Learning to understand
Blog about learning in higher education
Sharing notes on learning to teach and learning to understand in 2020, when the classrooms are locked and online world replaces the beloved one we used to live in.

Natalia Matilda,
Helsinki Finland
Off the topic.
Online learning or why do I always want to meditate to calm down after Zoom?
During the past months of remote work, we all have noticed that online activities require much more energy than face-to face events. My personal feelings suggest that we can somehow mentally disconnect, refocus temporarily while being in the actual meetings. We can stop listening, or start to hear half-heartedly and reorient our vision to some object, like a view out of the window, a nice person, or look at something with pleasant color, light, material or other qualities that give us positive emotions, or be simply neutral and have a mental break from the activity. Such short “turn-off” could give us a moment of relief and not even recall that happening. While keeping attention on the computer screen and seeing changing visuals accompanied with often irritating digital noises, we get more tired.

So, I decided to collect some ideas on online etiquette and zoom sessions tips:

· Do not move a lot in front of the camera - seeing quickly moving unfocused figures destructs a lot. Turn off your camera if you need to move away of the table.
· The headphones and a good mic are strongly advised, especially if you are a main speaker or a facilitator of the session. (Product idea for zoom or a mic manufacturer – automatic adjustment of sound volumes to a more similar level with other speakers in the session). This especially concerns pre-recording materials and lectures for a wide audience.
· Have a well planned agenda and take care of time-management, avoid open-ended conversations.
· Speak slowly. Just slowly. Also, consider possible poor connection and consequent delay in sound distribution (especially if you are a main speaker).
· This doesn’t not need to be highlighted but, still, remember to turn off the mic when needed. Better skip the session if you can be fully present, otherwise others suffer.

Week 1,11 Oct. 2020
Today, I started to write a blog and I hate myself. Firstly because I'm like other millions of others who are now bloggers, writing to share wisdom no-one interested about but, secondly, because I have not done this earlier. Rejecting to accept the changes in the social context, adapt and accept, and develop competitive advantage living in modern way one stays behind others in the evolution. This issue also concerns the decision on a separation of personal and private life of a professional. Myself I feel uncomfortability so far mixing professional and private content, considering social media a personal space, however, I noticed that those who actively involve work activities and interests in their various social media look more passionate professionals who certainly benefit from it in their careers. We also have to admit that people spend a lot of time browsing social media, which is highly powerful if not the only way to promote oneself and engage clients (from the discussions with design professionals in certain locations) .

From the perspective of a learner or a student, I think the value of teaching nowadays is in accurate filtration of the material that is suggested and shared with learners. We have huge amount of information and limited timeframes, therefore I see the value of a teacher or an institution not in the facilitation of self-study or group work. We don't need institutions, courses and teachers to learn something, but we need them to learn faster and at high quality, and in the community. That is why I see so important pre-selection of methods, framework, deliverables and overall clear organisation. For a personal learning journey it might have been even more valuable to learn from pre-selected teaching resources that are already validated instead of producing more content on the subject together, but the group process is another chance to learn in a faster pace and form a community, in which it is easier to engage.

The introduction of residents and visitors roles in the online environment suggested by D. White was interesting. It is the whole community that create valuable content through interaction and discussion, and the selection of participants is an indicator of quality.

This blogs content is in a way validated by belonging to Open Networked Learning platform and community through interactive communication (feedbacks) and belonging to a high education institution of the author, however that does not legitimate this texts as a valuable source of knowledge. I misunderstood so far, but doesn't seem like someone have time to curate the blogs content in the platform and the overall amount of them decrease the value of the platform as a source for learning. Would be great to have a selection of best writings or practices from the ONL experience, but I also don't think everyone will read 100 blogs looking for the best.

I will use this page also to store resources from the course:
Articles: http://celt.muohio.edu/ject/issue.php?v=25&n=3+and+4
21st Century Skills: Problem Based Learning and the University of the Future by Megan Y. C. A. Kek, Henk Huijser
Savin-Baden, M. (2014). Using problem-based learning: New constellations for the 21st century. Journal on Excel- lence in College Teaching, 25(3&4), 197-219
Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement by David S. White and Alison Le Cornu, University of Oxford
Video by David White: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPOG3iThmRI&feature=youtu.be

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‘Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.’ – Mark Twain
Step by step.
‘Any fool can know. The point is to understand.’ – Albert Einstein
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