Secret confessions of an online learner aged 39 years and 1/6

Learning is definitely a social thing for me. I like to ask classmates for help, advice and opinions. In the online learning world, this can be frustratating. We are all self-paced. Several students are ahead of me, several are behind. *Whispers* some will have skipped the activity I have questions about.

Yesterday I really wanted to ask my classmates how they got on with a particular tool we were told to try out (MentionMapp). I can’t seem to access all of the features in MentionMapp and I am wondering if it’s just me. Pretty simple. In a face to face setting, I would ask them, in class and would find out in minutes.

Online I have the following options:

  1. The asynchronous forum. For those of you unfamilar with online education, asynchronous is a fancy word meaning “really really *really* slow” and forum means “90s version of a Facebook group”. If I post there, I may get a reply from a classmate, more likely I will get a reply from my long suffering tutor, who will probably say “it works fine for me, not sure what to say really”… which is fair enough as he has enough to be doing without providing support for external tools.
  2. I can post in the WhatsApp group. I am sure you all know what a WhatsApp group is. It has 15 members all of whom joined when I posted the join link in the forum. I expect I will get a couple of replies from classmates to say they haven’t got to the activity yet. I post quite a lot in there and something stops me from posting again about this, I don’t want to be annoying and cause everyone to leave because they are sick of insessant notifications from the group.
  3. I can Tweet, tagging MentionMapp and the course code H818. This will almost certainly yield no results. I will get a Twitter equivalent of a tumble weed. No replies, no likes, no re-tweets… it’s a bit of a niche question for Twitter.

And so you see, in the online world, getting support from your online classmates can be frought with anxiety. Things that would normally take minutes, take an age. Classmates might not have got there yet, or may have been there done that and forgotten.

As for my question… I may post in the forum. I’ll let you know where I get 😉

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