Blog 5: Topic 5

Open Networked Learning: Lessons Learnt

I found this Star Wars meme when I searched for memes that would relate to my experience of the course Open Networked Learning. We did not use it in our group project when our task was to create a meme that described our joint experience. It was a good decision, but I thought that I could comment on the ”Stay on target” meme in my last blog.

My general experience of this course was very positive, but there were moments when I felt irritation or stress because I could not completely fit the contents and schedule of the course together. This meme best relates to our online group discussions which were not always clearly headed towards a goal before they were supposed to end. Or, perhaps they were, but I did not understand it.

Throughout the course, I pondered on this tension between staying on target within the schedule and the branching off of our discussions into various directions. I realized that it would have been better to simply relax since our group worked well as a group. In other words, we collaborated well. There was a natural dynamic to it, so that we did not need a nervous person to repeat ”Stay on target”. Sooner or later we always landed on the target.

To put it differently, humans do not work exactly like space ships. It is ironic that I need to remind myself of this although I work in the humanities. I even apply this in my own teaching and let students get carried away if they become enthusiastic, so I should allow it to happen also when I myself learn something new. To control good group chemistry too much could probably even lead into destroying it.

My friend once told me that good relationships need not constantly be analyzed. You can simply be thankful and enjoy them. A key word here is trust. Sometimes the most important thing is to trust. Thank you group 8!

8 reaktioner till “Blog 5: Topic 5

  1. I know that feeling! I also felt frustrated at times when I felt that we just discussed things that wasn’t really ‘on target’, but in the end it was the result of these discussions that we put down in our presentations, so we were definitely ‘on target’. So I agree with you, that one of the lessons learnt is just to trust the process!

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  2. Yes! I like your meme. I think this happened to all the ONL groups at some point 🙂 Many interesting discussions that may not always relate to the topic completely. However, much experience gained in the process and also diplomacy skills put to the test.

    Gilla

  3. Yes Heli I agree but it was the maze of off the point discussions that we were able to sift out relevant aspects as well. Being all over the place in early stages of collaboration is normal until the group gets their own identity and I think we did in the end. All’s well that ends well. Thank you.

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  4. Hi Heli,

    I think we all brought different expectations and norms to this international group work situation, and it was interesting to see some glimpses of that variation during our discussions and our rotating group leadership, and to read your reflection on it here. I agree that a laissez-faire approach to team organization requires trust—and this can be a source of conflict in a diverse team if some members simply prefer to have a highly structured activity, while others are more disposed to going off on open-ended tangents. As a fan of tangents myself, I am inclined to think that sharing anecdotes that seem to be off-topic can serve an important trust-building function in their own right—although I imagine that not everyone would see this kind of personal trust as overlapping with the kind of professional trust that you were discussing?

    John

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  5. Thank you John for your comments! In my view, these things overlap a great deal, and it is part of a teacher, facilitator or chairperson’s professional skills to ensure it works. For example, I tell my students about my personal life to help them interact with me, but I need to know where to draw the line. As to our seminars, it was a different dynamics but someone always had to bring us back to the task at hand.

    Gilla

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