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Topic 5: Lessons learnt – future practice

This picture is from a rehabilitation period at ”Vintersol”, Teneriffa. It was the best rehabilitation I’ve experienced, and I have been thinking a lot about why I felt that way. I have been to other places, some in sunny places and some not, that have been much ”flashier” than ”Vintersol”, but not half as good. I have come to the following conclusions:

  • At ”Vintersol” we were treated as adults and got to take charge of our own rehabilitation, while at other places we were treated more like a bunch of disabled people, where others decided which activities we should attend and set up rules for us to follow.
  • At ”Vintersol” everything was kept simple, focus was on us as participants in the different activities rather than on the setting or attendance.
  • People who came to ”Vintersol” came back over and over again, some as on-site-patients and others as outpatients. It was easy to get to know people who had been there before and could help you get about in the beginning.
  • Somehow, it was natural to turn to other participants in the rehab-program, rather than to the leaders all the time.

Transferred to a learning situation that would be:

  • Trust the students, they are there because they want to learn/get a degree, just give them the opportunity to do so!
  • Keep it simple, focus on the students learning and offer activities that feel relevant for them to reach their goals. No need for flashy media or great-looking materials.
  • Invite senior students to assist in different activities.
  • Encourage collaboration between participants in the course.

Much of that is actually the way ONL162 works and I will really try to use some of it in my future courses. I think the hardest part is the first point; to trust the students to do the job. Maybe that is because the financing situation looks as it does in Sweden – we get about half of the money when a student passes, so maybe we don’t dare to let go and trust our students?  If they fail, we fail.

Other important lessons learnt in this course were the parts about digital literacies and how to find and attribute Creative Commons material. I didn’t know those essential rules, and think it is crucial that we teach our students about them!

Also, I believe that I switched my thinking about developed course materials from belonging to me to belonging to all of us, and I feel much more inclined to share!

Thank you for an interesting and deeply developing course!


  1. Developing digital literacies (2014) JISC guide. Available here
  2. Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand (2012) Creative Commons guide
  3. Gerestrand, A. (2016) Webinar for ONL162




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Topic 3: Learning in Communities

Photo: CC0 Public Domain

Bees are a natural example of the efficiency of collaboration, and their learning also takes place in a collaborative manner! The beekeepers role is to provide the best conditions for the bees to build their communities, collect and store pollen and nectar, keep diseases out and care for their new-borns.

The role of the teacher is pretty much the same – to provide the best conditions for the students collaborative learning process by planning the course carefully. The teacher should facilitate the collaboration process by dividing the class into small groups, help to establish a trusting atmosphere, be clear about what is expected, and provide relevant group assignments and feed-back.

My experiences during this topic were mainly the following:

Tweet chats are not for me – I felt like everybody was ”shouting” and nobody listening. I will give it a second chance this week, but my expectations are low.

I am unhappy with KTH:s switch to Canvas as our new learning platform, as I find it hard to control the system and to publish material that I worked very hard to produce in our earlier system. I also tried to use Canvas together with Kaltura (KTH Play) to record a video presentation, which went fine until I wanted to share the presentation on our google drive and the presentation was lost, only the video of me was left. Lots of work for nothing :-(.

Enough moaning: I also had some very nice experiences of the group work, sharing the lead with Stefano. Also, I got a new idea from Pia Palms blog, namely to let the students produce material for Wikipedia as a group assignment – absolutely brilliant I think! Further, I enjoyed the presentations from the other pbl-groups, with great ideas for new tools to use. Especially, I like the RealtimeBoard – a collaborative whiteboard tool that pbl-group 3 used for their presentation – I think I will find good use for that!

Finally, I very much appreciated Martha Cleveland-Innes webinar about learning in online communities. Her discussion about teaching presence got me thinking in new ways about my own blended courses.

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Topic 2: Open Learning – Sharing and Openness

The design of teaching hasn’t changed much even though lectures are being recorded and made accessible on the internet. Lectures are recorded in smaller chunks, but apart from that the main style of teaching is as it has been for a very long time. The basic model of design needs to change if we want to keep up with the demands of a digital age and what the new technologies have to offer. [1]

Learning management systems can be used in ways that break away from the traditional classroom model. I feel ready to try a new approach, using the flipped-classroom-model with pre-recorded interactive lectures with the ScalableLearning model and using the time in class for more advanced discussions and answering questions on a higher level. [2, 3, 4]

I like the idea of competency-based learning, were the teacher identifies specific competencies or skills within the subject. Learners can then work at their own pace, independent of starting point, and choose to  develop just the competencies or skills they feel they need, or can combine a whole set of competencies into a full course, or even a full education. [1]

While working with this topic, I have played around a bit with Canvas, which is going to be the new LMS of KTH, and so far I like it! I find it supporting a more modern way of learning than our present LMS, with ways to collaborate and share.

Moreover, I realised that we need to teach our students about the rules for copying images and other work from the internet, Creative Commons and what the CC-licensings mean. [4] I talked to my coworkers about it and they definitely agree.

I still find it a bit difficult to find my way in this course, but it is getting easier and more fun as the course proceeds! I really enjoy the openness and getting to share the thoughts and ideas of other participants and groups – it’s amazing how differently our brains work when we try to understand the intention of each assignment: obvious when one sees the diversity between different groups presentations on the same topic. 🙂

Finally, there are so many new things I would rather try, than spending time on writing blogposts… 😉


  1. Bates, T. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning
  2. Black-Schaffer, D. (2013) Flipping the Classroom in an Introductory IT Course
  3. Gerestrand, A. (2016) Webinar for ONL162
  4. ScalableLearning (2016) Welcome – ScalableLearning
  5. Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand (2012) Creative Commons guide