Rhizo14 in Sunlight and in Shade, part 3

I’ll continue with my reflections on the article by Jenny Mackness and Frances Bell (Open Praxis 1, 25-38). The research article is close to my own interests to follow learning in open MOOCs and I know the researchers and appreciate their aim to get deeper insight into open online learning: What is going beneath the surface? Perhaps this article will be remembered for its results concerning the light and dark sides of participants’ experiences and the ethical implications around this issue. So I think that I have to handle this theme here in my blog.

My orientation comes from psychology and I interpret the happenings in Rhizo14 as usual interaction problems between people who have different expectations. I commented immediately when the worst (?) misunderstanding influenced the atmosphere in the course. What is an attack or what is honest feedback? This question is still unresolved and people speak passing different opinions while following only their own truth. Jenny comments in her blog (March 5 Light and Schade)

But the paper seems, for some readers, to have further polarized discussion about the learning experience in Rhizo14, making the light and shade even more obvious and oppositional than it was before. An emerging light for me is that some of the issues that were raised by the paper are being discussed, which is surely a better outcome than the paper being ignored.

My opinion is that the principles of connectivism are ideals or dreams of what human interaction were at its best. People are not autonomous, they live in the prison of their own mind and life history. They are defensive and only partly conscious about their needs. When one man is facilitating an open course for hundreds of participants, he is seen as a guru, a father, an enemy or whatever. Very few people are interested in what he really says and what are his aims. When I read my own blog about Rhizo14 times yesterday I found these comments useful: Jaap Febr 4 2014

.. rhizo people do share a culture? Inhabitants of that global village recognizing some shared interest. Nobody ever uses the Global Village any more.
Dave Cormier is an artist, his questions are more and more stupid and yet most people stay in the course and try to answer. Does that make the rhizo course a kind of congregation?

Another comment that touched me was Simon Ensor’s saying that he participates in Rhizo in an affinity space. That could be a key for deeper interpretations.

There is plenty of research about human interaction in open courses. Mariana Funes mentioned T-groups in her blog post. They were called Sensitivity Training groups in Finland when I brought the idea to the university education for psychologists. The frame was social psychology and all the concepts were well grounded in both social sciences and practice. The process and its phases are well-known psychological knowledge:
1. positive (fall in love) and careful (inner control by participants)
2. incident (I had to use dictionary and learned that incident has a negative connotation)
3. emotional stir up > after that people know each other better and the atmosphere changes, more commitment and identification with the group
4. new level of trust and better collaboration etc.
Shortly said: forming> storming> norming> performing> mourning.
BUT if we are a crowd or network or tribe or whatever is the new concept which describes cMOOCs – we should have new concepts for the process – or do we deny the process and “just network”. Do we need new ethics for free networking?

I have lost my focus on what I intended to say today, but
I want to end this post with a EdTechTalk video about The ethics of innovation in education.

Open online learning in this blog during rhizo14

The assessment process is going on in the rhizo14 uncourse. It would be most popular to make a Zeega with music and rapidly changing images. Digital culture offers great new possibilities and learning is complex: so we need new artistic media. I’ve nothing against that direction but this time I’ll follow my old style and try to combine practice with theoretical concepts. I try to describe what happened in this blog when we tried to understand learning in our uncourse. My interest was to understand the conditions for well-working online community. I blogged and some old and new friends came to comment on my posts.

My first post in Jan 29th ended in some kind of hype: we have a possibility to create something quite undone earlier in online communities. Jaap understood me at once and was ready to continue. That clumsy sentence meant that I had a hunch about something new, I could not explain what and why, but there were possibilities in the air.

