When I started this certification, I did not have much experience with online. The knowledge I had came from three main experiences from when I was a graduate student: first, a course in the fundamentals of online teaching; second, an opportunity to teach a section of an online linguistic course and finally, my experience teaching multimodal composition. The foundational course in online learning provided me with some background information and introduced me to the Quality Matters rubric. My teaching experience will increase my knowledge in technology, design and the creation of lecture videos.
In many ways, my knowledge of OLI theory was minimal (or if I had one, I was not particularly aware of it) in the sense that while I had some training in online learning, it was not specifically related to the teaching of writing and literacy. And interestingly, I had not imagined some of my activities as a multimodal composition instructor as falling within the ambit of OLI. Over the past months, since I have been enrolled in the GSOLE certification program, I have had the opportunity to learn about theories of online learning as it is related specifically to the teaching of writing and writing center work. Not only has the experience helped me to think theoretically about my practices as an OLI instructor, I have also come to learn to be intentional about what I do in the classroom.
Now when I think of OLI, I see that it is an amalgamation of all kinds of disciplinary perspectives including those in education, instructional design and technology, rhetoric and composition pedagogy and so on. I have come to appreciate the important role that discussion within our field (rhetoric, composition and literacy studies) actually contribute to knowledgemaking in an online course. Ultimately, instead of measuring the efficacy of my practices based solely on a set of rubrics that likely overemphasizes technology, I have gained much knowledge that helps me understand how issues of context should drive the choices we make as instructors (and students) in the OLI classroom. Now I am able to articulate my OLI theory as one informed by a perspective that is rhetorical, critical, transnational and transdisciplinary.