While I like to think of myself as a leader and hold a leadership role in my professional life, I have to admit that I have not been quick to take on that responsibility in my ADL learning community. There are excuses I could make: 2 jobs, teenager at home, etc… but the fact is that taking on this program was intimidating to me, and when I’m intimidated I retreat and observe.
Don’t misunderstand. I completed my coursework in a timely fashion and participated in zoom meetings and discussion boards regularly. My core group maintained a Google slide deck to curate resources and share our work outside of the Blackboard platform as well as a GroupMe for real time communication. I contributed, but did I go above and beyond? I don’t believe so.
As far as the key contributions are concerned, I satisfied them all. After the first zoom, I posted an ‘advertisement’ in the student lounge for group members. My friend and colleague Robin Ballard took it from there and built our group to include Danielle Pyle, LIndsay Hoerig-Cavanagh, Lindsey Wallace, Aliscia Drummond, Maria Rodman, and Avery Nihill. I believe it was Danielle who created the GroupMe for communication purposes, and I used it daily to ask questions and provide feedback to my group members. Danielle also started a Google slide deck where we all collaborated on gathering resources and sharing our work with each other before posting it on Blackboard. Our group also hosted a zoom after the class zooms on Tuesday nights to debrief and reflect on our learning.
Where I fell short is within the supporting contributions. While I participate and lead within my core group, I can’t honestly say that I’ve done that for the whole class. My most meaningful interactions with my classmates have been in breakout rooms, since I’m much more comfortable in a small group. My Achilles heel has been the discussion boards. Ugh! Coming back to academic writing after 30 years has not been easy, and I rarely posted anything with adequate depth or breadth, much less sources cited. I feel I will do better in my future classes now that the rust has been knocked off, the wd-40 applied, and I have a better handle of how to navigate a discussion board!
One area where I feel I did excel is the combination of the 5305 and 5303 coursework by embracing the notion of self-directed learning. Dr. Harapnuik really practices what he preaches and wants us to learn by doing. I’m not as much of a reader as Dr. H., but I am a dog with a bone when it comes to problem solving. And figuring out the jigsaw puzzle of these courses was definitely a challenge that I could not pass up! E-portfolios focus on making our learning meaningful to us as individuals and providing a place for us to display that learning. But creating the e-portfolio in itself was a learning process that required innovative thinking on my part. As I worked through the weekly videos and articles in 5305, I found myself applying that new knowledge to my e-portfolio. For example, after watching ‘Picking Your Line’ I stopped getting caught up on so many small details, or rocks in my path, of the site and began focusing on the end result instead. After watching Joi Ito’s ‘Become a Now-ist’ I realized I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel alone, I could instead reach out and use others’ expertise to help me. And finally, after watching ‘The Power of Words’ I stopped stressing about the quantity of stuff on my page and focused on the quality and visual impact.
I’d like to say I was a total rockstar and earned a 100% for my contributions to the class, but the fact of the matter is that I feel quite like the mom’s old station wagon in the original “Karate Kid” movie…I needed a rolling start before I could “Pop it!” and fire on all cylinders.