thoughts at the end of a course

Here’s a slightly modified version of the some end-of-course thoughts that I shared with the students I’ve been teaching in the Masters Program (Learning and Technology) at the end of their first online course (Program Planning)

It’s been great to be part of this group and to watch ideas evolve against the context of a technology-enhanced learning environment that seems to change from day to day.

I found it easy to be (as the saying goes) “guides on the side” because you, the students, have been a great, self-managing and independent group. You have brought many diverse skills to our online environment and you’ve done a wonderful job of sharing.

And as the weeks unfolded you addressed (in a very spirited manner) topics that were barely considered when I first taught this course, just a few years ago. Social media and informal learning are examples of concepts that are very relevant to learners in your field but weren’t considered all that much even as recently as 2008, which, by the way, was a significant year as it marked the election of Barack Obama and was a bit of an awakening for many people about the role of online communication strategies as they related to world-changing decisions.

And this got me thinking about how those my students from earlier years are faring as time as passed. My hope is for all my students to leave a course I have taught with a few new ‘learning-how-to-learn’ skills. I know that in this changing environment, I can’t ‘teach’ the content that’s needed for the future, not even the near future! But if the self-sufficiency approach has been instilled in my students, I know they will be okay.

And this brings me to another point about generating self-sufficiency and modelling the real world. I may have sometimes seemed a bit harsh in dealing with deadlines, but there is a reality (and this includes the reality of writing funding proposals, which might be familiar to many of you) about professional work and that is that missed deadlines can be deal-breakers. Missing a proposal deadline can mean your proposal won’t be read and your project might not be funded. Consider this experience as something to prepare you for professional behaviour in the future when it comes to having work prepared on time.

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