I’ve just received my certificate from Penn (University of Pennsylvania) for the course Growing Old Around the Globe. I was interested in the topic and I had a lot of knowledge about it. I thought that I’ll watch some of the lectures and follow the discussion forums a little. But actually I watched all the video lectures and did all the assignments and wrote all the feedback which was needed. The lectures were interesting and well implemented (they were discussions actually) but the course became international through the peer interaction in the assignments. I loved the way the facilitators guided us to work: first a source (video, image, poem, link or whatever) and then a short argumentation according to the choice. It was very easy and enjoyable. It was allowed to give full points to everyone, no demands of a normal curve.
The most important thing for me was to find my own thoughts concerning the theme Growing Old. I have knowledge and I got more information during the course, but I had to connect my experiences and my private life with my thoughts. The process opened my eyes. I became aware about my ideas at this moment. I loved the peer feedback from all over the world. If I told that I live in Finland, I got feedback about living in the Scandinavian countries. It is important that feedback is anonymous and that’s why I used examples from my private life more than ever. Growing old is a very personal experience. Of course we handled all the possible levels of ageing as well, but the personal level touched me the most.
The best surprise concerning the feedback was that my peer students understood me so perfectly. I did not expect it, because the assignments were short cuts of my life and my thoughts. I could see myself in their feedback and I wonder how well they followed my presentations. My style is very personal and original and I hesitated over my choices, but everything went just as I wanted. I received full points for every task, but the understanding in the peer feedback was the real prize. There were 8900 students from 143 countries and the course was open to everyone. How is it possible that all my reviewers could follow me? It is a mystery 🙂
The course was designed very wisely and it worked well. I did much more than I intended. Thanks to Sarah Kagan and Anne Shoemaker and all the guest experts. Growing old around the globe is a theme which must be worked on and shared continuously and you showed the way forward in the last webcast. We have the Facebook group and many other networks in use. All these aren’t made for the old, they are planned with us old people. So we will use them.