First, thank you to the people involved in this program, from those who planned, created, and implemented the learning activities to the moderators to members of this cohort, and especially to the POT leadership crew for putting on the show.
What did I learn from this experience? I'm sure my two word response would not be helpful: "A lot."
The one thing (among many things) that stands out is the wealth of resources I was exposed to, not only from the text but from the videos, supplemental readings, and responses from the moderators and cohort members. I just need time to absorb it all. From all of these, the idea of personal learning networks has "plagued" (enlightened, haunted, stimulated--can't decide on the right word) my thinking for the last couple of weeks. The notion that students post their work into online learning management systems, and at the end of the semester, when the course closes, students no longer have access to that information seems counterintuitive. That educational portfolio should readily be available for as long as the student wants, and other frameworks should be established to faciliate that. I think back to my online educational experience, and it would have been neat to see what I've done, what I failed at, and what I would have changed now that I have a few more years under my belt. It would appear to me that there should be a market for server space that can easily integrate into another online course management system; again, this would be something like an e-portfolio where students can store their work but would interface with CMSs.
I think offering this flexibility into the program might be helpful: For each semester, instead of requiring one of the weekly readings and activities, participants should be encouraged to attend one of the POT workshops and substitute that as credit. This would be a nice way to catch up if you're swamped with other work and can't do the readings at the time but would rather do that later in the summer.
Next year's POT Program schedule seems exciting, especially more of the hands on stuff like creating websites using Google Sites and learning a bit of html. I think that's a good move. The organization seems to be tighter, too, with unit groupings that would help those new to the online environment better integrate what needs to be integrated (the creating class elements sections). Another suggestion would be to tweak the curriculum to reduce some of the readings and instead require participants to create an actual online course along the way. I am sure this will take a lot of work to tweak, but boy, wouldn't it be nice to end the program with an online class at the beginning stages of implementation. So, for Week 3 of the new offering, instead of just looking at the basics of course design, participants would actually implement those core concepts using one of the available CMS, or even something else they are familiar with. And for subsequent weeks, like the one on the Online Syllabus, having participants adapt their syllabus to be online friendly would be cool. Then they can talk about the process and changes they made from the original presentation. Whether the participant completes the entire syllabus or activity is not as important as starting it and being able to finish it later when time permits. I think the process of doing it also helps in reflecting on the pedagogy. My 2 cents.
For the planned activities for Week 12 for the next cohort, I would add a bit more to the "Check out Library Resources" assignment. I would suggest having participants test the 24/7 chat feature and see how it works. It's a resource many students throughout the nation are using, and our stats for that have been increasing every semester. I would also add a few practice searches targeting some databases like ProQuest, Virtual Reference Library, and a databaste of choice, especially from our Databases A to Z collection. That way, instructors can see what is and isn't available at our library. Maybe trying out an eBook would be cool, too?
Again, I would like to thank all involved in this program; I can't think of any other institution where faculty actively engage in helping each other succeed in the online environment, especially when they are not paid and they are doing it as a volunteer effort. The POT team should be commended for this!