Today I received my final grade from my Everything eLearning for the Higher Education Administrator class I took over the course of this summer. It was my first summer class I have ever taken and it was more condensed (eight weeks versus fifteen). I had taken only one online course previously and the extent of its learning tools were discussion boards and quizzes. Everything eLearning was an entirely new challenge.
The course was taught by Sasha Thackaberry (check out here website here). She is an expert in eLearning which she demonstrated throughout the course. Her expertise was crafted into each and every module. We were being taught by a professional about her life’s work. This made the course all the more interesting and I was in for an awakening to online education.
I came into the class thinking it would be similar to the online course I had taken that fall. I’d log in once a week, complete the assignment, submit and go back to doing other things. I was mistaken. If done correctly eLearning is a very intensive process similar to that done in classrooms. I was to engage with the material I was learning in a more constructive fashion than reading it and posting a board. Occasionally we utilized guided note taking, a measure to ensure we were doing the necessary prerequisite work before our weekly projects, but also as a way for Sasha to make sure that we understood the material in the correct way. It is a substitute for the 1:1, face to face interaction one might experience in the classroom.
Weekly we had one or two large assignments, depending on the material. It was extremely difficult for me to get into the swing of learning new material and then immediately demonstrating that I had learned and understood it by applying it in such a short amount of time. However, each assignment was directly connected to that specific weeks’ module which helped me quite a lot. What was most helpful was the fostering of our creativity. Sasha understood that demonstration of knowledge can come from many different places. We were able to submit assignments in a myriad of different ways (occasionally getting extra points for going above and beyond). I learned about creating infographics and using Prezi. Because I was challenged to do something new and offered a reward for it I used new tools to challenge myself.
I could not have completed this course without a friend. Kedron, a graduate student in my program at Kent State University, and I met nearly weekly to work on assignments together and develop each other’s ideas more. Without having this in-person connection-I would not have been successful in this course. It was very challenging and I needed support.
Ultimately, Everything eLearning was a difficult class, but not because the material itself was hard, but because I was learning a lot of new material in a short amount of time and in a completely new format than I was used to. I believe this course enabled me to analyze online education from a completely new perspective. I gained a lot of knowledge that I can now put into practice when I am educating students such as creating infographics, developing easy to understand rubrics, or utilizing the ADDIE model to create a program or course.
Oh, and I also made this AWESOME ePortfolio.
Thanks Sasha- I may have had my moments of stress overload with the class, but I have become a better administrator and educator because of it.