My way was to continue with scientific concepts which could help us in understanding our doings. Actually Jaap had written a post about roles of participants first. Sense of virtual community was my post on Febr 4th and I used a short slideshare of a Finnish researcher Miia Kosonen. In this post I offered some basic concepts to use in exploring in our participation. The comments of Jaap, Tanya, Mariana inspired me and I remembered also my earlier posts about a similar topic (bond or identity based commitment). Jaap gave me the concepts congregation and market, Tanya described her paths and gave me better English to use, Mariana handled power dynamics and choices of trust or not trust. I stepped from my social and cognitive psychology & sociology to the field of communication on the internet. I need a model for describing  the process, in which participants’ experiences meet the scientific concepts.

nonakaThis is a famous model about knowledge creation in innovative workplaces or projects, made by Nonaka and Takeuchi. I suppose that most of my blog’s readers know it and have used it in some contexts. This could still be a good model for understanding the learning events: how tacit knowledge is shared and externalised/ internalised and connected in new ways. The learning event has not changed, we can still use these concepts. A team was the concept used about the participants and it had similar ideas as a network has nowadays: there must be diversity and it must be used in the working process.

This blog received comments from Jaap, Sarah, Tanya, Mariana, Matthias, Frances, Jenny, Rita, Dave, Simon, Pat, Kathleen and Mark and some more in the Facebook. I referred to Apostolos, Ann, Maha, Maureen, Kevin, Viplav and Terry. My first idea was to write the names or faces of all the participants around the model, but soon I understood that it is not possible to put a name only in one place. The real interaction is too complex. (Or should it be a Prezi or Zeega to describe the process and its quick changes?) It was important to notice that people commented to each other, not only to my writings. I think Frances and Jenny were very good at this. They took the whole topic in her hands.

Everyone brought his/her voice into the learning process.  All the differences are valuable and can be used as a step in the spiral process.  It is a collaborative process open to people who want to bring their voices in participation. I don’t describe every post and every event in this process, that would sound boring even it is interesting in my mind. You can read the ten posts and make your own conclusion if you want. There are excellent links, which are worth opening. A rich material indeed.

What is success in this working process? To me it means that my understanding about online communities and learning in them has deepened. I have a feeling that I know these phenomena and the diversity inside them. I also see many borders in my understanding: for instance the participation funnel of open online courses could have been handled more and I have a hunch that it could explain the inclusion/exclusion phenomena. If we don’t see the exclusion process going on, we must be blind (or defensive actually). There are a lot of open questions and there will be more.

What were the emotionally touching moments during the course? I mentioned the enthusiasm with Jaap at the beginning of the course (to do something great, undone before this). It is a normal phase of a community building: get engaged> forming> storming> norming> performing> mourning.  The next emotionally touching event to me was Dave’s comment to Jenny in her blog and the FB group. I had to handle it in my blog “the community is the curriculum” and I could forgive the event after his apologies. How to handle the mistakes made during the process, it tells about the quality of interaction (authentic, honest vs pretended). It was a storming> norming phase simultaneously with working and collaborating.  Now I can see much emotional support in the FB group, when the course is ending and we have the mourning phase going on.

One happy fact still: I found a solution to my problem “how to find interesting books which I want to read”. I went to the local university library and learnt that anyone can borrow books there. I got a card and came home  with McLuhan and Rheingold and some other books. I can easily find the shelf of communication science and will visit there in the future. Perhaps this solution came to my mind when folks were pondering the connection between books and stupidity 🙂

I have often had a feeling of re-inventing the wheel. I have written better posts about similar topics some years ago. Here comes a slideshare from Vahid Masrour: Participation Spiral. I used it also in November 2010.



Footprints of emergence: open/structure and interactive environment

I want to continue my journey to understand learning dynamic using the methodology of the research project Footprints of emergence and connecting my experiences during edcmooc, E-Learning and Digital Cultures. I want to continue all the areas and the factors today and then I’ll take a longer break. First the area open/structure and its seven factors, then interactive environment which includes seven factors. These areas are the part of the emergence circle.


