I hope that this review will help Luz Pearson and I facilitate the Spanish Connectivism MOOC, TIOD10
I would suggest that you are the one to organize your learning. You can create a blog and write your summaries there. Or you can attend the live sessions or even participate in the moodle…I only participate in the moodle when I found an idea that attracts my attetion.Consider your schedule, do you work? , do you have a family? and so on. Try to enjoy as much as you can, dont’ try to follow everything, it’s impossible.
What I am suggesting is that if you want to make the network viable for a (diverse) range of participants, you need to build the bridges for them to ‘ease into’ the network, rather than asking everyone to jump in the same deep end. A single “deep-end-fits-all” forum isnt an affordance for everyone, its a dis-fordance.
One of the more frustrating (but necessary) experiences in a course like this is letting go of the desire to personally manage and consume all of the information in the course. In CCK09, this task is handled by the network that you form with other learners. You’ll find a few individuals that you are comfortable with – perhaps their ideas resonate with you, perhaps you find their way of thinking intriguing. From these initial connections, you will progressively form a growing social and conceptual network.
I agree – the solution to managing complexity of conversation is not to reduce conversation flow but to adopt personal learning networks/environments to assist in managing flow and making sense of what’s happening.
This is a similar theme to last year’s course. The flow of conversation is too intense to master it all. Focus instead on forming a few connections and growing your learning network. As stated at the start – this course mirrors in function what Stephen and I say about connectivism in theory. Rely on the feedback loop of networks to discuss and address challenges, frustrations. Once you get totally overwhelmed trying to manage the information flow through traditional methods, networks eventually become more appealing.
Some (especially the new CCK09 participants) might have expected the instructors (George and Stephen) to facilitate or moderate the forum discussion, as in a typical on-line course. However, they might have noticed that George and Stephen would more likely meet them in the Elluminate session instead.
Talk #1 about the Connectivism Course with Stephen Downes, Alec Couros, George Siemens and Leigh Blackall
1200 people sign up for a very cool Connectivism Course… but what is it?
Deciding who are the “good informants” in your learning network
Research opportunities are enormous. MOOCs are uncharted, largely undocumented, territory. This course will produce a significant amount of data – both quantitative and qualitative. Short version: this’ll be a lot of fun. I’m not sure if the model we are working with is the future of education. If not, at least we’ve found one more model that it isn’t. I’ll confidently state that some view of learning as networked – whether conceived as connectivism or an alternative theory – is the future of education. It’s getting those details right that’s the problem…
The structure of this course – as mentioned at the beginning – is to have participants experience connectivism rather than to convince people of its value. What does that mean? Well, for starters, it means that participants have greater autonomy than would exist in a regular course. It means the conversation is more chaotic. It means that we’re always missing something. Everyone is. Some important conversation, somewhere, is being overlooked. Why is that so discomforting?
It’s discomforting because it goes agains the very principles that we have come to expect form education. We expect the academy to be a place that provide clarity, a path forward. In fact, we view it as the obligation of the academy. When we then step into a course and discover the conversation is distributed and that the expected frameworks for telling us what to think don’t exist, we get disoriented.
But isnt’ that life??
Isn’t that how real learning occurs? In business? In our personal lives? Who actually possesses a framework fo sensemaking in advance of encountering novel problems?
The Daily CCK09 connectivism course newsletter was not available to the course participants during 4 days. I wanted to know what other participants were feeling without The Daily so I started a thread in the Moodle forum
Learner control is not without frustration for the instructor. I recall feeling a bit frustrated that the concept of connectivism that I was trying to communicate – the neural, conceptual, and social/external dimensions of networked learning (expressed in this presentation)- was not resonating with participants. As many theorists in education have stated, what’s important for learning is not what the educator has to share, but the current state of knowledge and interest of the learner. My attempt to move the conversation in one direction was not successful in this instance because participants were not interested in engaging in the concepts I presented. End result: learners took the course in directions that reflected their needs and interests. Not the instructors.
This paper reports the results of a survey conducted among the CCK08 attendants. The aim was to analyze learners’ views about the multi-tool environments adopted in the course and to give some suggestions for setting up multi-tool course environments.
by Christy Tucker – Wednesday, 14 October 2009, 06:07 AM
With self-motivated adult students, it can be successful to just let people self-select tools and do their own thing. With younger students, you may have to limit choices to something more realistic (not remove their ability to make a choice, but to provide 2-3 ways to work rather than 8-10). You might also have to do more nurturing students of how to select appropriate tools. Depending on your audience, even adult students may need help learning how to pick tools. If you’re nurturing them to make their own decisions, then that still seems to fit within connectivism to me. What do you think?
by Jane Brotchie – Monday, 19 October 2009, 03:21 AM
How to nurture and support learners is the heart of the matter for me. From my own experience so far on this course I think it is exciting and inspiring but I’m sure there are many people who have already dropped out or reduced their level of activity. Perhaps that’s part of the process for this course. It is pitched at Masters’ level and the members are a confident group. Some may also be leaving because they have got what they came for.
