Reflection On Topic 2 – Open Learning -Sharing and Openness

Openness for me means sharing my which ever form will support the objective of the sharing.  The amount of openness in my own practice as a facilitator is determined by my motivation for sharing.  What I want to achieve by sharing the information determines how much I want to share and what objective I wish to achieve by sharing the information.

I was lucky to have been introduced to quite early on in my career here at Varsity College and make use of openly licensed sources as far as possible as well as introduce my students to these sources.

Technologies and information resources can allow for the production and delivery of education to happen faster and cheaper.  MOOCs also allows for more people to learn a new skill.  The disadvantage is that the quality of the material cannot be guaranteed.  With technology and course resources that are heavily regulated by copyright, sharing and reaching of students are limited.  To obtain the necessary permissions to share this information can take time but quality can also be managed more easily.

The format of the MOOC needs to be determined by the objectives of the course and the degree of participation required.

The motivation of the facilitator for going open could be an indicator as to which type of model for delivery should be chosen.  If, for example, the facilitator just want to “test the water” or if the belief is that the understanding of a particular concept in his/her course could better be supported by enabling students to engage and collaborate online, an ad-hoc programme could be set up.  If the motivation is to convert his/ her course into a fully fledged course, the facilitator could opt for the ‘fully online programme’ model in which a multidisciplinary team creates a master course divided into segments with each segment presented by different instructors (Hill, 2012).

The course structure should support and promote the principles of inclusive education by first of all building partnerships with people from multiple disciplines so that the needs of a learner can be determined holistically.  These needs should be addressed in the course structure.  Also, do not only think of learners with disabilities but widen your thoughts to also consider any and all learners which might be at risk (for which reason ever) of being excluded from participating in a course (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2009). The technology chosen to support the delivery of the course needs to conform to the universal design principles which means that if all participants cannot access the course and its resources in exactly the same way, equivalent means of access should be provided.  The design of the interface and how the resources are made available should be appealing to all learners and should not stigmatize or segregate learners.

Hill, P. 2012. Online Educational Delivery Models:  A Descriptive View. [Online].  Available at:–a-descriptive-view [Accessed 13 March 2017]

European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. 2009. Key Principles For Promoting Quality in Inclusive Education:  Recommendations for Policy Makers. [Online].  Available at: [Accessed 13 March 2017].

Centre for Excellence in Universal Design. 2014.  The 7 Principles.  [Online].  Available at: [Accessed 13 March 2017].



Reflection on Topic 1 – Online Participation and Digital Literacies

I studied IT, more specifically systems analysis and design.  My tuition revolved around problem solving and adapting.  We were constantly reminded that change is the only constant.  As such, as an individual in the digital age my journey has revolved around adapting and embracing new technologies and creative problem solving.

As an individual, I think in terms of processes: identify a problem/ challenge, identify and research possible solutions using which ever tool I have at my disposal, extract relevant information and solve the problem.  Then…reflect.  Could I have done this differently?  Was my proposed solution effective?  For me digital literacy slotted right in with how I operate in my personal life…it is just the tools that differ.

ONL, for my development means more tools that I can use to solve a problem and it provides me with possible tools to reach more students.

My experiences from ONL so far has been a positive one.  Because of the many perspectives presented and the many different personalities in my group, my perception of the world around me has changed and my point of view has broadened.

For Topic1 my focus was on why people are scared to participate and how to encourage someone to participate in an online course and my research yielded the following:

  • Considering how to encourage someone to engage in something new or participate in a change of some sort starts with understanding ‘ why ‘ people feel apprehensive or resistant to do something in a different way.

The reasons people tend to resist change according to an article by Torben Rick (2011) can be summarized and applied to our scenario as follow:

  • Misunderstanding about the need for change:

From the scenario it is slightly evident that the individual does not really understand why he/she needs to do this.  Why is this so important for the learner to engage in this course?  The learner’s motivation seems ill defined.

  • Fear of the unknown and perceived lack of competence:

There is great anxiety on the part of the individual.  There is a log of unknowns for this individual such as whether his/her group members will be more experienced than him/her.  Is he/she going to be perceived as stupid.  The learner is clearly scared and feels that he/she lacks certain competencies.  The individual is also unclear as to the expectations of the course.

  • Threat to an individual’s comfort zone

Comfort zones protect us, gives us control and helps us to reduce risks and anxiety according to Allan Henry (2013).  Our learner will need to be motivated to push the boundaries of her comfort zone to achieve a level of “Optimal Anxiety”.  Normal levels of anxiety creates steady levels of performance but “Optimal Anxiety” can lead to increased levels of performance and increased productivity for our learner.  The phrase “Optimal Anxiety” was coined and developed by psychologists Rober M. Yearkes and John D. Dodson (,2017).

From the aforementioned it is clear, that the learner needs to clearly define and understand his/her motivation for her need to engage in this online course and participate in this experience.  The learner will also need to realize the benefit of moving outside of his/ her comfort zone.

Henry, A. (2013). The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should). [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Feb. 2017].

Torben Rick. (2011). Top 12 reasons why people resist change – Understanding reactions to change. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Feb. 2017]. (2017). Yerkes-Dodson Law. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Feb. 2017].

Once Upon a Time…but not too long ago..

I became a member of a network of online learners.  The one thing that stood out from many of the conversations was that many, in their conversations with various people used the word ‘apprehensive’.  I understand that word very well and whether it is the space we find ourselves in that makes us feel apprehensive or the unknown….I must admit…I too was feeling apprehensive BUT…I carry the voice of a very wise man inside my head.  This man survived the holocaust and from his work about his experiences leaves a legacy of honorary doctorates and hope that made me choose differently.  I choose to be intrigued by the journey I am to embark on and I choose to enjoy every moment of it.  I choose to grow.

The wise man I will forever salute is Dr. Viktor Frankle who said the following: Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.