Open/structure means the creative tension between openness and structure. Some structure is needed in every course. How to describe this area more accurately:

Risk means movements from risk to safe,  safe to fail and risk-taking. For experienced moocers edcmooc was a safe environment. There was little to fail at, only many interesting opportunities to prove new and learn. Light area = sweet emergence.

Liminal space varies from conservative, traditional, fixed to the opposite = strange transformations and metamorphoses. The course edcmooc was in the hands of experienced participants leading to many unexpected experiences. Darker outer= sharp emergence, challenging learning.

Ambiguity means closely defined meaning at one end of the dimension and open to several simultaneous meanings at the other end. High level of diversity (participants and their products, resources) led to several simultaneous meanings from across the globe. The participants lived in all continents and there was many language groups in use (not for Finnish people, we use English). Is this darker outer zone again?

Unpredictable outcomes from fixed, micro-managed outcome to surprising, serendipitous, unpredictable outcomes. Edcmooc tempted toward the latter and I was not the only one who loved unpredictable products and thoughts. I learned more than I expected to, and it was nice and full of joy, not uncomfortable at all. Sweet zone or darker outer?

Disruption varies from comfort and familiarity to unsettling, inverting and challenging. It was mostly comfortable to study, listen the videos and take part in the discussions. I used Prezi in my final work for the first time, but I had ideas to use it earlier. There was recommendations to use more difficult devices, but I was free to choose what I wanted. Sweet zone perhaps?

Self-correction. Hierarchical control or self-correcting system? We used the Coursera platform but experienced students offered more choices. What could be self-corrective in Coursera? The facilitators reflected and listened but the original curriculum was not changed, only some extra was taken there. What is the zone? Stable or sweet?

Multipath: only one way or multiple options? In the recommended resources there was much optional and we used Twitter, Google+, Facebook group etc. Many blogs we in use and comments received there. A course could not be more multipath, I think. Which zone means the full marks?

Then to the other area, on the right in Footprints circle. Interactive environment is the heading and it means the way openness vs. structure is realised in practice. I notice that I described that already above, I had problems with separating the curriculum from real events.

Diversity from few, standardised resources to large range of resources and people. Edcmooc offered high level of diversity, thousands of students from every continent, young and old. OK, not from Antartica. It was really open, how to mark that?

Experiential from objective, abstract to embodied, immersed, practice-based. A lot of practice-based experiences were shared and the final work. digital artefact was practice to everyone. Sweet learning, really and challenging sometimes.

Adaptive from fixed to responsive, innovative, creative. The facilitators responded to participants concerns. I don’t remember any changes made to curriculum, but it is possible. Sweet area?

Co-evolution from fixed, hierarchical relationships to mutual adaptation and growth: the latter was true in edcmooc. Feedback and assessments were mutual and the facilitators wrote a blog as a team and reflected transparently  all the time. Lots of evidence of mutual growth was promoted by the atmosphere and facilitators’ expertise. I want to give full marks.

Frequent inter-action and networking from bounded learning space with walls to open, diverse networking learning. Edcmooc had Coursera platform and you had to sign in, but it is not a problem I suppose. It is good the have a place for interactions. And there was a lot of places for interaction outside the platform, more than anyone could use. You had to choice. Full marks.

Trust from competitive self-interest to mutual respect, support and growth. This is the most important question about the course culture, I think. This factor must always be in assessment boxes. Edcmooc lived in the mutual respect and support side and it was a great experience. Experienced participants begun this culture and the facilitators continued with us, mutually.  Full points.

Theory of mind means either interaction with objects or interactions with other subjects minds. The latter seems very demanding, but because of all described in this post, I could claim that we had interaction between our minds.

It is time to summarise my footprints but a break is needed. Perhaps on Monday, let’s see what my mind says 🙂



Footprints of emergence: agency

In this post I’ll handle the agency quadrant of the Footprints, which I am studying in order to understand better learner dynamics. The entity which I want to describe, is the course E-learning and Digital cultures (edcmooc, see my previous post).

