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Final thoughts

Thank you very much for participating and contributing! I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts. Being one of my hopes and expectations I learned a lot, not only about the content related aspects, but also about myself. I have gone through your thoughts about the course and what you have gained from this. I have also collected all your recommendations, interesting ideas, thoughts and critics regarding the course, its structure and content. I appreciate a lot the feedback you have provided and your honesty. It is a valuable material for me to reflect on and think about.

You all know that one can’t make everybody happy and satisified. People are different. Some like digging into literature, some prefer hands-on activities, some expect clear deadlines, others would appreciate if the schedule is flexible, etc. Such a variety can be seen also in your final thougths. Sounds like an impossible task to make everybody happy :).

However, not denying there is always room for improvements I would like to use an opportunity here to respond to some of the comments and critics.

“New interactive environments” can be understood in very different ways. In this course we chose a slightly different perspective in comparison to what one may think and imagine in the first place. Looking at the curriculum of IMKE, there are many courses, which deal with interactions from TV, art, audio-video etc. point of view. So, the attempt of this course was to go more on a meta-level, to look around ourselves and explore, how we can analyse and describe our activities and (inter)actions, how we can create our own interactions and new environments with the available technology.

First of all, human development is a complicated matter and can’t be entirely defined and prestructured. As we don’t believe in traditional rigid instructional design, our starting point was very much different. The idea was to go through some literature together, think about some concepts, analyse and reflect on them, but also learn from each other. This is the point of having Weblogs and diffuse the roles of a teacher and learners in order to work as peers. A facilitator doesn’t have to be the only one who provides feedback. Having so many participants in the course makes it even impossible and also unneccessary to comment every single post by the facilitators. Perhaps, as it was recommended by some of you, it might make more sense to have less, but bigger tasks, however, this would kill the nature of this course, i.e. to create a constant flow of thinking and contributions.

Providing only a very general framework allowed us to focus on concepts, questions and aspects derived from your thoughts. The idea was to let the participants address the progress and direction of the course, to create a student-driven content. However, I was quite surprised to see how tied the participants were with the typical patterns of actions and schedules. It seems that students are so much used to have a clear structure and framework in learning situations, which is created and put on a table by someone else. I have to admit that the attempt to bring in changes, restructure some of the traditional behaviors and take a bit of different approach pretty much failed. A good lesson for the facilitators!

I agree that this course lacked of online synchronous discussions and forums. As we were asked to keep it as an online course, face-to-face meetings should have been replaced with audio-video meetings and online chats. I have experienced that finding a common time for this is an extremely challenging task, especially if people are working and can’t spend their time on learning tasks every day.

I was unpleasantly surprised to see that some of you still referred to the old course description, in which it was promised to talk about GPS, TV, etc. and I totally understand your disappointment if we didn’t even mention them. According to my knoweldge a new course description was available on the IMKE website and in the TLU course repository.

Regarding the comment of being too much into educational technology and learning new trends in e-education refers to a flawed understanding of this term. This course had very little to do with educational technology. However, I have to admit that Centre for Educational Technology plays a huge role in IMKE as most of the courses are facilitated by the researchers from this centre or by their colleagues from abroad. And the role of the Centre for Eduational Technology is to bring in innovations in education, not only in terms of technology, but also pedagogical models and approaches.

Finally I would like to mention that I was not and I am not going to be concerned about students’ motivation. We as adult learners decide ourselves what we want, how much we want to gain and take away from our experiences. As a facilitator I expect that adult learners should control and be able to take responsibilities for their studies…

Saying all this, it was an interesting and valuable experience, which would have not been possible without your contributions :). Thank you!

Good luck with your studies and defending your master thesis!

Merry Christmas!

Terje

NB! I am going to send a separate e-mail to all of you regarding the pass/fail information.

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