For quite some years, closing up to
twenty, I have engaged in web-based teaching. My department, School of Social
Work at Lund University, was at that stage a forerunner in Sweden developing
the usage of digital technologies in distance learning. As time has passed by
I have continued into developing new ideas of blended learning (web vs. campus
collaboration) in several courses as to make the pedagogical setting for
students more engaging and elaborative as well as more efficient and rewarding.
I believe much of this work over the last ten years has shown very fruitful for
me, my colleagues and for students following the courses. Still, in the last two years prospects of continuing this development have been shattered as both my faculty and department
have put it to an abrupt halt, at least for me. Does it sound bitter? Well, I
am not bitter, I have just realised that being outside of the active teaching
zone also means losing front edge sensitivity.

To many I am still a person with knowledge in this type of work, I am even
engaged in talking about blended learning with librarians in a couple of weeks.
That feels ok as the ideas behind blended learning as pedagogical idea are much
the same now as earlier. Technically, however, much have changed in just a couple of years and I would
not have agreed on participating if it was a “tool-seminar”. Partly,
thus, my ambition with this course, is to collaborate with others in learning
new tools or re-inventing old ones through new uses.

So, then, who am I? Well, I am a 55
year old academic convinced of that most learning comes from doing, but that the
basic configurations wherein these doings are happening change. Sometimes
rapidly (technology) at other times very slow (social structures of education).
Some of this temporal feel has to do with my age – I am just not as adaptive as
I was when younger – others due to technical revolutions and short halving times of
technical solutions (like in fashion), thus harder to keep updated as our
educational structures are fairly slow to change. Some is experience from many
years in the system, a system I uphold by my mere existence as teacher within
it. See the following animated explanation to educational structures from Ken
Robinson. I was very inspired to make difference and change things when I first
saw it.

Video fetched on Youtube 2017-02-13

Existing knowledge is historical, but
teaching efforts aim at future opportunities for those wishing to learn.
Existing knowledge is embedded in upheld power structures of those who know and
those who not. This social stratification of knowledge is, in my view, as
teacher and researcher, in conflict with many pedagogical ambitions. I am
strongly in favour of that people share what they know with others, I am
strongly arguing that what we share should be critically assessed and source
critical, and I believe that knowledge is produced well within scientific
boundaries, but I also see the need to reach people where they are, to provide
opportunities to build from prior knowledege and experiences. This is not in conflict with course
outcomes, but a pedagogical necessity to make the participants reach them.

This, my opening ONL-blog post, is also
a declaration of a wish to change and to make difference in a world that politically presents more conservative political beliefs and claims of ”Us and Them”, of worthy and less
worthy people.

And if I, by being more literate on the
web, can help to make disadvantaged people reach opportunities to learn from
honest, reliable and critically assessable sources on the net, well then that is my goal with this course.