I am feeling like a kid in the backseat on a long car ride. I am a veteran teacher, and I feel like I am awakening to an inspirational era in education where we have the power to shift the educational system to a learner centered experience that is engaging, socially connected inquiry based and fun! While we worked out of professor Pickett’s manual in building our courses and are guided by the research gods, I feel more like a mad scientist. I am having so much fun experimenting and trying new things. I have been pushed to figure things out and for that my course is stronger.
I have spent the past two weeks cutting and pasting, linking and embedding. I have been trying to coax my hot mess of a course into a refined piece of educational art that inspires connection and inquiry. Garrison (2007) discusses a shift in social presence in a course from personal to purposeful. “Balancing socio-emotional interaction, building group cohesion and facilitating and modeling respectful critical discourse is essential for productive inquiry (Garrison, 2007, pg. 69).” This is a goal of my course. I want the students taking this course (parents of students with autism) to be in a community where they feel safe and empowered to ask questions. My role is to moderate and guide the course and to facilitate community. I need to balance social, cognitive and teaching presence in my course. The unknown now is my students. What if they aren’t that into my course? What if they don’t find my activities engaging? Is there room to shift once we begin?
While I am aware of this course ending and the development of our courses are almost complete, I feel like this is the beginning. It is a new way of looking at education from a teacher and student perspective. While we have grown and our courses have developed, it will continue to grow and shift over time and with experience. It is a lifelong journey of understanding learning and connection. The explosion of new technologies and increased connections will impact our abilities to be life long learners in our journey through life. So where am I? I am at the beginning of a journey of excitement and discovery.
Garrison, D. R. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: Social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks,11(1), 61-72.