#crit101 – Week 6

Originally published here.

In the final week of #crit 101 we were required to engage in the process of self-reflection to assess our progress/learning throughout the course. This requires entering “into a meta-cognitive process, looking inwardly at the way you approached your learning”.  It was suggested that we re-visit Dweck’s fixed and growth mindsets and consider the following questions:
What challenges did you face and how did you respond to them?
What obstacles got in your way and how did you get around them?
How much effort did you put into the course and what did you get out of it?
What feedback (criticism) did you receive and how did you take it?
What success did other participants have and how did that make you feel?
Were your responses positive or negative? Did you see challenges as opportunities to be embraced or did you avoid them thinking if you did not try then no one could say that you failed? Did you look at your feedback and see it as advice that could help you move forwards or did you choose to ignore it?

Challengesresponses and obstacles:
The main challenge I faced was finding time to engage fully with the course. Initially I was able to find the required time as I was on annual leave. However when my work year started time became more restricted. I really hit the wall in about week four of the program and found it impossible to read and write as required. I was encouraged to try and regain my footing in the week five activity which was another team effort. 

The other difficulty for me was the different time zones of the participants. Although it was possible to catch-up with the Twitter comments and work asynchronously, I think the time zones impacted on my ability to engage synchronously - which would have been beneficial when working on the team activities. Luckily one of the team members was persistent and made a huge effort to co-ordinate a meeting (thanks Pascal!). The Google Hangouts session   arranged by Pascal for the week five activity enabled us to have instant interaction and discussion about what path to take. This was much less onerous than trying to add comments and edit work that others had started. It was unfortunate that only two of the four team members were able to attend the session, but I really enjoyed the interaction and I believe our final piece of work was all the more easily created because of the meeting. In future when I am participating in any on-line courses, I will make much earlier connections as it absolutely enhanced the experience I had here.

Other successes:
Early in the course I read a couple of the other blogs, but did not really engage with them until the last week when they were collated in the course blog. I was pleased to see that other participants had some very interesting insights that James highlighted. Honestly though, I found it quite time-consuming to read every contribution. I was more interested in the resources that were supplied and elected to spend my limited time in accessing and reading them. I will not be able to offer any further responses to the blog contributions. I struggled to complete this post - and even then it is more than a week late.

I really appreciate that James was gracious enough to allow me to participate and observe how he lead this course. I enjoyed re-visiting some of the theories that were offered in the resources. Being a participant has made me aware of just how much reflective practice I engage in - both independently and collaboratively. I appreciated the readings and on occasion have been inspired by articles where I have taken a concept and applied it to my own teaching practice.

The structure of the course was clearly and logically arranged. The Twitter feed was collated and made it easy to catch up with the 'conversation'. The same sort of set-up would have been good for the blogs too (not sure that it was set up that way James - may have missed it if it was). All of the resources/readings were very informative and I commend James for the great job he did on researching and assembling them. My personal 'highlight' was engaging with some of the new technologies I was introduced to through the course. I have been 'encouraging' my colleagues to try some of them too! 

James your efforts in running this course alongside your normal activities is monumental - the feedback was always timely and constructive. I am sure your dedication and insight have inspired many students over the years, and engendered a love of learning. If your work in this course is any indication, you are what I would call a great teacher!! (or if you prefer, educator!!)