Unit 1 – Activity 3 Virtual Symposium Critical Academic Reflective Blog Post
As I reflect on this week of the virtual symposium and unit 1 of LRNT 521, I was confronted with feelings of exhilaration and apprehension. Excitement for all the novel things that I am learning and the fascinating people I am meeting. There is the spirit of potential that I felt listening to Dave Cormier’s presentation: Intentional Messiness of Online Communities. Cormier reflected “Open learning can get messy. You do get the learning all over you”(Cormier, 2017, 26:56). Diluting the last three weeks I have read papers and watched videos that inspired me. One hour of planned study turned into a day. I am trying to savour all these moments not just because doing a masters has been a dream of mine for many years but also because I know these two years will be over in a blink. Although excited, I have experienced nervousness for all the things I do not know. I was especially comforted by Elizabeth Childs’ words of “[y]ou have to trust the process.” So I will trust.
One of the many surprising ideas that I encountered during the symposium, its related links and readings was that open learning goes by many names and that open learning can mean accessibility. Accessibility for people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to learning because of time, money or distance. As I was overwhelmed by the flurry of acronyms that I was not familiar with regarding open learning, I googled them and tried to memorize them all. I was better able to understand the terms, deepen my understanding, and connect to all my past experiences, and create exciting questions.. Watching Amanda Coolidge’s presentation I was struck when she proclaimed that she had never finished learning and that she sought to do better in relationships and “to be in a community as a steward of this land and use my power of leadership and collaborate to not just be aware but also be an action [sic] of reciprocity” (Coolidge, 2021, 5:33). These words seem to touch on many questions of our day. How exciting!
Especially intriguing to me was the idea of risk and of learning in the open, in an ever increasingly connected world. These were themes explored in many of the presentations and highlighted in Catherine Cronin’s presentation. Cronin’s presentation Choosing Open resonated with me. Quoting Martin Weller she stated “It has never been more risky to operate in the open. It has never been more vital” (Weller, 2016, 5:38). Understanding the problem of students’ confusion between formal and informal spaces is a theme that I would like to better understand. In addition I wonder what it would look like through the different cultural lenses of my students as they perceive formal and informal learning. Open educational practices with regard to digital networking practices, digital teaching practices and personal values are something that are constantly evolving and should be continually renegotiated over time. Moving from less openness to more openness on a continuum is not a precondition and that as teachers, it is acceptable to change how open we choose to be and that it is not static. From day one of the MALAT program, I have been able to apply what I have learned from RRU in my classes in collaboration with my colleagues. I anticipate the next few weeks as they promise to be even more fulgent.
Coolidge, A., (April 12th 2021). Open Education: what it is; what it does and its amazing impact!. Blackboard Collaborate. http://bit.ly/CoolidgeVS2021
Cormier, D., (April 18th 2017). The Intentional Messiness of Online Communities. Blackboard Collaborate. https://malat-coursesite.royalroads.ca/lrnt521/dave-cormier-virtual-symposium-presentation/
Cronin, K., (April 20th 2017). Open Culture, open education, open questions. Blackboard Collaborate.https://malat-coursesite.royalroads.ca/lrnt521/catherine-cronin-choosing-open/