StellaPORTO eportfolio

E-learning academics and practice

Initial trigger

First experience with online learning in Brazil

It was March 1999, when in maternity leave I found on the web information about this course called: “Online teaching”. Offered by Wilson Azevedo from Aquifolium

Wilson Azevedo

I had been for the last two years somewhat saturated with my extremely academic work in parallel processing. The publish-or-perish way of life had totally caught with me, and there would be very little chance to suddenly start working in another area. The daily routine at UFF was also taking its toll. I signed up with some anxiety, because I was not sure I would be able to keep up given the whole situation of a newborn and another 2-year-old son. But, that course was a trigger… Not just a trigger of discovering about the potential of online education, but the impact it had on my own face-to-face teaching. The concepts of constructivism and student-centered learning were part of the discussions, although not at the core. But, it was the full experience that suddenly opened my eyes to an enormous possibility for change, which I was eager to embrace. At the time, change meant realizing that I enjoyed teaching, and not hiding it under the lime light of great publications and obscure research projects. It was in the more mundane activity that my emotion seemed to connect the most. I say until this day that this change was due to the birth of my two sons. There was some sort of closer contact with my feminine nature through motherhood, which is clear to me, contributed to this re-encounter with teaching. I immediately jumped onto a new initiative at the university, where we were asked to be responsible for the teaching training of the master degree candidates. The federal government at the time wanted to make sure that students would leave the university with teaching skills as well as research competencies. It was the right thing to do, and nobody else wanted such kind of responsibility. However, the excitement last only one term and one group of students… at the end of July, we were faced with our biggest step ever… relocating to the US.

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