I woke up this morning to hear that a friend had passed away. It was not the conventional phone call or even an e-mail that brought me this tragic news, it was a tweet. The twitter post was from a former professor who had lead us in an online learning course during the summer of 2013. The tweet was to all of my former classmates and was a simple condolence and remembrance of our classmate. It started me thinking about all of the conversations and debates that we have had in our courses about the ability to connect with content, the instructor and to each other in an online course. Our department and program is all about curriculum development and instructional technology. We have discussed presence in instruction and developing a community of inquiry both face to face and online. We have prepared our courses in a variety of mediums and then break them apart to understand best practice and how our students can dig deeper and really master content of the course and personal goals. We look for ways to complete our connections so that we are able to maximize our educational experience and develop relationships that extend beyond our classrooms and into our life long work.
My reflection this morning is that ETAP 640 was such an incredible journey in what every course should be to its students. It facilitated a community of learners that have stayed connected through school and beyond. We are a community of resources, professionals and friends. The ability to form these deep relationships online is a powerful tool. The sorrow that I feel today from the loss of a true friend magnifies the successes of my online learning experience. My classmates laughter floats through my speakers as I reflect on our collaboration and exploration of online education. My reflection leads me to gratitude. I am grateful to all of my online adventures, for friends who have helped me understand varying perspectives, and to dig deeper into who I am and sharpen my goals. I am grateful for my online community and all of the joys and emotions it has brought me over the past year. You all are a part of who I am and this continuing journey.