The Journey of ONL 162

  • What are the most important things that you have learnt through your engagement in the ONL course? Why?

I have been designing blended learning courses for about 4 years now. But it was only the third time I participated as student and it was the most enriching experience till date. I could learn a lot about implementation. The most important learning was that moderation comes at every level. Most of the times, moderation is after the student product is developed and I think it is more like feedback on what has been achieved or not. From now, I think I will also make moderation a part of the process when students are creating the product. By observing both participants and facilitators, I also learned how important it is to be proactive and also to know when to step back.

  • How will your learning influence your practice?

I will like to incorporate a moderation plan in addition to design plan. It would be fluid but I would be clear on how to support the students in their own learning aims. I’ve been using social media tools for educational purposes but I would like to engage others as well.

As an online learner, I guess the model of visitor vs resident and the concept of strategic visiting for very useful and motivating for me to complete the course.

  • What are your thoughts about using technology to enhance learning/teaching in your own context?

It makes collaboration so easy and open avenues for participation in a democratic way. It also depends on the ethos of the person who is behind the screen using the technology. In our group, the prime purpose was learning and motivating others to give their best. In this scenario, we were able to learn so much about each other’s context and also about the content of the course. In my future courses, I would like to make diverse groups so this can be achieved.

  • What are you going to do as a result of your involvement in ONL? Why?

As I no longer work in a university, I think it would be difficult to implement it. I might want to co-facilitate the next ONL course. I work in Digital Publishing industry so I would think more about how to effectively design engaging educational content for online use.

  • What suggestions do you have (activities and/or in general) for development of eLearning in your own teaching or context?

1. Pedagogy first, tools second.

2. Give students autonomy to make their own decisions.

3. Plan well so you can concentrate fully on teaching and just have to make minor changes in the design in the implementation phase.

ADDIE Model for Blended Learning Design

I decided to create a visual representation rather than writing a text-based post for TOPIC 4 of ONL. I have used ADDIE model for course design for around three years and this flowchart represents how I have used it in practice.


[Text in purple are methods and templates to communicate the elements written in black.]

Some key insights for Blended Learning Design:
◉ A good design begins with good analysis

◉ Pedagogy is the foundation of design

◉ Design vs. Development (Sustainability/Flexibility-Innovation) – Easy to adopt or adapt

◉ Link between F2F and online components (refer and build upon both during moderating tasks)

◉ Use of collaborative tools

◉ Importance of prototyping (templates)

◉ Pro-activeness for each role in the team (collaborative learning starts with collaborative design by a collaborative team of course designers)

◉ Role of conversations and peer-feedback while designing course – Design Buddy!

Is it more work to work with more people?

This blog post is a reflection on the Topic 3: Collaborative Learning of ONL162 course. It has stirred more questions than answers for me. More questions mean more discovery to I will like others to think about these aspects as well.

Is group-work or cooperative learning same as collaborative learning?

For me, collaboration needs to be more than just being a group. You need to capitalize on the synergy of ideas, knowledge and skills. Each member should have a particular role based on their strength or interest. You need to be inter-dependent in a collaborative task where the final product is only possible with everyone’s input and there is no free-loading.

Brindley, Walti and Blaschke (2009) also provide some characteristics/strategies that help to take forward group work beyond cooperation to collaboration such as a clear purpose of collaboration and expectations of roles, the balance between structure and learner autonomy, relevance for the collaboration and monitoring.

With so many roles and equally many contributors, how can you keep track of the work?

In the real, you are required to work with others and not alone (Shaw, 2006), so it is an important skill to remain connected or structured even in a non-linear task/way of working. It is important to set up group rules, make sure the purpose of the collaboration and expectations are clearly explained and understood by all contributors from the outset. The group should capitalize technology to collaborate more efficiently and also monitor each other’s contribution (e.g. using Google Drive).

Is collaborative learning only about a project or long-lasting relationships?

Long-lasting relationship is first litmus test of effective collaborative learning (unfortunately, you can only know about it in a subsequent project) because you try to work on common purpose and create a community of practice. Both the product/project and the process of group work should be meaningful (Swan, Shen, & Hiltz, 2006).

