I understand that part of the appeal of learning online is the flexibility to work it into an adult’s full and hectic schedule. However, I also know that deadlines work well for me. What I need to do is blend these two ideas together to create a good working plan to get me through this month.
I started out on track this past week. That lasted until Monday afternoon when the power went out at my house. It’s now Sunday night, and I feel as though I’m still trying to make up for lost time. Since my first week online didn’t go as well as I had hoped, I went back and reviewed the Advice for Online Learners (again) from the second night of class.
1. Make a schedule. Yes, I know. Number 2 needs to be stick to the schedule!
2. Collaboration is key. Check! As one of my teammates noted in her “lessons learned” comment, our team really did collaborate well on the PB&J project in terms of each of us contributing to the whole project instead of focusing on just one area. Interesting, though, that we’ve decided to use the “divide and conquer” approach with the larger project, each taking a piece of the model to focus our efforts. Maybe because it’s a bigger overall pie, and taking it in smaller pieces makes more sense? I’m sure we’ll talk about it as a team when we hang out on Google+.
3. Don’t be perfect. Okay, this one is going to be hard for me. I think I understand this from the connectivist perspective that you cannot possibly know everything, and sometimes you need to rely on others and can’t always have the last say or the last review.
4. Demonstrate leadership and teamwork. I feel our team did a great job on this one, esp. the teamwork. In terms of leadership, it feels as though we’re sharing that role within our team as the need arises.
5. Be flexible and positive. Check and check (with the exception of previously disclosed frustrations with Prezi). The power outages forced us to practice these traits.
6. Proactively communicate. Again, check. Our team kept in close touch with each other during the week. And I think as a class, we have all communicated via the “lessons learned” comments that we’re experiencing some stress during this transition to online. There is some comfort in knowing I’m not the only one; however, I still need to find the solution that works for me.
7. Enjoy yourself. I’m a geek. I love school. I got this one covered. So.. why am I still feeling so stressed?
I think for me it really goes back to Number 1. I need to take this wonderfully flexible offering and cram it into a schedule, even if that mean creating interim deadlines (and finding a way to enforce them on myself).
It’s similar to how I learned to cook. When I first started getting into cooking, I only cooked from recipes, and I followed those recipes down to the letter. As I got more comfortable in the kitchen and more confident in my cooking skills, I started making variations to recipes. I even started making up some of my own dishes! So maybe a similar approach could work with my studies. Get comfortable working within a structured schedule and then start with small deviations. Maybe even try something really different. I’ll get the hang of this. Probably right about the time we switch back to face-to-face classes!