Always Learning

Expressions of Living, Feeling, Thinking, Learning

Pedagogy First Week2 – Reflections & Learning #potcert11

For week2 I followed the Class Syllabus. This made it easier to feel that I was moving forward even while I was really still way behind. It relieved some of the pressure of having to participate with everything and every conversation that those who are on track were having.


I enjoyed the reading, the video and exploring the tools that validated some of my ideas and experiences but that also brought up new ideas and concepts that I would like to explore.

The main activities that I focused on were

1- Complete Reading Chapter 1 : Ko and Rossen,  Teaching Online

It took me sometime to look for the book locally in the UAE and finally purchased it online as an e-Book. It would have been great if it was available as an audiobook too. I enjoy listening to books as it allows me to make good use of commuting time and makes it fun. The e-book allows me to highlight and make notes, features that I find very useful.

The reading itself was interesting. It validated some of my own ideas such the importance of applying the instructional design process and starting with knowing what the objectives are. The book presented some new ideas such as the heightened awareness benefit that had never occurred to me, and,  I now think is invaluable for and educator. Some ideas connected directly with my own experiences e.g. meeting peoples’ ideas before meeting them in person which I experienced as a student on an online asynchronous program and as both a learner and a learning facilitator in the form of an avatar in a virtual world like Second Life ( although these situation of VWs has it’s own peculiarities ).

Other points that the reading got me to start thinking about are

– The importance of including enough direct (synchronous) online communication with the students keeping in mind their different needs and styles.

– How much knowledge and skills in using online tools is enough to start teaching online. While a start may not require a very high level, I would prefer to develop a much higher level of skill that allows me to fully engage with the learners, if I want to be part of , enjoy and be an effective player in a water polo game I will have to develop my skills and confidence in water beyond merely floating 🙂

2- Watch Video of : Alec Couros, Teaching and Learning in a Networked World (2010)

Apart from the ideas that were presented in the video, it was very valuable to see the use of annotation. It got me thinking about the focus that provides to the learner if it is done by the tutor and how it freed me to listen and create impressions in spite of worrying about having to listen to it again to capture more of it. I think it can be useful for the learners to create their own annotations and this provides them with an example.

3- Check out some educators’ blogs

This allowed me to see how different educators use their blogs. The words, expressions and style set a certain tone to the blog that will have different impact on different learners. Reading the blogs I tried to imagine who is the educator writing for, themselves as a means of reflecting on what they do, other educators as a way of connecting, sharing and receiving help and feedback, learners or a mixed audience.

4- Learn about RSS Feed and Set up a Reader

I already had a google reader that I had set up as a result of attending the EduMOOC . It helps me get information about different topics that I am interested in without having to spend too much visiting each site separately as well as share it with others. I am still learning about how best to use it not only from a technical point of view but also from a the point of view of making it more practical more structured . I haven’t yet figured out how to create a Bundle for google reader nor what a Bundle is. 🙂

Feedback request

As one of my challenges is writing, I would appreciate the feedback. 🙂


Social Bookmarking

Part of week 1 was to start a Diigo account.  There was no problems whatsoever there as I already had one that I’d been using for the last 2 years or more. What I am fairly sure of is that I haven’t been utilizing the full potential of the program. Examples of things that I have never tried in Diigo yet and will be exploring are annotation and groups. It was easy to join the group but I am not sure how it is used, what the benefits are of having or being part of one, what is this thing about following people on Diigo.

Another thing that I would like to explore is the differences/similarities between Diigo and Delicious. I have never used Delicious but looks like many people like it.  Not sure which is better and why yet.

Blogging for Learning

Sometime back I posted 2 or 3 times in a blog that was part of a SecondLife group site. I wrote about experiences that I’d had and things that I’d seen in Secondlife. I rather enjoyed that kind of writing. There was no risk, I was not worried if what I had to say made sense or had a huge value to anyone else. It was like reminiscing or telling someone a story about a movie that I’d seen or a trip that I’d been on. It was just sharing some fun.