If it is based on long-lasting relationships then does it create stagnation and homogeneity in terms of community membership?

Yes, it can. It should always be a community than a lobby. Therefore, an addition of new members and creating an open environment and power balancing is really important.

Topic 2 Reflection: To share or not to share is the question!

Overall reflection:
Globally, we can see a consumption culture which holds true for knowledge as well – reading is the most established cultural activity. Lawrence Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons, has been advocating to create Read-Write culture all across the world. At the same time, he is fighting for openness in sharing of knowledge so the remixing can be decriminalized, rather encouraged (Stephey, 2008).The issue at core globally is how to responsibly share and at the same time, encourage openness in sharing and remixing. While copyrights and the business side of it might harm the process of knowledge production but openness towards giving other permission and clear guidelines on how to attribute is a way forward to curtail privacy and also encourage more creation of knowledge, especially with regards to audio-visual content.

Specific questions:
1. Openness for my practice
Since childhood we are taught to work alone, whereas in work environments it is always the opposite. You always have to work with people. In exam settings, you are ask not to share answers, especially objective ones, as it would lead to cheating but in life, you rely on other people’s advice and there is nothing black and white. Therefore, it is a very difficult cultural or mindset change to seep in.

Openness is all about learning. Being able to share openly and allowing other to remix is vital because knowledge cannot be static – it needs to creative and personalized in order to be internalized. However, openness is also reciprocity, therefore attribution is an act of transparency as well.

In Pakistan, most of the resources prepared by the professors and academic staff is under copyright of the university as well. Therefore, it is very difficult to provide a public domain or creative commons license to the work. On the other hand, the only rule which is followed for sharing work of others is putting a source. Most of the schools create more physical resources than digital so there is not much concern. However, they use other digital resources and might not even source them because of lack of knowledge. Such a situation also brings a question whether people would be comfortable to provide their work as OER because of lack of responsible sharing. I guess, openness is required on part of the contributors to realize that in order to develop the culture, we would need to sacrifice some of our individual rights and interests for a collective movement and good. Awareness is a key as highlighted by Yousufzai (2015) in order to win confidence of the creators and distributors.

2. Searching Openly-licensed resources
I use, Google Images>Search Tools>Usage Rights,,,

I sometimes even contact owners of videos and other content to ask the permission to use the materials.

3. Advantages and disadvantages of open and closed technologies
Open technologies are free and accessible, however in my experience, some of them have quality issues. Lack of support available and sustainability/continuity of the software/application is also a challenge.
Closed technologies are more reliable with better quality and support but the cost and in some cases, lack of flexibility for changes can be a concern.

4. Implications of different open course and MOOC formats in relation to your learning experience on this course

For an open or MOOC course where collaboration by different institutions is the agenda, it is very important to choose a platform which easily accessible and replicable in varied contexts. Also structure is very important to guide learners to take this learning journey in parallel to multiple other engagements and flexible ways of participation to have a more strategic participation.

I think that core dimensions of open education explained in the framework by Inamorato dos Santos, Punie & Castaño-Muñoz (2016) also have implications on the effectiveness of open education. If the technology is accessible and content is relevant to the adult learning principles, there is more participation and less drop-out. When both content and pedagogy is based on collaboration where not all the content is created by instructors but participants also create content (through PBL products, discussions and blogs), it creates a learning community and sense of responsibility and value for contribution among team-members. Research and recognition is also important when the discussions are two-way and we keep on evaluating our assumptions and perspectives, assimilate the new ideas and sometimes even change them.


Inamorato dos Santos, A., Punie, Y., Castaño-Muñoz, J. (2016) Opening up Education: A Support Framework for Higher Education Institutions. JRC Science for Policy Report, EUR 27938 EN

Stephey, M. J. (2008). Lawrence Lessig: Decriminalizing the Remix. TIME.

Yousufzai, A. (2015). Pakistan needs to protect IP rights for academic and economic growth. Pro Pakistani.