But if I am designing a course for my adult learners, I want them to build in confidence and to stay motivated. For this, it seems to me that there is a role for tutor and peer support being an articulated part of the course design. I don’t think this needs to shift the power away from the learner.
For educators, control is being replaced with influence. Instead of controlling a classroom, a teacher now influences or shapes a network.
The following are roles teacher play in networked learning environments:
3. Wayfinding and socially-driven sensemaking
7. Persistent presence
I think Stephen and George could choose another way to describe this experience rather than use the word ‘course’. The word ‘course’ has many traditional connotations that do not seem to fit what they are trying to do here. They could then make it explicit what they are trying to do in terms of introducing a new learning experience. For example, they could have a list of things that you should NOT expect from this learning experience (e.g. tutor support) and a list of things that you SHOULD expect – e.g. to make your own choices about how you will connect to people to find the information you need, to determine your own curriculum, to determine your own assessment criteria, to determine your own assessment methods, to determine your own success criteria, to set your own priorities, to order you own learning environment etc. – whatever it is that they see as the key learning elements.
It seems to me that a teaching approach that takes account of connectivism, is one that fosters learner autonomy, so that learners are encouraged to make their own choices and decisions, making use of the extensive resources that are now available to them on the web. If education is to result in people having increased choice and control over their lives, then it must model this from the bottom up.
In other words, the teacher’s role is one of supporting learners in their ability to make appropriate connections to the subject content and to other learners (where learner means anyone who is learning, at all levels of experience and expertise). The teacher’s own personal philosphy of education will affect how these connections are supported, where, with whom and with what. So a teacher may focus on supporting the students in connecting with the subject, e.g. physics. This might involve lectures in traditional lecture halls, but with connectivism in mind, the lecturere might also point students to the possibilities of connecting with physics networks. Or a teacher may focus on supporting students in connecting with each other in a group, with the purpose of exchanging experiences or collaborative working on a project.
Community building. I’m a bit of a community freak. I’m in the online stuff for the community as much as the learning… I like to hear about people’s lives as much as their professional accomplishments, I learn from their mores as much as their knowledge. I would have liked a bit more sanctioned community building directed from the top, to help scaffold the organicness of the groups that are out there… but that’s just me.
To be true to these four characteristics of connectivism, the course ‘tutors’/facilitators (whatever you wish to call them) need to take a ‘hands off’ approach, and that is where I think CCKO8 experienced the most problems. These problems were related to the fact that
- many people still have very traditional views of what we mean by course and the role of a tutor within a course
- the tutors were sometimes inconsistent in their approach – so we could view the lack of intervention in ’sparring’ that went on in the forums as a ‘hands-off’ approach, but then the choice of exemplary posts to be included in the ‘Daily’ is a very ‘hands-on’ approach.
Professionally and intellectually all this is great. But I think after this class is over, the blogs I’ll come back to, the people I want to know better, may not be the ones whose work stretches my intellect or changes my approach to work, although those were the connections I initially hoped to make. They may be the ones, like Ruth Demitroff, with much wiser things to say. They may be the ones posting beautiful pictures of their walk in the woods with their dog. And the things I’ll treasure will be things like Ed’s whiskey haikus, Ken’s bizarre satires, and Mike’s visiting with me in Second Life and playing guitar on video.
I hoped the live sessions would be highly interactive, and I’m sure our instructors did too. But the focus is always on some sort of presentation, the lecture mode, but with backchannel chat and questions. Our instructors and their guests present, with slides they control. We listen, and are invited to comment with open microphones, but we students do not set the subjects for discussion and it’s hard to take the lead.
So as a moderator in this situation of a large course and fierce debate in some of the threads, what would be my responsibility to participants who feel intimidated and therefore won’t post. I suppose the alternatives for these participants would include:
* find smaller/calmer discussion threads/groups to join
* connect through means other than moodle discussion forums – blogs etc.
* join the live sessions – Elluminate/Ustream
* exploit opportunities for making connections between concepts/ideas, through reading, listening, observing and ’lurking’
* find like-minded participants and set up your own small groups
* recognise that participation in forum discussion is voluntary not obligatory
As connectivists, we already have many tools to continue connecting and learning: our blogs, Twitter, Delicious, Twitter Search, Google Blog Search.
- learners can learn autonomously in the time and space of their choosing,
- they can negotiate their own curriculum and define their own learning paths
- they can find, select, analyse and synthesise the information they need from a variety of different sources,
- they have the skills to make meaning of this information, both working alone and with others, and thus extend their knowledge
I haven’t yet worked out where the teacher and assessment fit into this. I’m hoping that I will understand this better by the end of the course.