Learning dynamics, visualisation of learning events without absolute good and bad statements is the idea. This is qualitative research without quantified scores. I began to fill the Footprints circle from a part that is easiest to me. My education pushes me to observe and assess individuals psychologically. Agency is the heading of the quadrant and it means Developing your capability on your own terms. First I changed that to ‘my capability and my own terms, but it was not working. I thought the participants as a crowd. Here comes my image, look at the right side only.

tulos1krThere are six factors for illustrating agency. Identity varies from complying fixed roles to creating and developing your own roles, affordances and capabilities.

In edcmooc it was obvious that we = participants could determine our roles from active engagement to observer. Anonymity was allowed in the discussions and sometimes it was in use. Many participants took on the role of supporting other participants. There were thousands people participating and even experienced ones needed support. Following the given description I gave my point to darker outer zone, because it means more challenging learning. I chose a drop to be my point.

Negotiated outcomes is the following factor. It varies from externally determined success factors to mutually determined ones. We had an assignment to do, a digital artefact, but it could be almost anything. We received feedback from three students and of course we had to give feedback too. The outcomes were not externally determined. My drop falls on the challenging learning area again, because there was great variability of outcomes.

Autonomy means in this context the dimension of working with others agendas to creating your own agenda and goals. During edcmooc we had to choose our own goals.  I have problems with translating agenda here, it is broader than goals? How could a course influence or change participants’ agenda?  We were allowed to act as autonomously as we could in our life general. The drop follows others to the dark blue, sharp emergence area.

Self-organisation varies from hierarchical fixed processes to creative self-organisation and self-motivation. The topic of edcmooc, digital cultures in the future is open to many directions. I had never thought that it could be hierarchical, but of course some parts of the course could be constrained to selected gurus. This was not the case, or I did not see it. Now I read the guides again and remember that I should describe self-organisation in this factor, not the curriculum. To put it shortly: we could engage or not as we chose. An example of self-organisation could be the digital artefact of one participant. He chose to build a fake account for a facilitator to Twitter  and published it. The facilitator was pleased, not angry, it was a good joke and demo of how easy it was to do. The students were adults so this was possible. My drop falls in the same line, even on a little bit darker blue because of full freedom.

Open affordances varies from compliance with predetermined outcomes to creative innovative engagement. Now I have a feeling that I have already dealt with this topic. What could I add any more? The given  advice to peer grading were general nature and allowed freedom. Here is my blog post about this topic. My peer learners understood my ideas better that I could expect. I was lucky perhaps, but I was interested in all kind of feedback, not only positive. The drop goes to the same line again.

Cross-modal and multi-modal dimension is not easy to follow to me.  Mono-modal, abstract interaction is the other end of the dimension and synaesthesic, embodied, holistic interaction the other end. Interaction during edcmooc was very multi-modal and cross-modal, even trans-modal because of the topic. I have never experienced so great diversity of expressions and interactions. So the drop falls again to the same zone of challenging emergent learning.

Now I’ll take a break, my brain has worked enough. Why all my descriptions are so alike, like each other? Do I miss something, is this halo-effect with memory distortions? I’ll continue with the other lower quadrant named presence after the break.

The funnel of open participation

I want to continue with the theme open participation. I read the slideshare of Doug Clow and want to show one of his slides :

dougclowThe registration is the first step to participate, you can be a lurker without it. The activity finds many ways and the funnel becomes narrower from week to week. Those who are active, develop and progress.

This is not a power law, claims Clow. This is a usual story anyway: steep drop off from one stage to the next. Highly unequal participation pattern can be recognized.

Clow says that we should think less about total dropout and more about why participation reduces at each stage and try to find the patterns of participation. It is possible to widen the funnel if …. what?

I found my old blog post from Nov 23th 2010: Designing for commitment in online communities. There are many good ideas for helping newbies and working with co-learners. Kraut has found two basic ways of commitment: identity-based and bond-based. The first is deep and long lasting motivation, bond-based means social bonds, which last short or longer times.

