Saturday, June 13, 2009

Prescription for Success!

The prompt for this week's assignment are the following four 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?
  • How will you be a contributing member of your team? How will team activities impact your time management?
  • What have you learned about your communication style? How will this impact you as an online learner?
  • Where do you still need additional support?

In order to be successful in this program as an active participant, I will set a goal to log in to ELC at least 4 times a week and read the updated items. I will be supportive of my cohort by posting in the general discussion forum regulary and reading all of the assigned readings so that I can contribute relevant topics to the discussions.

I plan on being a contributing member of my team by posting positive, supportive comments in the group forum. I will allow each member to take their turn in leading the discussions. I will meet the time deadlines set up by the facilitators so as not to prevent my group from being successful in the requirements. I know from past experiences, the busier I am, the more productive I tend to be. However, it is not automatic! I use Google calendar to coordinate all of my responabilites along with my assignments and integrate these dates into my personal family calendar so that my family can be supportive by not overplanning. I sync my Google calendar with my Outlook calendar so that it is available offline. I recently started to use the task manager within Google calendar to keep up with the individual course activities to ensure completion of each item, thus not letting my group down by not participating in a group activity.

Upon completion of the style inventory, I discovered that I was tied between sensor and thinker. After reading the descriptions of each, I think I align with the thinker the most. I tend to place a high value on logic and can frequently be heard saying, "but that is not RIGHT!" and I have been known to be a bit cautious :-) Once we understand our style characteristics, it makes it a bit easier to identity pitfalls in our interactions with others who have different style characteristics. If we know what others are expecting or what makes them motivated, we can provide that in order to get good results.

I need the most assistance in maintaining my focus to continually reflect on my actions. Also, opportunities to interact with peers is highly motivational for me, thus the chat, discussion threads and collaboratively created documents work well for me! Overall, this was a great week. The chat session was successful, my blog is up and running, the discussion thread seems to have no shortage of interactions and the cohort has already set up a time to meet for dinner at NECC. It looks like this is a going to be a highly motivated group.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Online Learning

This week was the start of yet another adventure in my quest for learning. I began a two-week orientation in preparation for a Graduate Certificate in Administration & Supervision from Johns Hopkins University. This particular program is unique in that it is a cohort of people who advance through the course together through a web-based format building on a research-based approach to online learning. JHU has partnered with ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) and this course will focus on instructional technology.

The JHU School of Education gives this description of the program:
This initiative is designed to prepare aspiring administrators and supervisors with effective strategies and tools to deal with issues regarding instructional technology while ensuring that all students, including students with diverse learning needs, succeed.
The Electronic Learning Community (ELC) provides for ongoing collaboration for both participants and instructors. While using the ELC is new to me, I feel very comfortable with online learning and feel secure in adapting my knowledge of other web-based formats to the ELC. While I am still learning the unique features of the ELC, the scavenger hunt activity did a great job at directing me around the various features that the ELC has to offer students.

My main concerns about online learning center around my ability to remain focused, complete assignments without being in a face-to-face situation and organizing my time to be able to multi-task my daily job, home life and each course's requirements. I anticipate that being part of a cohort of individuals that I will get to meet in person in a few weeks will encourage me to be active in the discussions and will provide incentive for me to remain on target. I respond well to personal interaction and it appears that this course provides for that kind of learner.