Thank you for 5 years of Aalto Online Learning with you!

Aalto Online Learning
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Yesterday we celebrated 5 years of Aalto Online Learning together with you. Many were able to participate and even though we would have loved to have the full-experience Learning@Aalto gala, this online celebration was still beautiful and valuable. 
After welcome words from Tomi, we “broke the ice” and got to know each other better. Interesting what you can learn about colleagues through a simple game. Next on the agenda was some time to watch the amazing video pitches from our 2020 pilots. You can still have a look at them (you need to have an Aalto account though)! Before the lunch break, Tomi led an inspiring 1 hour panel discussion with 10 of our pilot leaders and Lauri Malmi, the Aalto Online Learning’s coordination group chair. So many topics were covered! During lunch, our digital Aalto Online Learning feedback wall was opened and the audience was invited to share their reflections and feedback with us.

What have you learned, what have you done, what are you proud of creating?
“I have learned to work with people from other areas for example web page designer and graphic designer. I have more confidence in digital tools and digital learning environments.”
“Great to see what is going on and possible – and get inspired. :)”
“An enormous amount from the very impressive 2020 pilots, I especially liked the Future of work project, design Culture NOw, The teaching wizard.”
“I have learned that 1) creating professional videos (animated or not) requires lots of skills, time, and support, and 2) developing open materials and courses is beneficial.”
“LabLife3D in second Life (molecular Biology lab).”

Free comments/feedback & reflections
“Great that you arranged this Gala despite the Covid situation! I got many ideas and lots of inspiration.”    
“This community is the best!”
“I think that these 2020 videos of pilots could also be shared with UNITE! partners – because you can all be really proud of your work, and these pilots really who the diversity of the Virtual Campus ideology.”

“While doing my Aalto Online Learning projects, I have learned about new pedagogies and tools that support online and blended learning, which I’ve tried to implement into my online teaching. That aspect has been a valuable asset. I also very much appreciate the training for leaning to produce instructional videos. “

Afternoon fireside chats

During the afternoon fireside chats, event participants split up into three breakout groups where discussions revolved around selected themes: 1) Student engagement and activation, taking care of diversity of learners, 2) MyCourses, activities, online materials, quizzes, exercises, assessment, and 3) Online tools for collaboration, interactivity, exhibitions. As a result there were quite a few questions, ideas and best practices identified. Here are a selection of them:

1) Student engagement and activation, taking care of diversity of learners

“Students record a video of their presentation, and they analyze their presentations themselves “, “Pre-record a video and then watch it together with students, and with Q&A in the chat “, “Assign students the task of moderating the chat discussion in the zoom session”, “Ask students to read out loud the padlet wall results in the main room”, “Break out groups often work, but sometimes they do not (students simply disappear when they are assigned to break out groups)”, “Use voting in zoom”, “Engage students to have a walk or do cooking while listening to presentations”

2) MyCourses, activities, online materials, quizzes, exercises, assessment

“How to mix and match different topics, like language courses with other courses?”, “How could self-evaluation be more popular and seen kind of less stressful?”, “Hope that there is a teacher standing in a classroom also after 30 years. Though the definition of a classroom might be different. “, “Students from different schools might need different materials”, “need for tools for self-evaluation”

3) Online tools for collaboration, interactivity, exhibitions

“Zoom slide annotation tool, participants can write or draw to the shared slide. “, “Mentimeter for word clouds and questions. For branstorming as well.”, “Joined editing: Document editing/tools within Zoom which appear when one shares the screen”, “Task students to get acquainted with another and learn how to use certain editing tools at the same time, for example. “, “Always good to have a plan B for when certain tools might fail.”, “Gamifying content to get students engaged with another as well.  A lot of work though. 🙂 “, “Always good to invite students to show their face briefly and tell about where they are perhaps, and how they are doing. Keeping the human touch in online learning.”, “Importance of having that go-to-person when it comes to technology to be able to focus on content and engagement”, “Challenge: coming back from breakout rooms in main rooms, everyone stays in silence. In Zoom rooms no way to overhear other conversations etc. How to deal with this silence?”

Thanks for joining the joint 5 year journey and the celebration event online! We wish we would have had the option of meeting face to face, but with online means we met still, and did great as evidenced by lively discussions and feedback. Thank you & let’s continue all fantastic and inspirational educational developments to improve learning!