Blogging as part of a learning process feels different. It is somehow scary to write something that others will see, consider a reflection of how my brain works, how I look at and analyze things, how I connect ideas, rationalize etc. Also in a way it is more concrete, and feels more final.

I usually think aloud and learn a lot easier when I say what’s on mind, listen to how it sounds, think it over, question it, rephrase it, listen and watch for others’ reactions and responses to it as well as their ideas and opinions then perhaps start the cycle again.  How to transfer that into a blog? To write this blog I tried to imagine myself saying it but there is a lot missing like the non verbal cues and immediate feedback. There are things that I had to consider like keeping the post fairly short and structured, an area that I still need to work on.

I am confident that, if I write often enough and long enough, writing will get easier and better but I also know that it is important to practice the right things for the purpose … It is important to know what good looks like, what works, what is expected.

So, are there different types of blogging e.g. formal and informal, structured and unstructured? How do they fit within the learning process? Which is acceptable as an evidence of learning?

Wow … writing is exhausting 🙂 but I am enjoying the learning and looking forward to comparing how it feels at the end of this course.


Who I am

My Short version ( decided to create it after I saw how long my post became )

Trainer, Life and Executive Coach

Life Long Learner (inquisitive, always exploring and learning, energized by learning)

Very interested in Online Learning especially the use of Virtual Worlds. Experiment with Coaching, Learning and Teaching in SecondLife

Egyptian living and working in Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

First MOOC was EduMOOC and now enrolled in Pedagogy First and Change11

My Long version (one reason why I am usually afraid of writing, it gets too long and it takes me too long to write)

I am a Trainer and Life and Executive Coach. I worked in the corporate world for over 26 years and recently I started my own consultancy offering my clients Learning and Development solutions. As a trainer, I specialize in what is usually called soft skills such as a variety of Management and Leadership skills, communication skills, Train the Trainer, Coaching etc. I am also a certified MBTI and PSI ( similar to MBTI and based on the same theory) practitioner ( my profile is ENFP ). I am a Neuro Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner and Coach as well as a Parenting Effectiveness Training facilitator. I have a TAFL (Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language) certificate.

Life long learning is an important part of my personality and way of life. This lead me, in 2000, and after some research, to enroll in an Online Masters degree in  Flexible Learning with a focus in Online Learning. While I was unable to complete the degree,  I learned a lot about myself as an online learner and also about what worked and what, I think, would have helped me.

Being inquisitive by nature and interested in exploring and learning new things combined with my love of the internet and my interest in online learning, I stumbled on Second Life in 2009. Ever since, I have been actively learning about virtual Worlds in general and Second Life in particular and found in them a great potential for learning and development but also solutions for some of the difficulties I faced as an Online Learner. So far I have experimented with Coaching and Teaching languages in Second Life as well as attending classes and conferences related to both Second Life and Real Life.

A couple of months ago I discovered MOOCs and attended my first one which was EduMOOC Online Learning Today and Tomorrow. I tried to participate but I found it very intimidating and overwhelming most of the time and I ended up lurking most of the time. It felt more like attending a conference ( perhaps a point to discuss in another post). However, I loved something about the experience, the challenge, the potential for learning and connecting that I am now enrolled in two new MOOCs … Pedagogy First and Change11

hmmmm I think I need to refresh my HTML writing skills to make my posts look the way I want them to. 🙂

I am excited to be learning with so many people from all over the world and who come with such diverse experiences.

How do I Begin?

I started this account few weeks back to use it as part of a learning journey with my first ever MOOC (if you are asking what is a MOOC, I am hoping that if all goes well you will find the answer under one of the categories or tags). I ended up being a semi lurker on that for different reasons one of which (a really big one) is I freeze the minute I think of writing. What happens? I start thinking of how long it would take me to write even one paragraph and how frustrating it may become to decide on how I want things to sound, whether I am expressing myself correctly, …. the list of goes on.

The important thing is, now, and because of another two MOOCs, I am jumping in. Whether I write like a pro or make a fool of myself I know that the learning will be more than worth it


Maha Learning4Life

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