The Internet has made its way into classrooms around the world. As time passes by, it is more common to see entire schools adapting to on-line activities, such as reading articles from websites, sharing less with friends, giving feedback on portfolios, and posting compositions in platforms. In this Teaching Development Course, it was not any different and I believe this e-learning technique was the highlight of my entire Casa Thomas Jefferson experience so far. Since, for now, there has been nothing like it in any other semester of the T.D.C., it is of extreme importance that this blended course not only survive but also spread over the semesters, making it a natural environment where students and teachers can learn a lot from each other and from this amazing tool called “the Internet”.
Initially, I was not so sure about this whole idea of being in classroom once a week; however, it did not take me more than a week to realize it would result in a great experience. Writing the essays was incredibly fun, since there was constant feedback from my classmates and teacher. This way, all students were able to learn how to listen to different opinions, how to choose the correct words when giving feedback, how to be flexible enough to change what they are told to. Had it been a classroom-based course, all of that might not have been in our package, for it would all be concentrated in the hands of the teacher. Thus, this democratization was one of the greatest things the Internet brought to the Writing Course.
Besides, looking back at all the assignments, the time factor was equally important to the quality of my essays. The fact that I could, with ease, write, edit, and send my essays whenever I wanted to not only saved me time but also gave me a sense of freedom. Furthermore, when it came to sharing, having this on-line communication was fundamental. I could receive feedback as soon as somebody read it, being this right after I posted it or in the middle of the night, while I was asleep, which would never happen as quickly if this method had not been not implemented. There is no doubt that the amount of time we all had in this Writing Course contributed to all my drafts.
Some might say the blended course took a bit of the oral practice away from the students, since some of the classes that were supposed to be spent in the classroom were spent behind a computer. However, from now on, depending on how it is done, the verbal skills can also be developed in connection with the writing. For instance, a student has finished his/her essay and, instead of receiving textual feedback, he/she receives an audio file containing opinions and suggestions from his/her peer.
All of the points above only serve to show how important it is to have this blended course going on forever. The Internet’s influence will invade the classrooms anyway; so, the ones who use it for their benefit will be the smartest. Sincerely, I had never thought I would enjoy this course as much as I did. The online classes gave a big twist to the entire learning experience, and I cannot see the Writing Course happening without the Internet anymore. It was a real pleasure, XOXO.