In 2012, four universities in Sweden created a collaborative course for educators, called Open Networked Learning. Basically, it’s an opportunity for HE professionals in different countries to work together in small, problem-based-learning (PBL) groups on a series of five topics which, combined, grow their abilities to provide quality learning in an online environment. Currently (in 2020), there are 14 participating universities. Most are in Western Europe, but there are two in South Africa and one in Asia (NUS). This year, I applied to participate and was selected. The course starts this week and continues through 4 December 2020.

This means that somehow, this semester (while also: teaching ENV1101, auditing GE2215 (I’m finally learning GIS), supervising an undergrad research student who’s asking what makes COVID-19 conspiracy theorists tick and a master’s student who’s studying how the pandemic has shaped societal knowledge and views of bats and working on international research collaborations), I will (yikes!) find six to eight extra hours each week to do the work to get this certification.

Mainly this involves attending webinars, meeting with my PBL group four times per topic to work out how we will tackle each scenario (the problem) and present our solution, doing readings, working asynchronously on the solution and presenting it and writing reflective blog posts on my ONL202 learning journey.

Am I nuts? Maybe. But I also know that amid a global pandemic and the juggernaut that is the increasing use of digital learning technologies, if I want to graduate environmental change-makers, then my virtual classroom must be as conducive a learning environment as my in-person classroom is (although, for sure, there’s no substitute for field trips).

This is the space for my reflective blog posts, and I open it for the ONL202 community to comment on.

Signing off with feelings of excitement but also trepidation. Hopefully I can be efficient and get ‘er done without burning out.