Since I have been designing a couple of online courses I was really looking forward to this topic and expecting a lot from it, not really knowing what to expect. It may sound a bit stupid but I was surprised (and happy) to find that the topic in fact was about emotions and not techy stuff as I had thought. Unfortunately this topis also was very stressful since it coincided with a crazy level of work amount – so, like prince Daniel would have put it: emotions all over the place! (If you are from Sweden you will probably recognize this reference to the moment when prince Daniel announces the birth of his first child, it is absolutely wonderful.)

Community of inquiry

As designers of online learning environments we need to create safe spaces, safe spaces for learning but also to express ones feelings since emotions can both hinder and support learning. I really enjoyed diving into the CoI model, especially the social and emotional dimensions. In short: in order for students to have a deep learning experience (especially in online environment) they will have to experience social, cognitive and teaching experience. Of course emotion is present online, this was my first big take away from this topic. And although I have been designing courses with regards to students feelings all along in one aspect, I have just not understood it – and not to the extent that I should have been doing it. The most common example would be that I would get feedback from students, maybe frustrated over a quiz not working or information missing on a subject and then I would redesign my course in order to make the learning experience more smooth. I have just not interpreted this as course design due to emotional factors.

As Alastair Creelman wrote on the course padlet:

Frustration and confusion are a natural stage in the learning process. It depends how you react to them.

We noticed in our group discussions that we talked almost exclusively about negative emotions, but of course there are a lot of examples on emotions on a more positive note. It was also rewarding shifting the gaze from student emotions to the emotions of us as teachers. In order to support confident, relaxed and enjoyable teaching experiences it is my opinion that we should engage and practice a more playful and ”trial and error-way” of using digital tools and techniques in our online teaching.

So, of course learning is a pretty emotional activity. Life tends to be.

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6 thoughts on “Topic 4: Design for online and blended learning – feelings all over the place

  1. Emotions are indeed part of the blend we create in every course. Being aware of all the elements in the blend and knowing how to blend them is the course designer’s (ie usually the teacher) role. Being able to express emotions can be a sign that you have created a safe learning environment. I’m glad to have provided a useful quote here 🙂

    1. Thanx for both quote and comment Alastair. I hope I didnt ”snuttifierade” it to much? 🙂

      As I wrote to Eugene just now this is one of the biggest take aways for me in this ONL course: the importance not only to take student digital and information literacy ( I am working as a librarian) into account when designing a course – but also their social needs and emotions.

  2. Yes, it was a revelation to think of emotions also in a positive way, after all the years handling negative emotions. Regarding Alastairs quote I also think that it is our job to ease the students through the frustration and confusedness.

  3. Thanks for your blog. I agree that making someone feels he belongs when designing an online learning environment is very important. Giving learners safe environment will give them some level of peace of mind to counter the negative emotions that sometimes learners need to overcome.

    1. Thank you Eugene for your comment. I agree and this is one of the biggest ”take aways” for me in the ONL course: the importance not only to take students digital and information literacy ( I am working as a librarian) into account when designing a course – but also their social needs and emotions. Its complicated!

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