Our group participated in two MOOCs on edX: "Human Rights; The rights of Refugees" and "The Science of Learning- What Every Teacher Should Know."
During our journey through the MOOC, "The Science of Learning: What Every Teacher Should Know" we were afforded the opportunity to put ourselves in a K-12 teacher’s shoes and explore the research that improves results in the classroom. We were able to learn how individuals learn and how our brains create, store, and retrieve memories. We learned in depth how important memory is to learning process and were also taught ways to keep our brains from becoming overloaded and overworked. This was perfect timing for this course given that we are all current students!
This MOOC taught us the different ways to make information stick and last with an individual long term and how that individual can recall that information when needed. We learned various misconceptions that students encounter when learning and ways to positively correct them. Through this MOOC we explored the concepts about how a student’s mindset and beliefs can affect their learning experience. For example, if a student has a positive approach and an open mind when in the classroom they are more likely to learn and retain that information, where as a student’s brain who is reluctant to be there will not retain the information at the same capacity. As adult learners one of the things we found most interesting about this course was the aspect of how K-12 teachers can help students become independent learners so they can lead themselves on their educational journey. Many students K-12 have different learning styles approaches, just like we do as adult learners. It was interesting to learn about this perspective because we generally would not have thought of a formal education in elementary years as self-directed. However, our self-direction really begins as children in the classroom and we carry this behavior with us into adulthood.
This course informed teachers on how to help identify traits in their students to enable them to become the best learners they can be. Teaching strategies and assessment techniques were taught to help better teachers maximize student’s learning. Although none of us in this group are teachers, we found the course very interesting. Though we all have different learning styles we were all able to expand our knowledge and gain some insight on the topic of "What Every Teacher Should Know Through" the videos, written content, and discussion boards this course offered.
We found it an interesting use of andragogy through this course. While the subject matter is teacher-centered, it is self-directed for the student through use of discussion boards, interactive quizzes, and videos you can view at your own pace. This course was especially beneficial anyone in the education world, no matter the capacity. It provided an important view on learning and understanding information, providing a great balance between empirical research and philosophical construct.
While attending the Human Rights MOOC, it seemed to be the ideal platform by design. Since this is a global issue and dependent on awareness, the online environment offered the unique opportunity to not only learn the subject matter in a factual way, but observe the global impacts on countries all over the world from firsthand accounts. This was a perfect way to build an impactful learning experience.
The self-paced course is designed to equip individuals with the knowledge of learning the difference between those who are stateless and seeking asylum versus those who are just migrants. Four specific modules are used to break down the easy learning experience for adult learners who may or may not always have sufficient time on their hands to engage fully into the course. As a group we noticed we’re able to keep track of progress, notes and participate in discussions from other participants worldwide who have seen the effects of refugees and have been involved. Displayed within the course is a world map of those who have been inspired in taking part of the call to action.
Naisha discussed and pointed out how factual the evidence provided was due to both empirical research and a philosophical approach. In the past year she was able to work with a non-profit organization who works hands on with individuals worldwide who flee their country. Currently she is helping a personal friend of hers from Venezuela, seek political asylum in the United States. Collectively, we noticed that there is a holistic approach we must engage in to educate ourselves on the matter. Satish Kumar, peace and environment activist, explains a piece of holistic education as the 3h’s. Requiring us to use our heads, heart and hands. The Human rights MOOC calls for a plan of action which we all believe calls for using the 3h’s. It’s imperative to use every functioning level in regards to learning and grasping the concept of human rights. Whether it may be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, we all see a common thread that may force us out of comfort zone to gain the knowledge the course offers.
One common thread that we observed was that while everyone agrees that refugees require the basic human rights and the accessibility of asylum, there is a breakdown on how to implement the change in their internal society. Students of the course from Sweden, Greece, France, and Italy discussed the problems facing their country including a shortage of resources, rising tension and insecurity of native born citizens and refugees waiting for asylum. Many refugees who were allowed entry have not been granted the asylum they seek yet due to slow processing. In the process, they are living in overcrowded camps and several students commented that there is a palpable tension in the country surrounding the issue.
This course allowed us to experiment with Mezirow’s theory of Transformational Learning through hearing other’s perspectives on this issue it challenged us to change any preconceptions and consider new approaches by participating in self-directed discussions with other students from all over the world expanded our mind and views of refugees other than what we may have seen in the news, media, etc. The self-directed course allowed for great discussion and honest communication that we have never experienced in a traditional US classroom setting. Given the subject matter, this was ideal. After attending the course, we were able to take away not only a new found knowledge of the subject but also a new understanding of the online blended learning platform.
Our group is comprised of different learning styles, Devin is initiating, Sarah is imagining, and Naisha is diverging. When discussing our views on these courses, we all seemed to reach the same conclusion but had different paths of getting there. Naisha said she experienced the most impact from the discussion board. Naisha loves talking and learning from others to see the "big picture" of the subject. Devin, an initiator, found the most impact watching the short videos on high level ideas, allowing him to bridge the gaps between topics on his own. Sarah, who has an imagining style, found the most impact after reading the theories and the "why" behind the subject and then linking it with the discussions. While our group was discussing the different MOOCs and what we learned, we realized that we were using a self-directed and holistic approach to create a whole learning experience through the process of combining our styles together. This led to a deeper understanding of not only the subject matter but ourselves as adult learners.