The passed week was about reflection. We had the final live session of Building a Second Brain course and it got emotional. Over the five weeks we reached so much as a community that it was difficult to say goodbye.
The course provided an incredible growth opportunity for me personally. Facilitating group discussions on Zoom seems like a top skill these days. I admit it is something you need to practice quite a lot in order to feel comfortable. During 5 week period I facilitated 11 group discussions, which summed up 14 hours of live calls. Groups varied between 15 and 25 people. It was a size that allowed to have a grasp of individual advances. Meanwhile group participants managed to develop a sense of comradeship.
However, my first group call was a real struggle. It was the first time I hosted a Zoom call by myself so I needed to figure out how to: set up break out rooms with predefined time and number of people, record the call to the cloud, manage the chat and participant list with raised hands. All this plus to have my discussion plan on the same small screen of my laptop. Overwhelming.
Once I got the mechanics under control, I could focus on the course content. Exchange of factual information or so-called cognitive learning is normally the focus of online courses. However, learning is more than transmission of knowledge through digital spaces.
During the BASB course we also focused on socio-emotional aspect of learning, while caring about feelings and thoughts of course participants. It was especially important due to the crisis mode we are living in due to COVID-19. As mentors we tried to create spaces where every student could share their experience with learning while connecting it to personal circumstances. Especially in a crisis it is essential to provide enough opportunities for socio-emotional learning and address people’s worries and challenges.
The combination of humanity and competence is what modern online courses should strive for.
Overall it was a highly rewarding experience to form part of the support team and to see how a successful online course is created and managed. Some magic and a lot of logistics to guarantee seamless experience for hundreds of students.
I have so many “lessons learned” that I struggled to choose what to write about in today’s newsletter. I spent two days forming ideas about challenges of teaching smart people, but realized that it is becoming a blog post. I will share it with you next week!
If you have any comment or specific question about my experience with premium online course such as BASB, I would love to hear from you! Just hit reply or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.