Learning without walls

As a distance education student learning without walls is not a new concept to me. The learning modules provide readings, videos and resources from around the world and we discuss them asynchronously in forums and via social media. We also have the opportunity to engage synchronously with the subject coordinator and other students with online meetings using Adobe Connect. I can search and read library resources anywhere that I have an internet connection and at anytime. Now that I am up to my fifth subject, I feel pretty comfortable in my CSU digital learning environment (DLE). I have also brought other tools such as Evernote, Twitter and Diigo into this environment that help me to learn.

Initially I was apprehensive about my first group work assignment via distance learning. My initial fears were soon put to rest as part of Group 5.2. Group 5.2 worked collaboratively and without walls by using a variety of communication and collaboration tools to produce a digital citizenship learning module that we could be proud of Donald Tapscott calls these kinds of tools “weapons of mass collaboration” (Richardson, 2008, para. 20):

  • Google Docs
  • Google Hangouts
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Skype
  • Diigo
  • Pealtrees
  • ETL523 wiki

We shared tools and resources, offered technical guidance and expertise to each other and provided feedback. Team members felt safe enough to discuss the trials and tribulations of the tools they used (or attempted to use) to create their individual artefacts and asked for advice when necessary. We even introduced each other to our pets on Skype!

Although we all came from far afield suburbs in Melbourne we were very fortunate to be able to meet face to face during the school holidays. The wifi wasn’t sufficient in the cafe but we were able to hotspot using our mobile phones to stay connected. With sufficient infrastructure learning really can happen anywhere and at anytime.


I really enjoyed the experience of assignment 1. Group 5.2 supported each other and put into practice much of what we had been learning in the ETL523 modules about digital citizenship.



Richardson, W. (2008, December 3). World without walls: Learning well with others. Edutopia.
Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/collaboration-age-technology-will-richardson.

4 Comments on Learning without walls

  1. Glenda Morris
    May 14, 2016 at 11:09 am (5 years ago)

    I feel very lucky to have been part of the fantastic Team 5.2. We worked really well together and made the most of the DLE environment that this course and subject has provided. We made the most of our locality within Melbourne to meet up over a working lunch, but as you rightly stated the cafe wifi struggled so we made use of our phones’ hot spots to make the learning happen.

  2. Julie Lindsay
    May 19, 2016 at 4:57 am (5 years ago)

    You make me smile Karen – and thank you for reminding me about that Tapscott quote! I was in touch with Tapscott in those days – around 2008-9, in fact we brought him in virtually to speak at our first Flat Classroom Conference in Doha in 2009.
    Such resourcefulness while completing this assignment! I admire your work and tenacity.

    • kmalbon@internode.on.net
      May 19, 2016 at 7:14 am (5 years ago)

      It is such a great quote Julie! Thank you for your kind words, they have given me a boost on the home stretch of assignment two.