Sunday, July 2, 2017

Beyond the Confines of Space: Reflecting on Week 1

Week 1 is coming to a close and for those of us residing in U.S., we're gearing up for a few weekdays off for the 4th of July holiday. As I typed that sentence, I got a Google notification that my mom, who lives about six hours away from me, just +1'd my last blog post. (Thanks, Mom!) And I feel like that sums up this Week 1 experience. There can be so much positivity, and growth, and education surrounding Web 2.0 when the tools are used correctly.

Yes, I'm irritatingly optimistic most of the time, but seriously, what a week! In just a few days, I've thought about networking and learning in ways that I had never even considered. I've spent time in a Twitter Chat about learning, I've read an incredible book that I probably wouldn't have picked up before, and I've engaged with my classmates from all over the world. What is remarkable is that we have this opportunity to experience this together, and for the very first time, I see that online learning can be even more connected that f2f classes.

Although I spend a great deal of my time thinking about ways to improve online teaching, I, deep down, never believed that students could connect with each other in the online environment in the same way they could in a classroom. Now, I'll argue with the best of them that learning is just as valuable and effective, but I've always backed down a bit when it came to the ability to truly share classroom experiences in the online world.

But in just a week, this class has shown me that it can actually be better, more sincere. Maybe it's because not only are we going through this process together, but we have also been given the opportunity to explore options and find what is most appealing to us on a personal level. There's an instant connection that is formed when you realize a person you've never met shares your same interests and concerns.

It's been an insightful week in #eme6414, and I look forward to the next five!

"The new technologies allow people to meet each other beyond the confines of space and of their own culture, creating in this way an entirely new work of potential friendships."

Pope Benedict XVI, as cited in Networked: The New Social Operating System (p. 127)

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