Monday, November 30, 2015

Our feelings about the GROOC ... Our GROOC learning

Laura Cardenas and Cristiane Bonezzi are both part of the group of 31 online facilitators of McGill’s MOOC for groups (GROOC): Social Learning for Social Impact. This EdX online course is being developed with the collaboration of the department of Teaching and Learning Services, as well as well-known academics from the Desautels faculty.

Cristiane Bonezzi, an environmental and international cooperation specialist with twelve years experience in managing relationships with stakeholders in the public, private and academic sectors and who is deeply concerned about social justice, educational and environmental issues.

Laura Cardenas, a solutions-driven Industrial Relations student at McGill University who is eager to find new opportunities that contribute to the community. She is passionate about working in team environments where the main goal is to learn from each other; always aspiring that the only and greatest possible outcome is to become a better version of ourselves to offer the world.

Cristiane’s reflections:

“I feel that this initiative started having an impact on my life one year ago, when I was invited to take part in the taping sessions of the course. First of all, it was for me enlightening to discover not only that there were so many like-minded people, but also that they were at our reach, in the same room, learning together and having discussions about common concerns and possible solutions for our world. The exchanges we’ve had with those people, both attendees and professors, filled me with hope.

Just to give you a brief overview of the extent to which it has reshaped our lives, after the tapings, Lucas (my husband, who also joined the taping sessions) and I decided to rent our house, quit our jobs and go on a six month road trip in a campervan with our little dog, Neo. The idea behind it was to disconnect – or should I say reconnect, with our soul, with each other, with nature – to visit and learn about social and environmental initiatives, to do voluntary work along the way and simplify our lives. In the process both of us also ended up deciding to go back to school. All that started because we’ve been questioning ourselves about so many issues, habits and beliefs, and we thought each of those actions would give us answers. The fact is that we haven’t been getting any answers, but even more questions. What’s more, I’m actually excited about not having THE right answer, but acknowledging that we learn as we go and that there are several possibilities!

Now that we’re back and volunteering as a facilitator for the GROOC, once more, I felt the power of the connections on refilling my energies and hope. I’ve noticed that the more I meet other facilitators in person, either on facilitators meetings, at working hours at the GROOC room or even just for a coffee at the end of the day, the better I feel, the more connected and ready to take action I feel. That’s why I immediately accepted the suggestion of joining forces with Laura in our facilitation duties. We’re now co-facilitating 12 teams and the opportunity of having someone to interact with, exchanging ideas on the groups, being listened to and listening to another point of view is very enriching. Besides the practical benefits for this social initiative purposes, meeting and sharing with others makes me feel more alive and happy overall as a person.”

Laura’s reflections:

“This initiative has a spillover effect on many different socio-cultural aspects, as such being concise becomes complicated. Starting on how I perceive the cultural impact, what a better way to explain it than by giving an example of my own experience. As a brief note, I was born and raised in Colombia for the majority of my life, a country I adore and a culture to which I identify myself. Recently, for the sake of excelling on my facilitation duties, I have joined forces with Cristiane; a Brazilian facilitator with whom I have had the pleasure of exchanging ideas, being listened to and listening to other points of view. Besides the chance of practicing my Portuguese during our meetings, I have learned a great deal from her perception of the world. Having the opportunity to work together has been a very enriching experience that I am fully enjoying.

Being a member of this project has allowed me to explore myself, to share myself with others, and on the macro and societal level, it has given me hope! Being able to grow as a person is directly influencing my behavior towards my surrounding. At this point, I am proud to say that I am able to perceive how the power of interconnectedness within like-minded individuals is the biggest reward that this volunteering position could have offered me.”


  1. Pleasure to learn from and lean on you two. Personally, I didn't imagine my return to Montreal would lead me to McGill and to an experience like this GROOC - an experience, an initiative, and experiment that is still unfolding. Laura, Kika, here's to an even more purposeful 2016!

  2. Thanks for sharing Laura and Kika. Looking forward to seeing how things evolve for our groups and our facilitators. It has definitely been an enriching and inspiring journey so far!