The research found that autonomy, diversity, openness and connectedness/interactivity are indeed characteristics of a MOOC, but that they present paradoxes which are difficult to resolve in an online course. The more autonomous, diverse and open the course, and the more connected the learners, the more the potential for their learning to be limited by the lack of structure, support and moderation normally associated with an online course, and the more they seek to engage in traditional groups as opposed to an open network. These responses constrain the possibility of having the positive experiences of autonomy, diversity, openness and connectedness/interactivity normally expected of an online network.
To a large extent, blogging and forum use correlated with specific individual learning styles and media affordances: the use of blogs was associated with the ability to create personal space for personal learning, quiet reflection and developing personal relationships with bloggers and others. The use of forums was associated with fast paced challenging interaction, relationships based on sharing of ideas, more open discussion and more links to the discussed themes and bigger picture.
Given the high proportion of working educators in the MOOC, pushing the more concrete topics late into the course schedule was frustrating
Perhaps the lack of material on how one applies connectivism with actual learners is a sign that connectivism is so new that nobody’s gotten around to seriously addressing that question yet. Perhaps the lack of material on how one applies connectivism with actual learners is a sign that connectivism is so new that nobody’s gotten around to seriously addressing that question yet.
What I wonder is, did 2000 original particpants leave the course or are some still involved? Does someone have a handle on this? What is the feeling about the success or failure of this course?
So, what is an open decentralized course? Based on work that I’ve done with Stephen, and open decentralized course is built on a connectivist model of learning: emphasizing learner autonomy, reducing barriers to connection forming, emphasizing participation, sensemaking and wayfinding through social and technological networks, and encouraging serendipitous connections through diversity (of ideas and participants).
@Stephan Downes above:”I don’t see the value in shutting the instructors up.”
The Daily is an instructor created platform – a lectern. From the “front of the room” (the daily is often referred to as the most valuable starting place) the instructor is more than allowed to speak (“I don’t see the value in shutting the instructors up.”) but is AMPLIFIED. I was dismayed at the “head patting” amid comments being included in the Daily, too. As an alternative, the instructor could link to his/her blog from the daily where any comments would then be framed as from a single participant not from the leader. It’s not that I’m not interested in what Stephan says, I am. However, I’m not interested in a course structure that automatically amplifies one viewpoint over the others.
So, what make sense to the learner may not be what the instructor wants to do. And whether connectivism could really achieve this would depend on the learning paradigm adopted by the learner, not only the teacher. For me, I take the stance of a learner (while I am a teacher by profession). But I may not be connected to others, as others may be avoiding me as I am a “teacher”. These are just my speculation. With the same token, George and even Stephen took a stand-off role in some ways, to let go of the teacher’s hat. But, what are the reactions of the participants?
But conceiving of a course in this distributed way, does raise some questions.
* How do learners make sense of learning when the course is distributed across a network? (I think Dave asked this)
* Does this degree of flexibility enhance or constrain learning?
* What is the role of the teacher in this type of course?
* Where does responsibility for each other begin and end in such a course?
The only thing I would change would be to add a ‘Help’ forum – a place where the ‘technologically’ challenged can go and receive help from the network to make the learning process smoother. It is difficult to keep up with the content and fully engage with the ideas, when a lot of your time is being spent getting your head round the technology.
The subjects addressed in this course are new to a majority. And it is not sufficient to recommend a reading and listening to a lecture so that they feel they are qualified to opine on the issue correctly.
The overall message was the same. It is an open course. We can and should pick and choose when, where, how, what and with whom we learn – all as in CCK08. We can come and go as we want – but Stephen suggested that we take part in 4 activities:
You may be used to other courses, where all the action happens inside the learning management system. While our course website may be an interesting place, we do not want it to be the only place this course happens.
Because participants are using a course tag, #change11, you do not need to depend on us to find content. You can do it yourself by searching for the tag. Here are some sample searches:
– #change11 Twitter search
– #change11 Google search
– #change11 search on Delicious
What would be the effect of not offering synchronous sessions in a MOOC? Are MOOCs reliant on synchronous sessions? Do synchronous sessions dominate to the detriment of other modes of learning in a MOOC?
It just occurred to me today, as I chose my blog not only for writing but also for storing the links to the various formal aspects of the class (such as the Connectivism Blog, the wiki, the Daily, etc) and my aggregator for storing the feeds I want to follow (including this Moodle forum) that essentially our first assignment is creating our own Personal Learning Environment.
This is My PLE (Personal Learning Environment) for the CCK09 Connectivism Open Online Course
Rather Random | How to participate in an open online course
A Brief Guide To Understanding MOOCs – ISPUB
MoocGuide – 5. Self regulated learning and coping with MOOC abundance
25 Tips For A Better MOOC Experience | TeachThought
Why do people leave online or networked learning? | Learner Weblog
‘Open space rewards consensus and punishes dissent’ « Jenny Connected
How This Course Works ~ PLENK 2010