Upon reading The Internet and Higher Thinking by Garrison, Anderson and Archer, I reflected on the collaborative constructivist perspectives mentioned and that teaching and learning transactions should incorporate a learner’s personal sphere into consideration for meaningful knowledge. That was something that I knew instinctively but had never read, written or spoke about in all of my years teaching and that cognition and cognitive development ought not to be divided from social circumstance (Garrison et al., 2000). “The educational process has two sides, one psychological and one social and that neither can be subordinated to the other or neglected without evil results following”. (Dewey 1959). From my own personal limited experiences with online learning many years ago, I realized that my limited success in class was due to the missing elements that Garrison mentioned above as being essential to learning online. I do believe it was due to the lack of social presence mentioned by Garrison’s epistemologies.
During the pandemic shift online, I often doubted my approaches to teaching online. The idea that I had to try to recreate my class online without the help of MOOC or praxis was something that really had me struggling. After watching Cormier in the The Participatory Open, some of the fears started to move toward confidence and understanding. “The community is the curriculum. Why don’t you just tell us what to learn?” (Cormier 2019). Connection and reflection are very important and especially relevant for my students during this challenging time in the planet’s history. Right now many of my English as a second language students are alone in their homes, spread out all over the world and this class is their only way to connect to their learning community. Taking all of what I have read I have tried to add extra components to facilitate reflection, communication and collaboration. I am surprised at how much I have been able to apply what I am learning in my classes on a daily basis.
“Reaching beyond transmission of information and establishing a collaborative community of inquiry is essential if students are to make any sense of the often avalanche of information” (Garrison 2000).
Dewey, J. (1897). My pedagogic creed. The School Journal, 56(3), 77–80.
Garrison, R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in text based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105.
Stewart, B., Phipps, L., & Cormier, D. (2019, April 10). The Participatory open: Can we build a Pro-Social, Pro-Societal web? [Video]. You Tube. https://oer19.oerconf.org/sessions/the-participatory-open-can-we-build-a-pro-social-pro-societal-web-o-127/