Reflections on Topic 1. Connecting – online participation and digital literacies

I was born in the late eighties. This was a period in technology where many commands were given through MS-DOS and you needed dozens of floppy disks to install Windows OS. Children who were particularly interested in computers would learn programming languages such as QBasic. Growing up, I witnessed the advent and popularity of internet in South Asia and the transition from desktop to laptop, bulky mobile phones to smartphones, Modem to WIFI, and web-searching and programming to web 2.0 applications. I was a native and an immigrant at the same time as I was born in the times of technology but a very different one from today. I have done so many migrations, that the process of migrating or adapting to new technologies has become a second nature or say part of my digital native identity.

Aren’t we travellers anyways? This is the reason that the Visitor/Resident model of Web Engagement by White and Le Cornu (2011) really pulled my attention. I consider myself a native but I still have a learning curve before I become accustomed to new ways of learning and creating. I do participant in some online communities as a resident, maybe my Facebook. However, on a continuum in spaces of learning. I am more of a visitor with strategic objectives and plan for learning, to sometimes as a resident where I am on the platform almost all the time for example during my postgraduate degree on a blended format (White and Le Cornu, 2012). According to White and Le Cornu, 2012, sometimes visitors are better at learning because they know what to get out of the course and I can’t agree more. I have found many students for whom I have designed blended courses to follow the same digital visitor approach.

Another example of visitor identity can be my participation in ONL 162 course. I have particular strategies. When can I meet and when I can’t due to my work commitments? Where can I contribute more and how can I enhance my expertise in the area where I am not a novice? How to make the maximum use of the networking opportunities and exchange wonderful ideas among the participants? My identity also helps me in navigating the learning because I do not have to worry about the basics and make use of time for enhancing my knowledge and skills. I believe, PBL in this course is more interesting for me in this aspect as it is more close to reality and kind of virtual practical space for theoretical concepts. Such pedagogy also gives us a flavour of how communities of practice are formed and how they function (Kek and Huijser, 2015).

In this way, my identity of being an eLearning professional provides me with an anchor for self-concept both personally and professionally. As my identity is so integral to also informal online spaces where personal aspects play out, I use them very differently. For example, I will use Facebook for scouting learning opportunities as well. My scholarship for Masters degree was achieved through that space.

In a nutshell, we interact and connect with people based on the notion of belonging. The same applies to the online learning communities. We need a shared purpose and space to navigate our experiences. Our self-concept and knowledge about the digital literacies also come in handy, not for ourselves but also helping others to transit. We might be strategic or not, it is the immersive experience which helps us learn more.


Kek, M.Y.C. A. and Huijser, H. (2015). 21st century skills, problem based learning and the university of the future. In: Third 21st Century Academic Forum Conference: Facilitating, Fostering, and Harnessing Innovation to Meet Key Challenges of the 21st Century, 20-22 Sept 2015, Boston, USA.

White, D. and Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement.
First Monday, 16(9).

White, D. and Le Cornu, A. (2012). Digital Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment? OCLC Research. Link:


My name is Raheel Lakhani and I have worked as an associate for blended learning for around 4 years where I have trained university-faculty for integrating technology in their blended learning courses. As part of my work responsibilities, I also designed blended learning courses for the university in Pakistan and East Africa. Currently, I work as a manager, digital publication at an international publishing press.

I am a recipient of High Honors in Master of Education from The Aga Khan University. I also participated as a digital innovator in an academic scholarship program ‘Social Innovation in Digital Context’ at Lund University funded by Swedish Institute, where I explored the development of a digital storytelling approach for promotion of pluralistic and creative expression. From this program, I hold a Master of Arts in Technology and Social Change from the same program.

I am also a self-taught photographer, published in two coffee-table books and participated in few local and international competitions / exhibitions. His interests include eLearning pedagogy, learner’s autonomy, freedom of expression and pluralism, visual/textual narratives and digital collaborations.

I have joined ONL162 as an open-learner and looking forward to learning from course facilitators and participants. I believe, the diversity of group will make our learning more holistic and interesting.