2012 Testimonials for CTL1799 Holistic Approaches to Information Technology

This was an A+ experience for me... I've never ever had an online course this valuable before!  It was an amazing course... it truly changed me in many positive ways... and I hope we stay in touch and collaborate somehow.

This was my first online course, and as such, I only knew what to expect based on research and heresay!  I was worried about the following: feeling isolated, having difficulty collborating with members and not feeling connected with other class members.

However, I felt the exact opposite.

First, I didn't once feel isolated throughout this entire course. In fact, I found it very easy to express myself and enjoyed the ability to participate in class asynchronously from home or from work, at any time of day or night, based on my own schedule.  I also found myself logging in way more than I expected - at least 3 or 4 times a day.

Second, collaboration was actually quite easy, and I found the meetings to be more efficient than in person group meetings.  The WOOD team typically spent the first 10-15 minutes of the meeting saying hello, catching up on life, etc... The next 30 minutes discussing the task/topic at hand, and the final 15 minutes volunteering for tasks and deciding what the next steps are. My experience in person has been wasted time chatting, doing nothing, an inability to get thoughts out without speaking over each other, etc... I was pleasantly surprised with how easy online collaboration was, and I feel like I've built an additional skill that I can use at work - working on a virtual team.

Third, out of every class I've ever taken online, I (and my group members) felt a strong connection. We all really enjoyed working together, each took on our piece of the projects voluntarily, filled in for each other when life got in the way and collaborated seamlessly!  I would have loved to have had the opportunity to work with other groups, but understand that in 6 short weeks it's easier to stay with the same team.

I should note that I did face some challenges when I first started: getting used to the interface of both C2C and BlackBoard, organizing the sequence of course due dates and deadlines, I often wasn't able to locate information a second time, I had difficulty keeping up with the volume of posts, but with the help of Selia as well as other group members, I quickly worked through all of these issues. For the most part, my experience was great and I would definitely take another online course again! Nice to work/chat/collaborate with all of you :o)

We were a very fortunate group in that we gelled so quickly and so strongly. I have taken fifteen online courses in the past fifteen years, and I can honestly say that it was in this course that I felt most connected to my classmates. Selia established a structure that allowed us to work online at our own pace, asynchronously, but also added a wonderful component that had us frequently working together as groups, using synchronous chats to develop, plan, and execute our collaborative projects. This was a wonderful way to help us connect in purposeful and meaningful ways. This is the aspect of this course that I appreciated the most. The collaborative nature of our work facilitated for me a deeper appreciation for holistic approaches to information technology. I feel quite focused in the work that I have ahead as a school administrator and educator. Technology has such potential for extending students' learning, provided that there is an understanding as to how the technology serves its purpose and appeals to its audience (purpose + audience = technology form).

I would like to thank everyone for enlightening me this summer, and contributing my own learning. Your experiences, expertise, and suggestions have certainly influenced my understanding of information technology and how it impacts students. I wish everyone every success in the future.

Like many of you have already posted, it's unusually sad to finish this course and to not know when our paths shall again cross. As I reflect on why many of us seem to have this feeling/thought that is, perhaps, unique to this course and not necessarily the case in our  previous F2F or CMC courses, I can't help but highlight the holistic aspect of this course. Granted we learned a number of new technologies and some of us (i.e. L.) went from newbie to techie in a matter of 6 weeks but, more importantly, we learned how to use technology (old and new) to create a learning community of life-long learners... and we know that, indeed, community was effectively created... otherwise we wouldn't now have the feeling of not really wanting the course to end as quickly as perhaps we did initially. I must admit that I was very overwhelmed at the beginning of the course, partly due to taking four courses at the same time, however, I quickly started to discover that, like S. mentioned in her post , Dr. Karsten has been the "guide on the side", giving us enough guidance to construct knowledge collaboratively... without constructing it for us! I eventually also realized that, unlike most if not all other courses that I have taken, the focus of this course was not only the final product, but also the ongoing process and the change as a result of the learning. Of course, as students, there is a natural resistance to change and to that which is unfamiliar, however, as teachers and learners... we know that change is good and the only constant in life. Once I realized that the holistic approach was not just the content but also the medium... and that every aspect of the course was full of learning... my perspective change. It's very fitting for me personally for this course to be the last course in my Master degree. I won't go on about how lucky I was to have worked with my team, nor about how lucky I was to have been able to get into this course, stick with it despite the circumstances, work with all of you and with Dr. Karsten... and gain so much more than a credit... a new perspective about the holistic use of technology in an online environment that has certainly changed me as both a learner and a teacher... and that, I'm sure, will continue to have a positive impact on my personal and professional life. Thank you ;-)

