Flexible, Distant, Open

Photo by Andrew Dennes under Creative Commons License

Those three words are going to dominate my life for the next couple of months.

I’m starting the second, optional module of my Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCaP). In order to satisfy my tech-hungry, future-gazing soul, I’ve opted for the Flexible, Distance and Online Learning Module (FDOL). I’m also intrigued by the learning method. It’s an open, online course and we’ll be joined by lots of colleagues from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden as well as colleagues from around the world.

I’ve no idea how the logistics of this will work but it sounds intriguing. It will be interesting to see which technology we’ll decide to use to work together and keep in touch – Google+, hangouts, email?

We’re going to be using Problem Based Learning (PBL) which is another first for me. I’m a little daunted by it, to be honest. I’m wondering if it will create a huge workload because we won’t be given a clear direction by a teacher; we have to find our own way which sounds like we might go down lots of dead ends before finding the right answer. But if we’re working in groups, we should be able to manage this successfully.

But only if the group works well together…. I wonder what we can do right at the start to help the group function well. We have a facilitator to help us when problems arise but I’d rather we avoid problems altogether!! How well do we need to get to know each other? Will we socialise online as well as work together? Or will it be a set of very functional relationships which produces good results for the whole group?

We’re encouraged to use social media during the course. That’s easy for someone like me who lives on social media but I wonder how it might feel for someone who is not used to Twitter etc? Might it feel like an extra challenge to overcome before the learning can start? Might it seem irrelevant? Already, there are colleagues posting first time tweets which is great to see and I hope we can make them feel welcome and help to show them how social media can help their work and development.

The good thing is we’ll all have some knowledge to bring to the virtual table, we’ll all have problems we’ll need some help with. My main hope is that we can support each other and maybe have a little fun.

If you’d like to follow my progress, I shall be working on a portfolio as part of my final assessment. Please feel free to drop by.

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