Freedom of time – a personal insight
When I first thought about enrolling in school again, I had a very vivid notion that it would take a considerable amount of time and that it would not be easy to coordinate everything – my professional life and my family life – As I’m a teacher in a highschool, my timetable is always changing and the subjects I’m teaching are very demanding in preparation time because I’ve got to do a lot of research to prepare the lessons. Lately I’ve been teaching some interesting subjects but they are not my speciality. The internet has been a wonderful source of information, but still that information has to be transformed and worked on and all that is time consuming. Furthermore, we have to attend meetings of all kinds, most of which we only know in short notice. On top of all my timetable is not very organized. Lessons are scattered throughout the day and night. To coordinate all this takes an extra effort and every year is different and I’ve got to adjust my rhythms and organize the time accordingly.
Having all this in mind, I thought the best choice was an online course. One that allowed flexibility of time, pace and could also be a challenge.
When I came across this course, I thought to myself that it could be a good thing and I enrolled.
I had already had an experience in distant learning when I took a 50 hour course in Using dictionaries in language teaching. Though this was a different experience. The model of the course was not online and it required that I took an exam at the Open University in Lisbon. But that was OK.
I could study and revise for the exam in my own time, and exchange ideas and talk with another colleague at school. In fact we were both in the same situation – couldn’t enroll in face to face courses because we didn’t have time, we were both teaching in the night shift and most of the formation course are at night too. So, we decided to try this course. It was a nice experience and worked well. We worked own our own and when we met we discussed our doubts. And we both did ok in the final exam.
I think freedom of time and space along with pace are a plus in distance learning.
It worked very well for me.
Still when this course started it was a surprise and a challenge. we could work in groups, had the information we needed at our fingertips ( so to say), or could search for it on our own or in a guided manner. It was very motivating and a bigger challenge. But much more rewarding because we could discuss it with other colleagues and share our thoughts and doubts. I’ve learnt a lot about using CMCs to communicate and work online in groups.
Asynchronous communication allows freedom of time and pace because it makes it flexible. All the time I could spare and make I invested in solving the tasks and learning about the technology parts which are integrated. This flexibility was very important to me. I think this is a great advantage in distance learning as compared to f2f learning models.