As I sit here reflecting on the course I am astounded by how much I have learned!  I have taken some online courses before but none of the other courses had the same level of interaction, collaboration and technological learning.  I am glad that I was able to partake and participate  - I have learned so much from Dr,. Karsten and my fellow colleagues through our blogs, discussions in each of the interesting, interactive forums, partner work, team work, wonderful team websites and individual websites.  I have saved and plan on sharing many of the websites and ideas that I have gathered along my journey.  The "guide on the side" was invaluable, Selia. I appreciated the thoroughness of the course outline, the many examples and models that were available through the astralite site, Blackboard and C2C.  You had put in place such strong backbones to the course and the modelling was invaluable.  I liked the fact that I was able to go back and check on information, learn about so many wonderful websites and people and have such wonderful models to guide me on my way.  I thought it was really important that you interacted with our notes and provided your weeky notes to keep us on track.  I do feel that I have learned from everyone in the course and have learned a little bit about each of the course particpants starting with their welcome notes and as we continued through the forum notes together.  I feel that I know each one of you, more than I would know you in a F2F class.  I wish everyone all the best in their future careers, it has been great getting to know you.  This course was truly holistic learning - it fostered connections, interconnectedness, analytical and creative thinking and allowed for a variety of learning approaches.  Thank you!

Thank you again for a wonderful course. This was my final course in my M.Ed. program, and I feel that I have learned so much this summer. While I felt tech savvy coming into this course, my growth came in truly appreciating the learning that comes from using technology to express oneself in personally relevant and meaningful ways. I realized that in creating a blog, video, or website, the success of the final product comes from the learning developed through the creation process. What something looks like in the end is enhanced when the decisions that go into it are informed by such elements as thoughtful analysis, collaborative inquiry, and research. In simple terms, I like to think of the power in the question “Does it satisfy its intended purpose?” over “Does it look good?” I feel better prepared for the work ahead of me in a new school this coming year where technology has been accumulated, but not yet utilized to its potential.

I am grateful for having had the opportunity to create a website. I feel very good about what I accomplished, and am looking forward to the feedback I received from classmates and colleagues. It is my intention to maintain this site and add to it (as per the feedback) in order to make it meaningful and useful to others.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this course and I have taken a lot from it. I hope that I can take many more classes like it in the future. I thank you for introducing me to so many technologies and I helping me get over my fear of using them.

Thank you very much for such a worthwhile learning opportunity. It was a struggle at first, but I really feel that I got the hang of it with your support and the help of the my classmates. I feel that I became much more comfortable using the C2C site, and I noticed myself beginning to take risks when I made my website with my group and on my own. I also felt a lot more comfortable with the layout of the course and made an effort to read as many posts as possible and to respond to the ones that inspired me the most. I would recommend this course to future OISE students and I feel that this challenge has helped prepare me for future online courses which I plan to take.

Thank you for facilitating an excellent on-line course.  Due to my lack of technological expertise, I was incredibly apprehensive about my ability to meaningfully participate in an on-line environment, but your structure and organization supported my success.  I found that the weekly updates, along with the specific forums and postings that you established at the beginning of the course, guided me through the process and your willingness to post gentle reminders and suggestions was highly beneficial.

I will continue to visit the Astral site because I find that the quality and calibre of work that you are able to inspire your students to achieve will be useful as I continue to explore technology and discover ways that I might integrate my newfound knowledge in the classroom.  Your past and present students have truly created myriad gems that educators can (and should) utlize in their own classrooms.

Thank you for an amazing journey.  It was a wonderful course, I learned so much and am taking away resources that will be invaluable this September.

I feel that my teaching and learning has been enhanced with my many new understandings of holistic learning and technology.  I continue my journey of lifelong learning with new knowledge, experiences  and skills that I acquired in this course.  Thank you for such a stimulating course!

In the end, I learned new things and improved skills important to my studies and career.  This makes the class a success for me.

This learning journey has been incredible thus far.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your guidance, support and encouragement.

Thank you kindly for all the time you've dedicated to our class and helping us through the course.  It's much more than what I've experienced in the past and its truly amazing the knowledge that you share and facilitate everyday.

Thanks for a great learning experience.

August 2012