EDT 630 has been a fantastic learning experience through online discussion. Based on my experience of taking two online classes through UAB, online discussion groups have become my most succesful learning tool. I have experienced very few obstacles in participating in online discussion. I do recognize that there is a learning curve associated with becoming familiar with Blackboard's functions and capabalities. The most difficult part of participating in this type of learning forum is familiarizing one's self with the technology associated with the online class.
Online discussion has many advantages over face to face discussions. Face to face discussions are limited by time constraints. Online discussions can take place anytime during a day, multiple times a day, to several times a week. In addition, everyone has a chance to participate in online discussions. In fact, students are usually required to participate several times throughout the course. Students attending lecture based classrooms may never participate in a discussion and are limited in the amount of input they can achieve.
Students truly learn from one another in online discussions. I learned much more from my online classmates than I expected. We shared all kinds of learning activities that have met with success in our actual classrooms. For the classroom teacher, this sharing of knowledge, techniques, and teaching strategies is invaluable. In addition, we helped each other throughout this course to create more significant projects, conquer technical problems, and offer critical advice.
I felt completely at ease when critiquing the work of my peers. I believe that all members of the class understood the value of peer review and welcomed any suggestions made by their classmates. Our critiques sparked creativity, cleaned up minor errors, and prompted us to try a little harder. I learned to think outside of my box and to see things from different perspectives. I think that we were able to critique and discuss without offending each other because we were respectful and appreciative of comments and suggestions. I found that it was easy to critique someone else's work by pointing out the good qualities of the work, as well as those that might be improved upon.
In conclusion, this class was successful because I learned a great deal both from my instructor, as well as my peers. I will look forward to taking what I have learned and using it frequently in my classroom. In the end, I believe that if my students benefit from what I learn in continuing my education, I am succeeding both as a teacher and as a student. I would not hesitate to take another online class, based on my experiences with this class.