Getting All Oriented

Posted by on Jun 14, 2009


*This is a reflection post for my JHU program.  If you’d rather pass on this one and catch up with me in the future, I’ll understand completely.

As part of the JHU-ISTE leadership program, we are required to take a two week online orientation course.  The purpose of the course is to get us acclimated and prepared to be successful with the format of an online learning environment.  Overall, I think the course was a nice way to get people comfortable with the layout and for me, it was a chance to remember what it’s like to be a student in a structured system again.  I’ve grown rather comfortable with writing what I want to write and discussing things I want to discuss, and those things change a bit when you go back into a classroom, be it online or of a more traditional ilk.

In order to complete the orientation, I have to answer the following questions.

Now that you have a good sense of the types of online activities and the rhythms of an active participant, what steps will you take to be successful in this program?

I will say that being part of an online learning program takes great discipline.  Even when there are deadlines posted for work to be completed, there still remains a much more fluid feeling to the completion of the work.  If time isn’t allocated throughout the week to keep up on the reading, discussion forums, formal writing pieces, assessments, etc., the task of completing that which needs to be completed becomes nearly overwhelming.  For myself, I know I must dedicate a specific set of time blocks each week in which I will complete my work.

How will you be a contributing member of your team? How will team activities impact your time management?

This portion of the course will prove to be both rewarding and challenging as working with others is an excellent opportunity for personal growth while remaining a source of challenge for time management.  If the other members of the team have a schedule that doesn’t coincide one with the others, it may prove difficult to accomplish the learning goals for a specific project.  I will strive to remain flexible and always willing to share my thoughts and ideas with the group.

What have you learned about your communication style? How will this impact you as an online learner?

While I absolutely love to write on most occasions, using something like an online classroom certainly makes me miss certain aspects of face to face communication.  I believe as we continue to advance the way we engage learning online, there will eventually come a day when video conferencing or visual chatting will become more prevalent.  There is simply something about hearing a person’s voice and seeing their nonverbal communications that writing can’t replicate.  I will look for opportunities in this program to utilize, or perhaps even introduce where appropriate, such an experience.

Where do you still need additional support?

At this point, I can only pray for the stamina to make it through this next year.  I’m looking forward to the learning, and for those of you who actually read this post, I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with all of you.

Thanks to retro traveler for the use of the Flickr image.

1 Comment

  1. Ryan
    June 15, 2009

    I appreciate your honest open comments about online experiences. As an instructor who teaches in both scenarios I agree that face-to-face communication simply can’t be replaced in some instances. I hope you find the series of courses both rewarding and challenging. You will have plenty of chances to write and write and write.


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