EDT 6040: No hope for the "A," but an excellent learning experience, anyway

The close of another CUChicago course (EDT 6040 Visual Literacy in the Classroom by Richard Richter) in the “hybrid” Educational Technology Masters program affords me another opportunity to reflect on what my course of study–now 15 hours of course credit—has shown me about myself as an online, distance learner. Like much else in my life these days, it has disclosed areas where my advancing age is apparent–where the step or two I have lost in speed has been compensated for with a (dare I say it?) sort of sagacity in my approach to things.

Regular readers of thewikiness may recall my excitement (here and here, and–on EDT 6040–here, for instance) to be at  CUChicago getting “the learning of the future” for the first time–the kind of learning my grandchildren may someday be doing. Much of the difference in the “hybrid” comes down to time and space: you remove the setting of the learning from the physical place and temporal period to the online and ongoing, and you change a lot.  The “place” of the learning is chosen by the individual learner. Besides required discussions postings to the class’  Learning Management System ( Blackboard at CUChicago), the learner is free to choose the specific settings. From cafes and beaches, I have done class work, early and late in the day. Amazing! Along with all that freedom comes a higher degree of responsibility for the learner. Gone is the temporally and spatially structured learning space, and so too the undeniable conformative pressure of the group, the “herd” sense that drives much human productivity.

A typical learning module has a set of provocative readings–in Richter’s course approximately 50 pages per week–and required writing assignments and discussions. The course includes applications of the learning in various assignments.  Each week’s module is set to allow submissions for one week. Late submissions are accepted, but penalized. As in previous classes, the readings and activities engaged me. But for a variety of reasons, I was unable in this course to get my work done early or on time. So I cannot hope for an “A,” but would rate it an “excellent” learning experience nonetheless.EDT 6040 inspired me to reflect on and improve my current practice–hardly a claim that every  CUChicago course could make.

It also provoked reflection on myself, perhaps the highest knowledge. Our first session had us creating and sharing a logo for our selves, an act of visual, symbolic communication that did more to build social capital in the class than any other single activity of the cohort, in my opinion. Richter immediately had his class enacting the sort of literacy that would be their collective subject for the next eight weeks.  What a great opening night idea!

As you see in my logo, music and happy growing humans frame it, but the central image is the American Bison, which I sketched from one I saw at the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo recently.  only be moving slow.  

And so the deadlines came and went, and I was sometimes late with assignments and also late to  the banquets that are our “hybrid” class discussions. I felt bad about this and vow not to repeat it in future courses. However, coming late to the scene of the learning has its own advantages. I learned that I enjoy learning from the archived thoughtful interchange of a community of learners. Such a setting for learning is conducive to the American Bison-learner, who slowly grazes and ruminates over large and rich fields of pasture.

Depending on the severity of the grade deductions Professor Richter imposes, I may be able to return to this ruminant-learning approach in another “hybrid” class, more knowledgeable of the benefits of going slower with the learning has had for me.

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