Welcome to my EDCI-339 “Distributed and Open Learning” digital portfolio. This portfolio is meant to show the learning and the growth I have experienced throughout the course. Although an extremely tight 4 week timeline, I have learned alot about these the concepts we’ve covered and I hope I am able to share some of my newfound knowledge with you. Please click on the links below to find out more. Thank you for taking the time to view my digital portfolio.
I chose to revise my first blog post. Here is a link “Topic #1 response” I believe I have learned a lot throughout the course and I feel I am able to re-examine what I wrote in the beginning of this course after having discussed in great detail the information and concepts we have looked at since the beginning of July.
After having completed the learning outlined in the EDCI-339 course, I have come to the decision that for me, personally and for my teaching practice, a “blended” learning environment is the model I will adopt in the future. Having done some additional research, I have found the following definition of blended learning, “Blended learning is an educational program that combines online digital media with traditional classroom teaching methods. Therefore, blended learning is a broader, more comprehensive approach that includes eLearning and might also incorporate elements of micro-learning. (https://www.pdagroup.net/) Furthermore, Vaughan et al. 2013) describe blended learning as an organic selection of carefully and thoughtfully selected in person and online resources. In addition, Norberg et al. (2011) go on to state that, “Blended and online learning generates considerable optimism because it increases access for students to education, responding to their lifestyles through flexible learning opportunities.” The statement that online learning created optimism with learners as they can access it on their own time resonated with me. We are faced with a new normal where online learning must become part of an educator’s pedagogical considerations
However, Norberg t al. (2011) do bring up a good point when they bring up the point that “blended learning” can be perceived as a problematic term. Which teaching methods are blended and in what proportion are they blended? I don’t think the proportion of blended teaching methods matters as much as the blend itself. In fact, Major, (2015) states that good pedagogy should always be at the forefront when designing a course. My belief is that as long as the teacher has the best interests of their students in mind when developing their curriculum, a blended learning environments provides them with a larger resource base.
While I understand the importance and specific advantages to both the open and distributed learning models, for me personally, as an educator neither of those platforms lends itself well to the students in my classroom. They both have pros and cons attached to their very description. For instance, distributed learning offers a safe, restricted access, closed door program that enables students to interact with their instructor as well as with the other members of their group. One draw back of this system is that the students do not have the ability to share their learning outside of the group. Conversely, an open learning platform allows the information to be shared with anyone who wishes to view it and has access to it. While the flexibility of accessing the information therein is admirable, there is a question around the safety and the security of those choosing to participate in such a learning environment.
All that said, I found a very interesting visual that sums up the make-up of a pedagogically sound blended learning environment. The article on the PDA Group outlines the 7 most important methods of delivering instruction and how the students responded positively to their experience in the blended learning classroom.
In conclusion, I have enjoyed learning more about the open and distributed learning environments and all they have to offer. I understand that in the right educational context, either would be a great option for both teaching and learning however, for my purposes, and in my educational context, I believe the blended learning model best suits my needs.
– Claire Howell Major. (2015). Teaching Online – A Guide to Theory, Research, and Practice. Retrieved from
– Morris, S. M., & Stommel, J. (2018). An urgency of teachers: The work of critical digital pedagogy. Hybrid Pedagogy.
– Vaughan, N. D., Garrison, D. R., & Cleveland-Innes, M. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. AU Press. [Chapter 1]
- Link to our POD project
- Final ReflectionAs quickly as this course has flown by, I am left with a few realizations that are very important to me; passing along information to my students using the internet whether it be through an open or distributed format as well as the idea of “synchronous” and “asynchronous” timelines.First, let me clarify that I do make use of the internet in my classroom but up to now, it has been used in a very “sterile or clinical” manner. I have asked my students to find information, create something and share it with me. Save for the brief “quarantine” time where I was teaching from home, I had not shared my lessons through the use of an open or distributed learning platform. Because I teach middle school, I inherently chose to use a more “distributed” model of teaching as I invited the students (and their guardians) into my classroom. Only they could have access to the information being shared. I believe that this is a much safer way to protect the privacy issues that may present themselves using an online platform. While I understand the benefits of the “open” learning where anyone is able to access the information, I think its use as a platform is more suitable to an older audience such as adult education or otherwise. Another consideration of Open Learning is the concept of the “Knowledge Commons” I her book, “A guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students”, DeRosa writes that “using tools for learning that enable students to shape the public knowledge commons of which they are a part.” This was a very important factor for me I have always believed that if a student feels attached to the content they are learning, they are able to acheive a much deeper understanding of the material. Wickey and Hilton (2018) also brought forth the point I referred to in my Topic #3 post around the 5 r’s. “Retaining, reusing, revising, remixing and redistributing” all allow for a much deeper and more personal experience for the students.
The second piece of information I found most impactful was the concept of synchronous and asynchronous timelines. In 2011, Murphy et al. describe Asynchronous online teaching (AOT) and Synchronous online teaching (SOT) as “AOT involves students working with online curricular materials on their own time, under the guidance of a teacher. Whereas in the SOT classroom are located in a remote location, and connected by videoconferencing, audio conferencing or both. SOT is ‘more like classroom instruction’ however, the participants are temporally dependent.” Just as there are pros and cons to the open versus distributed models of teaching, so are there when comparing synchronous and asynchronous learning environments. For the average middles school learner, there is no doubt that the synchronous model will allow them to achieve a higher level of success. SOT allows the students to interact with their teacher as well as complete the work on their own time. This is an important factor when considering which learning environment is best. The asynchronous platform demands a lot of self-motivation and self-control on the part of each individual student. If the learner is not able to demonstrate an appropriate level of regulation then success will be hard to come by.
In conclusion, while reflecting on a 4 week course in 200 words is a daunting task, I am extremely pleased with the information I was able to collect and share with my learning pod during the course. Since I didn’t have a base of knowledge in the “Distributed an Open Learning” methods, my understanding of the concept has improved dramatically. While I understand I have much to learn, I am looking forward to putting into practice some of the concepts covered in EDCI-339.
DeRosa, Robin “A Guide to making Open Textbooks with Students”
Murphy, E., Rodríguez-Manzanares, M. & Barbour, M. (2011) “Asynchronous and synchronous online teaching”, British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 42 No 4
Wiley, D. & Hilton, J. (2018). Defining OER-enabled Pedagogy. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 19(4).
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