By Robert Hickey, Lecturer at Technological University Dublin
Having just finished the OpenTeach online course “Professional Development (PD) for Open Online Educators”, it is now time for some reflection. PD has always played an important role in my professional life. Eager to learn and improve what I am doing or not doing is essential in order for me to move forward. It can be difficult to learn in isolation, so any opportunity to interact with other educators is welcomed.
Unlike other similar courses I have undertaken, this one seemed to skip straight to the good bits. From its initial ice breaking exercise (post one word or one image that best describes you), to its role-playing scenario inspired dilemmas to be explored and solved. It is rare that such courses attempt to answer the hard questions as why and how I can engage my students online. However, through the use of very simple short teaching scenarios this seemed to be achieved. It is difficult to understand a situation until you have lived it. So, the idea of using a variety of simple teaching scenarios in order to place yourself into the teacher and or students’ shoes, tries to do exactly this. With the added layers of support and feedback from peers and facilitators this made the whole experience very rewarding, and most importantly useful for anyone who teaches or is about to start teaching online.
“Keep it secret, keep it safe” is what Gandalf said to Frodo Baggins at the start of The Fellowship of the Ring. But this course is too good to keep it secret, so tell everyone you know, because your search for the PD course for online teaching and learning is over, whether you are a novice, intermediate, or advanced practitioner.