My tryst with online learning started in the summer of 2012. I stumbled upon this link: http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/course/ps/course.html got interested & enrolled for it. The six class affair happened at the right time for me. Summer holidays were on; students and teachers were on holidays. Besides I was going on holiday only after a fortnight. I could not have asked for a better time - an impetus to plunge headlong into the course. Ahoy, Power Search! (I see that there is an advanced course open now – and yes, you guessed it right - I am hitting the ‘take the course’ button now! :)
I took all the lessons during the fortnight and took the final assessment from home though I was busy planning and preparing for my daughter’s wedding. And the result was most gratifying. It empowered me with a handle full of tips and tricks like these:
- Colour filtering
- Choosing effective search words
- Word order matters
- Use of these in searching: site; file type [pdf; doc; txt]; symbols like –, +; and words like define, OR etc.
- Search by image
- Shortcuts like date/time range
- Verifying authenticity of information
Oh, boy, the best was yet to come! On 25th July I got this – a multi coloured one - my certificate of completion. Though the scores were not mentioned in the certificate, the course staff sent me the feedback: Mid-class assessment score: 100% Post-class assessment score: 74%. It was truly a happy moment.
The end of 2012 saw me participating along with a dear friend Ms. Sheela Anand in a Mentoring Programme titled Developing our Mentoring Skills offered by Electronic Village Online (EVO) http://evosessions.pbworks.com. Taking the course with a friend is a very enriching experience because one can engage in conversations and dialogues about various aspects of the programme as well as enriching perspectives for the assignments. the programme gave us insight into these:
- use various synchronous & asynchronous web tools to communicate with colleagues worldwide,
- interact through e-mail, text chat, voice chat, among others,
- reflect on and define our mentoring skills through exchange with peers,
- discuss possibilities of implementing the skills in our communities of practice.
Though the programme did not give me any certificate of participation, it gave me a lot more by making me reflect into my own practice. I have mentored in the past and continue to do it even now. Therefore it impressed upon me that as a Mentor I am only a support / guide / listener. I must never don the roles of a saviour, parent, lawyer, banker, social worker or even employer. I can only listen and gently assist in encouraging the mentee to find solutions on his/her own. This was very insightful as in introspection I remember I have taken roles of a problem solver and an advisor while mentoring!
This summer of 2013 saw me take up a MOOC – Massive Open Online Course. Online courses available on the world wide web are rapidly changing the face of education and learning. Many famous Universities have open up their portals for such online course which are free. Besides there are signature tracks available for those who are looking for credits for their higher studies. The MOOC that I participated in was Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence conducted by none other that Prof. Richard E Boyatzis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Boyatzis from the Departments of Organizational Behaviour, Psychology, and Cognitive Science and H.R. Horvitz Chair of Family Business, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. The Coursera site on the instructor says, https://www.coursera.org/instructor/richardboyatzis “Using his Intentional Change Theory (ICT) and complexity theory, he continues to research sustained, desired change at all levels of human endeavour from individuals, teams, organizations, communities, countries and global change.” He is also worth remembering that he is an authority on the concepts of resonance in leadership and emotional contagion. This was a challenging course and as I write this I await the last week of July for the results of my course. Right now I am doing a Course in Psychology from www.udacity.com.
That is not all. Now I am enrolled for at least half a dozen online courses offered by Coursera and Udacity, in the course of the year. It includes two courses offered by the University of Edinburgh on Critical Thinking in Global Challenges and E-learning and Digital Cultures respectively. I have thus become an an addict. An addict for a right cause – of taking in a share of the exponentially growing knowledge that is available around me. And the best thing is I can proceed at my pace.
Why don’t you explore MOOCs? I am sure you will also turn to be a fan of these delightful affairs.