I am in denial that the semester is over. It can’t be December already!
I faced several challenges this semester – academically and personally.
Academically = Wow what a learning curve! The first 6 weeks of this program were met with excitement, ambition and pure terror. Having been out of school 10 years and never taken an exclusively online course before, there was a LOT to learn that had nothing to do with my courses. Balancing a full time work schedule, learning to navigate the online realm of education, trying to remember if I ever felt this tired before – I’m not going to lie, there was a moment of pure panic where I questioned what I had gotten myself into and whether how to pay back the loan money for the tuition. And then I took a deep breath. Once I got into a schedule/rhythm, everything got easier and I could enjoy the ride. Which has been eye opening, mind blowing, inspiring, and a billion other adjectives. I can’t wait to keep going.
Personally = I lost my younger cousin in November. I think it had to be one of the hardest things I’ve gone through, to lose someone so young…so loved. Two weeks later the doctors tell us that my mother’s heart valve replacement that was performed 2 years ago didn’t work and we’ll have to go through it all again, but this time at the Mayo Clinic. It’s hard going through the holidays wondering if it’s the last one with my momma.
So while the first month was hard and overwhelming because of the learning curve and all the new things to learn, the last month has been very hard to concentrate on getting things done. Running behind constantly behind because the funeral was a week away from school and trying to get my head back in the game as it were — it’s been a journey that’s for sure.
Overcoming the academic challenges was a strategy game for me. For a while I was trying to figure out how I should be thinking and how I should approach this brand new educational content. I was trying to figure out how educational technologist would think and handle certain challenges…and that failed and added to my panic about whether I could make it through this course. Then I realized that it’s not about how others would handle this — it’s about I would. I started using my creative side to develop lesson plans that I always wanted to teach (or some that I have). I started asking asking how I, being a user that’s not familiar with this process, would respond and what I would need. Once I started trusting myself, the semester became exciting and adventurous.
Overcoming the personal challenges were a little more difficult and I am honestly not sure if I did overcome anything. However, I did find that working on projects for school helped.
My biggest shortcoming, in my own opinion, this semester was being fully participatory in discussions and feedback to my other classmates. With everything going on, I was trying so hard to get the projects completed and the reading done and feedback and peer reviews didn’t get as much of a a voice as I would have liked. I did try very hard to give as much feedback as possible, but I wanted it to more.
I am not sure if I can really tell you what artifact I liked the most this year. All of them were different and I LOVED that. Each was an experience through a different mode of exploration and I think that was my favorite thing. I got to use my imagination. I got to choose. I got to explore. All of my artifacts showcase that in someway.
I’m not sure if there is a specific action that I can I do to implement this into my work. However, I am thinking about things in a different way. I am recognizing aspects and themes as I progress the curriculum. So I guess the one thing I can now bring to my work environment is me. I am the advocate to push our training and learning to better incorporate structure and accessibility.
I would like to say before I end this post that throughout this very challenging semester, no matter how overwhelmed I became or how difficult some things were to understand, I LIKED what I was doing. More over, I am passionate about all the educational advancements and changes that are coming and I am happy that I feel that way again. There was a distinct moment, sitting down to hours of homework on night, that I felt my muscles stretch and expand in my mind – I hadn’t realized that it had been so long since I had truly pushed myself to learn new things. And it felt amazing. Thanks for a great start to an exciting field of study!