ADL Part 1 of 5
Although it has only been eight weeks, I can rightfully say I have done more in these two courses than I did in the whole eighteen months of my teaching program. By “have done”, I do not mean physical work. Both courses have allowed me to broaden my thinking in ways that I didn't even know I could. I will be the first to admit, it has not been easy. I struggled the first six weeks of these courses. This kind of deep thinking required a mindset change that I didn’t know I could do. I have changed as a learner and therefore as a person entirely.
It was hard for me to narrow down exactly who was a part of my core group because we are so open to anyone who wanted to be a part of it. Pedro, Bianca, Lindsey and Wayne are also doing the accelerated program, unless something has changed, so I am listing them as my core group members because we started together and have encouraged one another to finish together. I think it is worth listing many of my other classmates because they have contributed to my time in these courses as well. Jarrett, Colby, Robin, Maria, Kara, and Aliscia have all also helped me develop into the learner I am becoming. I contributed and helped build my core collaboration group weekly, and sometimes daily. Whenever I was asked to give feedforward, I did so. I did my best to answer questions if someone was unsure or provided reassurance and encouragement when needed.
While I do feel I provided peer feedback/feedforward, I do not feel it was enough nor as productive as I thought it was. I do not feel that I met this part of the criteria of the key contributions. I provided support and encouragement, but I do not think I provided my peers beneficial feedback that would make them better learners. I know there were many posts and articles describing ways to do this effectively, but I was very hesitant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I know how much hard work I put into these courses, and I did not want anyone to think I didn’t see theirs. There are correct and meaningful ways to go about doing this, and going forward I need to get more comfortable doing that.
I took notes on many of the revisions my collaboration group suggested. I still have this list and continuously add on to it and mark things off. I used to envision the day that I would be able to mark everything off, and it dawned on me one morning that it will never end, but that’s okay! I reached out to an old classmate of mine who I knew research papers came second nature to her. She gave various suggestions on how to make my literature review better. At the moment, I do not know what my grade is for that assignment, but I guarantee it would have been much worse had I not found the strength to ask for help when I knew I needed it. She shared tips with me that I am now able to use for other papers as well.
I quickly realized how vital the readings, videos and supporting resources were. The first day of class was the only time I did not feel nor come prepared to discuss anything. I refused to ever feel that way again. The course, unknowingly, allowed me to better my time management skills. I would listen to the videos when I was getting ready for work and could usually knock out the videos in one morning. The readings were and still sometimes are a struggle. I’ve learned to work smarter not harder. I have a Kindle and put on text-to-speech and let it read it to me. Once I have finished the videos, this is what I put on next throughout the mornings before work. I wish I would have purchased Audible instead, but I made the Kindle leap first and for financial reasons, I will make this work for the meantime. I also quickly learned that supporting resources were mandatory. Not by Dr. H’s standards, but for my own. The more I knew the better equipped I was/am.
With the help of my collaboration group, I made sure to meet the deadlines that the courses indicated. Other than the Winter Storm, I made this possible. I feel the effort I made to reach out to Dr. H and my group to explain that I would be missing that day expresses the feeling I had for making sure I stayed up to date with everything and how important both courses were to me.
Allowing me to be a part of the accelerated ADL program has taught me more than just getting a grade. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to only have one course at a time. I think I would be a much more comfortable person, but productivity wise, I truly believe I am doing more than I ever would have, had I taken them separately. I see the connections, instantly. I am able to complete one project, import it into my ePortfolio and immediately see the “final” result. I say final very loosely because there is never actually a final product. I also feel that completing these courses together has allowed me to dive deeper in my thinking and learning. Again, with one course, I’m going to be honest and say I would’ve drug a lot of the assignments out because I would have had the time. Being a part of the accelerated program has required me to continuously think “how will this connect to that?” I can’t say, “I’ll worry about that later.” It requires me to both stop and think, but also make that thinking linger into my every day thought process because I’m looking to see how and where I can make the connections from the courses to my real life experiences.
At first, I did not give myself credit for taking leadership responsibility and my group and the course, but after reflecting, I changed my mind and I feel that I did. No, I was not THE leader of the group, but these courses have taught me that no one should ever be the sole leader. We contributed as a group and took each part that we all gave into a whole. I took leadership in creating an easy access book list and a quick look course line up. Although this information is listed in Dr. H’s website, I saw that many of my groups were having trouble locating and organizing it, so I made the effort to create a spreadsheet and hoped it would save someone else some time. I did the same for the resources we used for our literature review.. There is a spreadsheet that I tried to separate by topic to help us all.
I contributed to my learning and the learning of my colleagues in all of the activities because I attended all of the course meetings that were not required and I also attended our study group meetings that were purely for the benefit of myself and my group.
I made every effort to post my discussions in a timely manner. My goal was always to post them within that week. I felt more comfortable doing it after we had our course and study group meetings so I could put any extra information I had gathered through those two encounters. I did not give myself any points for using research to support my thinking. I voluntarily made the decision not to put research in my thinking because I was trying to be as authentic as possible, but I see now why it was needed and purposeful. I realize now that although I do my own thinking my ideas stem from somewhere and that needs to be acknowledged. I made additional postings to both Blackboard and my blogs. In regards to our discussions, I made every effort to respond to someone who replied to me. I made my initial comments to others, but when I saw that they would reply, I wanted to keep the conversation going and hear what they had to say. I also wanted to put more on my blog about what and how I feel about life in general. I would still like to get better at this, but I feel for this being my first round of courses, I think that I did a decent job of it.