Start with online. Add structure. Stir.

01 Jul

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!


Posted by on July 1, 2012 in ADLT 640


5 responses to “Start with online. Add structure. Stir.

  1. Wally Wallace

    July 2, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Great blog, Joanne. I really enjoyed reading about how your group divided the tasks and worked together. You really nailed the collaboration piece. Especially considering the challenges of the power outages – you all did a fantastic job! Thanks for reviewing advice to online learners – great reminders to us all. Okay, let’s take a deep breath and dive into week two of this portion of the course! Godspeed to us all.

  2. bwatwood

    July 2, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Nice reflection! There is nothing wrong with self-directed schedules within the criteria of eLearning. As you have noticed, I have minimal schedules….but they are there weekly. This gives you the flexibility to establish your own internal schedules to meet these larger deadlines.

    And while I like recipes, I don’t think I ever stick to them. For Sunday’s Egg Benedicts, I grilled some tomato slices to place between the Canadian Bacon and the egg…

    • J Even

      July 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      Forget the semester-end potluck in class. We’re all coming your house for Sunday brunch!

  3. Lindsey

    July 3, 2012 at 10:06 am

    This advice provides good perspective, especially now that we are in the online part of the class. I have struggled with #1 because (gulp, don’t shoot me for saying this) I don’t have a consistent routine since I’m off for the summer. One would think this would make scheduling easier but I’ve found it is difficult because there is little structure and no time constraints to try to fit things in. Instead, I’m spending much more time online and next thing I know, hours have gone by and there are other things I still want to accomplish with the day..that and #3, I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to work which also absorbs time.

    It is interesting because we are essentially working opposite our norms and trying to make sense of it… the more traditional way is to start small and build out. Yet here everything is wide open and we seek to contain to make it feasible and comfortable to fit our lives. It seems this is one of the major ways online learning is different from a more traditional approach. Structure has become the sandpaper. We are being challenged to unlearn the old way of set structure, and learn within the new wave of cosmic chaos.

  4. sara

    July 5, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I agree with you that making a schedule and then keeping to it is so difficult. I struggle with that alot!! Life has its ways of interfering with the best laid out plans. For me personally, I also have three little people that have their own ideas about when they should nap 🙂

    Lindsey I really liked your thoughts on how we are starting open and working on containing it! It is so very true. I think that is what has been hardest for me, b/c this isn’t how I am used to academics working. It’s been a fun ride but has had it’s challenges.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: