My Transformative Journey through Online Classes
Kirjoittanut: Khaldun Shahran - tiimistä Crevio.
Lessons from the Virtual Classroom: The Realities of Online Teaching
Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework
My name is khaldun Shahran, I have recently joined everyone in TAMK Proakatemia (my Team Crevio Osk.).
As a student eagerly awaiting my visa decision last year, I found myself unexpectedly thrown into the realm of online classes. At first, it felt like a compromise, but little did I know that this experience would become invaluable, expanding my knowledge and teaching me valuable lessons. In this essay, I will share my personal journey through online learning, and talk about the hurdles I encountered, the skills I cultivated, and the opportunities that presented themselves.
Online classes enabled me with great flexibility because I didn’t have to travel to do classes and just joined online from my home during class time and the class time was nicely scheduled too. I along with a couple of my classmates who were in the same situation as me were doing the classes online. The flexibility allowed me to take time out to spend some extra time with my family and work. It encouraged me to explore more ways to make engagement.
Garrison and Vaughan in their book Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles, and Guidelines emphasize that blended learning environments provide students with the flexibility to navigate their own learning paths, allowing for personalized experiences that cater to individual needs and preferences (Vaughan & Garrison, 2008). I had the opportunity to choose from a variety of resources and participate in virtual discussions. The diverse learning method enabled me to approach topics from multiple angles and allowed me to foster a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.
At first, it was easy, but since most of my classmates were offline it was getting harder to harder day by day. The teaching method of Proakatemia requires connection and bonding between teammates. Because I joined most of my Paja’s online I missed a lot of opportunities where I could bond with my teammate and also missed some awesome sessions. Things got even harder as time went by, I was losing hope and the sense of doing classes online was getting bitter day by day. For example, the sales days project was not so efficient for me because I was not with my team discussing everything on the spot right away. Although all of my teammates were very understanding and they have helped me to navigate those paths.
Adapting to a digital educational environment requires a lot of skills to do. Time management skills, self-discipline, and overcoming distractions are very important skills to continue doing classes just as I did. But that’s not all though…
I had a mental breakdown, anxiety, frustration everything after 6-7 months, which led to ruining everything and getting my situation worse day by day. The road was unknown, I had the thought of not doing anything as I believe the effort will go in vain anyways, why should I bother? It was very hard to cultivate all those feelings I had in the last 3-4 months. Does the suffering end if I’m here? No! I’m way behind everyone and it feels like I’m a second-year freshman.
Building a sense of community in online learning relates to your exploration of overcoming isolation and seeking opportunities for collaboration because it fosters engagement, collaboration, and a supportive learning environment. (Palloff & Pratt, 2013) My team always made me feel like one of their own even if I just met them after one year for the first time.
Self-Motivation and Accountability
Doing classes continuously online for a longer period requires a lot of patience and motivation. Taking the responsibility to do something alone requires a lot of self-developing understanding of different things. Setting up goals, establishing routines according to my goal, and staying committed to my academic goals. Online learning requires a proactive approach, where I had to actively engage with the course material, set goals, and establish effective study routines. With no physical classroom or peers to keep me on track, I had to rely on self-discipline and intrinsic motivation to stay focused on my studies. I had my coach and some teammates though who had helped me with a lot of things over the years t continue my study.
Although online learning can sometimes feel isolating, I discovered ways to combat this challenge. Engaging in virtual group projects, participating in online discussions, and seeking opportunities for collaboration helped me build a sense of community. It felt good finally when we had to do mandatory projects like sales days and sprint innovation. I had the opportunity to connect with more teammates during those times which felt really great.
But other than that I really had to figure out external ways to not feel isolated, like left assessment and realization of the situation I was in. Taking advantage of online courses and resources also gives a lot of knowledge to continue with goals. Furthermore reaching out to the coach and seeking their guidance and support can help alleviate feelings of isolation. My coaches provided me with a lot of feedback, clarification, and guidance on coursework, fostering a sense of connection and support in the virtual learning environment.
Overall, my experience of doing classes online was not that good. I wouldn’t recommend doing that to anyone. But I would like to mention again my Coaches and Teammates who had helped me throughout the year and encouraged me to keep continuing. But it has given me a great experience of self-paced learning in a sense, which will be a lesson that will help me in the future too.
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2013). Lessons from the Virtual Classroom: The Realities of Online Teaching. Wiley.
Vaughan, N. D., & Garrison, D. R. (2008). Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles, and Guidelines. Wiley.