We discovered today that Theme Three in terms of productivity is a "Wednesday" in the PBL context. We have reached the middle of the module and are exhausted from both the climb but also the general experience of life. There is a lot more to read and personally we all felt the strain of balancing life, work and online learning. Our emotional presence was thus affected by a number of factors.
These are my thoughts on Emotional Presence:
Two points that I would like to highlight under the heading “expectation” - expectation of self and expectation of others, others being the learning community with whom one is engaged and also the facilitator(s).
Expectations of self and Self-discovery:
Finding information/explanation for one’s current practice is reassuring. It reinforces what one already knows but did not perhaps have the vocabulary to express. “Learning as a social becoming” may be seen as a realisation of capacities for “greatness”, for being able to make a contribution to the "state of art", ability to leave evidence of or input towards the "artefact."
Discovering one’s own shortcomings within the group context, whether in practice or temperament, is often revealed when expectations (realistic or unrealistic) are not met by others. Personality-”fissures” that are revealed when one “meets oneself” or an aspect of oneself - relative to the community of learning. Discovering the limitations of one’s knowledge and a willingness for ask for assistance is also transformative. Being willing to discover through others - peer learning. The transformative nature of education (Brindly et al ) and online learning in particular not only transform the group as collaborators in knowledge creation but also transform the individual.
Expectation of others
Because online learning is both social and individual, (Brindly et al) frustrations and fissures that are emerge or revealed within the group when others are perceived as “not pulling their weight” (Capdeferro and Romero 2012) often reveals one’s own levels of tolerance and again requires investigation of one’s self - am I being realistic? Who are I in this space? Who am I becoming? Was I unaware of these traits within me? “Learning as social becoming” could actually reinforce prejudices of others. What meanings are we attaching to the perceived dysfunctionality of the group?
Swan (2001) also looked at the factors that affect student satisfaction and states the quality of the online interaction not only depends on the participants but also the construction of the course. In other words, responsibility for a good or bad learning experience is shared with the course designers and facilitators. The types of engagements and types of assessments as designed or at least hoped for by the designers and facilitators determine not only if the module objectives can be met but also whether or not critical skills are developed.
Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M. & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3)
Swan, K. (2001). Virtual interaction: Design factors affecting students’ satisfaction and perceived learning in asynchronous online courses. Distance Education, 22(2), 306-331.
Capdeferro, N. & Romero, M. (2012). Are online learners frustrated with collaborative learning experiences?. The International review of research in open and distance learning, 13(2), 26-44