Lessons Learned From A Semester Of Online Learning: The Social Aspect
Written by Annie Thompson
I have been learning from home throughout the last semester on a PGCE PCET course. This in itself has challenges as the activities and group work set would usually be within the classroom to allow all the trainee teachers to get to know each other, and also to demonstrate how activities and tasks could be implemented into our own teaching work and classrooms within further education to assist us with teaching our own students.
The adaptation to online learning and the lecturer’s versatility has proven to be a success, as we have all explored together different ways of engaging students with online learning apps and resources available to us. I have found that whilst being a trainee teacher everyone is willing to help everyone out, everyone supports each other and wants everyone’s teaching journey as a new teacher to be as successful as possible, working together through the circumstances and challenges faced by Covid-19.
I was lucky to have a small number of people on my course so that every lecture had an opportunity for questions and tutorials every week. I feel as though I have been able to speak to my lecturers and gain crucial assistance on my assignments easier than previous years that were face to face. The social aspect has also been enhanced as we created a group chat that was organized within teams for everyone on the course. This has been an amazing way to get to know people, share resources, ask questions to your peers and discuss areas that you feel you need more help in or where to find resources or documents on blackboard, this has been really helpful and a chance to find out others perspectives and experiences of their own teaching journeys.
Another social aspect that has facilitated communication on the course, is that every week a different person leads the starter to the lecture and that a compilation playlist has been made so that every person had a chance to add their favorite song. Therefore every week a starter is led by one of the students and a song is played in the introduction, this engages everyone straight away and because there is an activity that is followed it increases communication and enhances the social aspect of the lecture from the offset. Every lecture has activities that are carried out in break out rooms with randomized groups generated, to keep everyone mixing and contributing as at the end everyone will feedback with their answers and ideas in the main lecture. This allows continuous transfer of knowledge and sharing of view- points and opinions which lead to discussions that enhance everyone’s understanding of the topic and content of the lectures every week.
The lesson I have learned from a semester of online learning is ask questions – most people on your course want to know the answers to whatever you are going to ask. Book a tutorial, online tutorials are much easier to navigate and more accessible. Also, your peers can help you with any quick questions you need answering or where to find anything, and your contribution to discussions is valuable and will further your understanding of the topic. The social aspect of my course has been about making the most of the interactions we do have online and through using and sharing resources and ideas, as everyone is in the same boat and will help each other wherever they can.
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