I was among the lucky ones who had a few months to prepare before starting to teach online. My first thought was how to simply transform online what I was doing in the class with a minimum effort. Even this was not easy. I started searching online for case-studies of courses with similar features as mine. To my great surprise, I could not find any examples (apart from some expensive commercials). I got disappointed for a moment, but I promised to find the tools and set a case-study myself.
While searching, I realized that there were a plethora of tools that would help me not only replicate my course, but offer even more to the students. These tools would not substitute the physical interaction or the community-feeling of the students, but at least they allowed for an interaction that would help communicate the knowledge and create a comfortable environment for the students to learn and grow. Then, the difficult task was to choose which tools to use? Which of them are the most appropriate? And one would ask: what do you mean by appropriate? Then, I needed to set up some metrics for each tool I encountered, in order to choose the right one(s):
- it has the desirable features;
- the students would not have difficulties using it;
- it is simple enough, i.e., it would not make my life miserable as a teacher while using it!
Now, after finishing my course, I reflect and I see what I could have done better, what I can improve, etc. Moreover, I see that I have learned so much by doing and by discussing with my colleagues and my group members in ONL course that (a) in the next course I can improve the “artillery” for the course and communication with the students, and (b) I can provide as open access to everybody! It is not as hard or distant to create an online course, as I would imagine 9 months ago!
Some sources of inspiration:
Boelens, R., De Wever, B., & Voet, M. (2017). Four key challenges to the design of blended learning: A systematic literature review. Educational Research Review, 22, 1-18.