During this journey a teacher pointed out that that “cognitive presence relates to what you talk about now and social presence is related to communities and sense of belonging”. I think this is important to keep in mind, although I thought the topic would only relate to different design tools and how to use them for adequate purposes.
Then I’ve realized that topic 4 is just as much about how to gain presence and confidence in the online environment. A Spanish colleague of mine said once: “What you expect the students to do you have to experience yourself first.” In fact, being a student in this course is a great experience to me, I have seen how easily communication is lost and how hard it is to be concentrated all the time: what the teacher thinks is very clear does not have to be clear on the other end of the line:) And if my well prepared powerpoint presentation is shown as full screen on my computer, this does not imply that the students see the same or see the presentation at all! I have noticed this already (sometimes, when I’ve told students to read out loud a short text from the ppt they start searching for the document before they get into action) but not reflected on the problem. So from now on I have to be aware of what kind of units (phone, computer…) and settings the students use and I have to be clear about what setting would be the best in order to see what is going to be treated during the session (and less worried about how I look in the camera:):)).
When Dr. Marti Cleveland pointed out that we have to be present and share ourselves as persons I did not quite understand what she meant. I have heard it before… but now it is clear to me that being present and personal in an online environment is a different challenge from being the same on campus where all of us perceive the same field. Furthermore, it is important to invite the students to be present, not only by adequate tools but also by underscoring the importance of being part of the activities. An example for this is when I asked them to write a few words (anonymously) about how they perceived my methods and I was surprised to read words like: great sessions, very interesting and different from what I’ve learnt before, engaging…
On the other hand, the lack of being part of an activity was something I experienced last time we met in the PBL group. Since I had forgot the password to Miro I could not participate in the same way as my peers and had to sit there watching what was being done… It was my own fault of course, but now, reflecting upon it, I’ve understood that presence makes learning and teaching meaningful.
This is all for now folks, next time I’ll talk about the articles I’ve read on this topic.