I did a rough sketch of the activity on Moodle forums of fslt13. This seems to tell the same story which is known from open courses.

viewsThe Arrival Lounge, where everyone tells about her/himself, it has most views. It is a place where you have to return if you want to check the background of a certain participant.

  1. From week 0 I used both reflective statement and supporting learning – discussion, it is the sum.
  2. Week 1 = views about reflective practice discussion
  3. Week 2= teaching groups discussion
  4. Week 3= lecturing discussion.

These numbers are only part of all activity. It would be better to summarize all doings during the week, but I cannot get those numbers directly. The administrators offer better diagrams, this is a rough sketch as I said.

There is activity, thousands views of 149 participants. Participation reduces at each stage, but it turns to the assignments which cannot be seen in this diagram. I leave that part without comments, I have been lazy myself and followed lightly what others do. It is not the best way as Eloise said in a discussion in Twitter #fslt13:

“I feel I’m missing a dimension of #fslt13 bc I’m not doing the assignments – getting a lot out of discussions + webinars.”

If we want to measure or assess the effectiveness of open courses, a proper question could be: Do they ever come to the end? Many of my open courses are still going on and the learning platforms are open. Discussions continue in Facebook Groups, Diigo groups or Twitterchat happenings. Isn’t this a real effectiveness? Drop out numbers seem to be high during courses but new people are coming in afterwards. What is this? Building a global learning community?

Did I say something new? Not sure but I had a need to write this out 🙂

Learning from the future as it emerges #edcmooc

Human learning has been my favorite topic in this blog from the  beginning. Now I meet this topic on edcmooc, which recommends a lecture of Campbell Gardner: Ecologies of Yearning. I studied psychology at a university since 1964- and know the learning theories, first behaviorism and then its critics. In the 1970’ies we Finnish university students learned to know Bateson and his three levels of action/consciousness. We wanted be revolutionary and change the old frames and build up something new, our own perspectives. So does every generation and believes that it is the very first time. That’s life and so it must be, I suppose.

It was good to meet Bateson again. The challenge is the same and the goal to think differently, is it nearer now? In my eyes, it was most convincing that the lecturer spoke at his edges, he was after something new, he was teaching himself via the many text slides. I loved the sayings: we don’t see things how they are – we see them how we are. Human learning is very limited without self- awareness. I do not like the way how Bateson’s double binds are transferred to education in a simple way. People were laughing at paranoids and other fool people, oh no. If a child meets these impossible double bind situations, its is not a right place to laugh at. It could be better to speak about stacked loops only: how many levels of one’s learning the student is aware.

The next phase in this way is in 1980’ies reflection-in-action and on-action (Schön). Kitchener and King built a Reflective Judgement Model, which opened my eyes again. They used concepts as Quasi-reflective reasoning and reflective reasoning. They described the continuous development from one frame to another, from narrow to broad, from concrete to abstract and so on.

What is the learning that is going on during this edcmooc? is not a question which can be easily answered. Many people have been thinking about it since the first moocs and I participated in a research meeting in autumn 2009 for the first time. One of the best research articles, I think;  are written by Roy Williams and Jenny Mackness. They are developing a dynamic description about learning and I was happy to meet Roy in one of our edcmooc discussion forums ‘metaphors for opening education’. I put one image here, this describes learning in CCK08 and I can recognize some parts of it.

The dimensions are explained in their publications in IRRODL (March 2011 and October 2012). Trust and Risk can be seen here, also Campbell Gardner spoke about ‘feeling homely enough’. Both are needed, fear and safety.

I have printed the articles of Roy and Jenny in order to read them well, but the moment has not yet come. Actually. it is not a lack of time, it is lack of my understanding – how on earth do they build up this map of learning landscapes?

