simply I do not want them there as they spread destruction through the course.

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