My experience as an online student

Research into learning has its place but experiencing it first hand leaves a far more meaningful impression. Having spent my adult life teaching, it was exciting going back into the learning environment as a student. After all I was practiced in learning. Taking my first online course was a real challenge. All my “practiced learning” was of no use. I tried to follow the tutorial that would familiarize me with the online platform but somehow managed to repeatedly log myself out. After many attempts I finally managed to stay logged in. Navigating my way around the course remained a technical challenge for the first week. Once I realized that I could not do any damage by just clicking around the course site I found that my skills improved. I was expanding my learning journey. Forum posts required more practice and somehow I managed to accidentally delete more than I posted. A student had recommended that I create my post on a word document first and then copy and paste. This was not ideal since the font was distorted, but at least I did not keep losing my information. My son showed me how to add a link to the website I had posted and I realized that using online tools just required know how.  Once my proficiency increased I thoroughly enjoyed the learning style and even found it extremely engaging. The flexibility of being able to log in anytime was so beneficial because I could learn during my peak hours. Challenges of online learning simply require asking questions, experimenting with the tools (commonly referred to as playing) and not being afraid to TRY. The most important learning to date was during an online media course where we were given three choices of assignments. The high technology route, the social media route and the essay route. Since I view myself as technically challenged I asked my instructor for advice because I really wanted to learn technology but did not want to forfeit passing the course due to my inability. He said that anything can be learned and I should pick the route with the highest learning curve. Wow, I could not believe what I accomplished. I was successful in using several online tools to create educational presentations and posts. This convinced me that if I can do it anyone can. It merely requires perseverance.

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About Karin Potgieter

Originally from South Africa, I have been privileged to enjoy the beautiful lifestyle of Canada. My career in Early Childhood Education has been motivating, ranging from the endearing relationships with the children and families of the Preschool that I owned to the inspirational interactions with my students as instructor of the Early Childhood Education Certificate Program. My qualifications include a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Early Childhood Education Certificate, Provincial Instructors Diploma and en route to completing the Certificate in Online/eLearning Instruction.
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