I am sure that during edcmooc many great descriptions about learning will appear and become published in different ways. This course has the right atmosphere, climate for supporting creativity. I am surprised how well this course is working. We have people enough so that diversity does not turn to like-mindedness. We can listen to each other and be curious about the differences we have. It is great to participate on this course.

At last I want to refer to one of my older posts: Dreaming about deeper learning, Apr 22nd 2012. There is a seven minutes video where Otto Scharmer says the words which I wrote to the heading of this post: Learning from the future as it emerges. Stop downloading the same stuff, observe, explore the future by doing something. Open mind, open heart, open will – a road less traveled. Please listen to Otto Scharmer.

I have to add here a link to another digital viking, Asbjörn. I have a feeling that his blog Digimatik deals with same questions as I try tto handle here. Actually, we schould explore how Bateson and Scharmer connect with digital viking lifestyle or mindset?


Dreaming about deeper learning

One of my basic dreams is to understand human learning. I am not sure if I have to define learning in digital environment as a separate form of learning. That way leads to listing tools (blogs, tweets, RSS etc) and seeing PLE only as a collection of devices. I am tired to use that way, I have tried it here too many times. It is better to speak about learning in human systems. People are communicating with each other and computers help to do it.

I needed the words of Otto Scharmer at the beginning of the video I embed here: there are two sources of learning but most theories are interested only in that part which has already happened, experiental learning, how we organize and use our knowledge. The other source of learning is to focus on the future as it emerges just now. I suppose I have lived this moment many times but now I went deeper. I had to stop to ponder about it. Is it possible to stop downloading the old stuff and observe, live in this moment? Scharmer described the psychological inner voices that limit us: fear, cynisicm and judgment. Open mind, open heart and open will are only dreams. We have lost our ability to live in the presence, only children can do it (if they live in safe conditions). I like the simple way Scharmer presents these basic phenomena. I recognize it to be true but so what? What is the next step, my step to real emergent learning? Time will tell and networks help..



Research about PLENK, experiences from ds106

I didn’t participate the Digital Storytelling course – ds106 but I followed it via Twitter. I love this blog post in which the facilitators describe the process during that open online course. I can feel the inspiring spirit during studies, how participants appreciate each other. They loved the assignments and wanted to comment and develop further, build and mash up. The participants opened new ways (web radio, web TV). The facilitators ate own dog food = did the same assignments as everyone and that made them understand the studies deeply. I can feel the enthusiasm while listening to the video.

Another interesting blog post came from Rita Kop. She has continued the research about the PLENK course with Helene Fournier. I am eager to follow how they capture our learning. I participated myself and have blogged about my experiences earlier here – and followed their first presentation in LAK11. The background factors about PLENk are still the same, of course. We participants were adults, 27% over 55 and 10% in age group 49-54. I like those numbers. Activity in the basic tools remained low (Moodle, Elluminate),  but blogs were written and Twitter was most popular. It is easy to show beautiful images about tweet networks but I believe that they were only information about what was happening. Tweets remind everything, no need to plan or remember.Everything muts bee easy to us nowadays 🙂

What can be said about learning during the PLENK studies, it is interesting. Active participation is important, of course. It made students to reflect, involved them in a creative process and it was fun. Participants wanted to give something back to each other. We produced blogs and what ever (see the slides 31-32). But why some people chose to lurk? They were tactical lurkers who wanted to pick up what they wanted or they had always been self-directive learners and didn’t want to share their experiences.  It is not easy to describe learning in open studies.  Some participants assessed that active participation is not at all important (20%!) and 10% said it was somewhat important. How this should be understood? I do not know.

The motivational issues were easy to understand: we wanted to learn something new, to find a real gem of information, others recommended something really interesting,  to get  involved in an online community, see something amazing done by others, to produce something that can be proud of.

I am wondering if anything new about learning is found here. Learning is true in open online courses but some diversity can be seen, lurking is normal as well as active participation and learning with others. Finding something new and co-working increase motivation. These principles are the oldest ones found in learning theories, I think. The research continues and opens new ways in the future I hope. Until this, we have got only new tools for our global online interaction and learning new applications is the main product – is it so? Only new tools or should I say amazing tools? I don’t know.

