The first week of EDDL 5141 gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with WordPress, introduce yourself to your classmates, and find out a little about them and about your instructor. There are several activities this week that are designed to explore the technology tools and practice on your blog.
You also should review the assignment work for this course, so that you can keep these projects in mind as you work through the course activities. Note though that we will be discussing the structure of the assignments and you will have some input into the format and structure of both Assignment 1 and the final project.
Your Personal Learning Environment
The learning that occurs within this course is referred to as “formal” learning, but you will likely find the informal learning you are involved in just as valuable as the formal aspects of the class. Informal learning is what takes place outside of this course and without any real direction from this course. Your informal learning is something that you customize to fit with your own needs and learning style and includes using tools and connecting with people. As an addition to this course, we would like you to enhance your personal learning environment and to concentrate on making connections with other online educators and learners.
Your personal learning environment, or PLE, is a collection of all the pieces you put together to help you learn or to help you demonstrate your learning. It involves not only the consumption of information, but also the creation of information, putting that information in context, and interacting and collaborating with others about what you want to learn. A PLE is something you build yourself and includes events, tools, places, and a network of people. Your PLE might contain:
- Conferences you attend or present at, including online conferences
- Webinars you view, participate in, or host
- Social bookmarking
- Blogs that you write, subscribe to, or comment on
- Wikis that you view or contribute to
- Synchronous and asynchronous tools you use to interact with others
- Places where you find and upload videos
- Places where you find and upload photos
- Places where you search for information
- Places where you find or upload podcasts
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Once you have started to grow your personal learning environment, you will see how valuable the connections you make may be in helping you learn and improving your teaching. A robust network of educators is always available to help with advice, to discuss proven practices around what does or doesn’t work, and even to provide technical support in the late hours of the evening when you are stressing over the following teaching day.