Taking this “course” has been a tremendous experience. I write “course” because from early on I never saw the meetings, the webinars, or the assignments as part of my regular work load. Instead, the ONL201 provided a welcoming break from the sometimes-hectic academic life and the challenging time that we all, in our own ways, have to deal with right now.
And yes, I have also learned several things in the ONL201: from how to properly use Zoom, how to work with new and innovative online learning tools such as MindMeister, and mastered––well, at least learned more about––the proper online learning terminology. But while the course has given me lots of new insights, it has also done something that likely will have a greater lasting impact: made me realise that I can meet new people and make friends from all around the world without actually leaving home.
I have always valued the personal connection and in-person meeting in the class room. I still do. But working in the wonderful PBL13 group, sharing experiences, and laughing together have made me realize that personal connections and friendships can be formed from Sweden to Singapore (as long as, in this case, there is a German Professor willing to share his Zoom-room).
The most important lesson that I take from ONL201 is therefore not the new online tools teaching methods that I will use in my teaching, but a belief that the personal relations, mutual understandings, and openness to other people’s views that I value so highly in the campus-classroom can be formed in the zoom-classroom.
For this I thank all participants in the ONL201 in general, and the PBL13 crew in particular, for making this a wonderful experience. I look forward to seeing you all in the future; perhaps, when the pandemic and all its tragedy has blown over, even without having to borrow a German Professors Zoom-room.