I noticed some discussion in Elluminate about cliches: someone asked if there are more cliches in open courses than institutional courses. Could it be so? Rita wanted to describe open courses as learning events. Temporary center around the course content, said someone.

Here comes the slide presentation of Rita and Helene, so you can see what they really said. My intention was to draw my own description but I need more time to do it. Don’t know what I am thinking today..

Understanding networking

Today I was inspired to write this after answering Jenny Mackness’s post about attacks on connectivism. She has gathered links to various critical opinions and articles. I continue my pondering here. I don’t want to attack , it is fine to be interested in learning and try to build up theories about it. People try it in CCK-courses or is it better to say that Stephen Downes does with the help of George Siemens. I do not want to write about this, I appreciate their trying. I have worked as a teacher educator and action researcher etc and I am still interested in these questions. It is great to try to understand human learning.

Is it possible to handle a topic like ‘learning theory’ in an open course without former knowledge? I can’t see much sense in it, the theme is too challenging. Everyone has experience about learning, OK but it is not enough. And Experiental learning has already invented, no need to do it again. BUT networking could be a great topic to explore by networking and it could be enough. It is not a piece of cake either but it is more possible and useful. The final project in our first CCK course dealt with networking. It was a good assignment, an opportunity to become conscious about own doings.

My next question is about exploration, which methods we should use? How can we discuss about events in open courses? It takes time to understand basic concepts and theories. What is the level of  speaking: words, concepts, models. I said in my comment to Jenny’s post that openness is not working in CCK-courses and I meant that there is much obscure speaking. Participants are obliged to follow Stephen’s way to think, he takes a privilege to give content to words in his own way. For instance, he says what the word group means – he doesn’t care what others have said after their  research. It took time to understand this.

Now I see that connectivism is something that those two active men have developed based on their own experiences. It is their theory-in-use. This concept comes from Schön’s ideas about reflective practice (theory-on-practice). Networking is the main content, how it becomes possible with new technology. They have succeeded to implement open courses and offered the opportunity to anyone to participate. That is fine but should we focus on the method how we conceptualize and interpret and create new models. Should we re-invent science 🙂 ? Grounded theory has already developed, no need to re-invent it either. It helps to build up models from participative practice.

Learning theories are under development in many universities and research institutes, I see no sense in passing this fact. There are communities like EARLI who have excellent networks. It is not wise to deny all knowledge that exists. Open courses and networks may do whatever – and participants can choose what they want. Everyone is happy then?

You know the book (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) La Petit Prince:  Misunderstandings always become from words.. the fox said these words to Little Prince and he was right, yeah?

The quality of connection

It is Christmas Day and – in Finland – we spend it at home thinking about the purpose of life or other important issues. In order to be in line I ponder about the quality of connection. We always speak about quantities, numbers of followers and so on and external factors of courses. There is a lot of conversation about open courses going on. Dave has made some nice videos to illustrate the difference between formal and open courses. I believe those help some people but…

What is the real question of a learner at the beginning of the studies. The learner wants to be accepted, be seen, be heard and find real connections to other people. It is difficult in massive open courses but it can happen inside formal curriculum. I have much experience about creating the atmosphere such that authentic learning becomes possible.

Developmental psychology has always known the meaning of basic trust, the enormous power of it through the life. We all know how difficult it is to live a happy life nowadays in spite of material richness. We try to be perfect, we numb emotions and only perform cognitively. We want easy and quick answers to questions which cannot be answered or solved. We have to hide our feelings of shame and fear if we want to be accepted. The quality of human connection has turned to opposite, it is continuous disconnection. I have a lot of experiences about lonely studying in open course.

We need some people to tell us how we have distorted everything. We believe in TEDX Talk, so let us listen to Brene Brown.