The things I learned last week

Last week I commented a research about Rhizo14 in this blog in three posts. I have followed research about MOOCs all the time (since the year 2009), so it was something I would normally do. I didn’t know how other people had commented this one and I was very astonished about what I have seen. It is The Thing I learned last week. There are different orientations toward research.

First some facts about my background and orientation. I have been interested in action research since the 1970’s when I acted as a researcher for the first time. The idea of participatory action research, where the doers are the subjects, not objects, it has been close to my heart for forty years. Another dream was to do practically oriented research and avoid narrow academic traditions. I still remember when a famous professor Martti Takala smiled at me and my colleague and said that he agreed with our motto more than the research itself. Now I can comprehend his feelings. Since then I have learned how challenging it is to act as a ‘practitioner researcher’ and I understand that it is necessary to focus every research, to find the question which can be answered. I have done action research and every time got negative feedback. If you follow development in an institution, they want to hear that they are excellent, not anything else. This is my background shortly and too simply, but I’ll handle the basic concepts in another blog post next week. Now I’ll concentrate on my learning last week.

I could not imagine the amount and content of some attacks on the research which was handled. It was impossible to follow or understand for me. I felt astonished and embarrassed every time I visited the Rhizo14 group in Facebook.  Yesterday I decided to sit down and learn more. So I read again two long threads which began as follows:

  • another from the negative results of the research I am speaking about and
  • another about a blog post of a Rhizo14 participant which had not an account in FB. So they spoke intentionally behind her back. They named her an attacker and I don’t know why. It was a normal or good post for me.

The discussions varied a lot and I could follow many constructive paths, not only of inferior quality as I had earlier seen. The keys of solutions were included in some comments; they used the concepts defense mechanism and ego. Many people said that in every research of students’ opinions, there are some that won’t like it. It is normal. But why it was not acceptable in this rhizo14 case? I draw a simple image:

Dia1There was much “we-speech” and that orientation excluded the others. I used the concepts Resident and Visitor here instead of Insider and Outsider. David White developed those concepts for participation in the internet in online studies. I think they are the appropriate concepts here. I feel myself a visitor even if I have written there sometimes, I have had long breaks as well.

After drawing that image I noticed that it is like the old social psychological description of groupthinking. The residents belong to the group and this frame influences all their interpretations. For instance the line around the box, the border, changes what is bullying and what is not. Those inside are free to name others but they are very sensitive about “others'” sayings.

The discussions in the two threads consisted of different parts. Many people behaved well and then it turned to low level again. This is ridiculous, said Simon Ensor many times and I agreed in my mind. Simon said earlier that he participates in Rhizo14 in an affinity space. Perhaps I should understand what it means.

Another image:

Dia2The rhizo14 course supported creativity and the use of artistic ways to describe one’s experiences. I appreciated that and enjoyed as long as I could follow without being a native in English. Poetry was difficult to follow but the videos easy. This all helped me to realise that some participants accepted only artistic ways. Every presentation should be dynamic and include whole and complex life in it.

So this way may lead to a point where research is not possible or not acceptable. I wonder whether it is possible at all to conceive a research for these people? There are other ways. For instance participants’ experiences may be collected on a platform Padlet where videos can be included as such. Here is an example of the last Padlet of EDCMOOC.

I could recognise huge differences in attitudes toward research in the rhizo14 group. Many rhizo14 participants are doing research and want to learn about doing it better while some people deny its value totally. There seems to be a gap between these lines. Building a bridge between these is perhaps too challenging. Anyway it should be understood what research is and why it is necessary to focus on appropriate questions which can be handled.

In both groups of the image (interested in research and artistic line) I have recognised negative attitudes toward so called academics or even universities. Sometimes those who make fun of universities know what they are saying and sometimes their criticism comes across as children’s crying or mere envy.

I have an intention to handle this issue, I mean research of online learning, during this Spring many times. This is my farewell to the Rhizo14.

Growing Old Around the Globe

I’ve just received my certificate from Penn (University of Pennsylvania) for the course Growing Old Around the Globe. I was interested in the topic and I had a lot of knowledge about it. I thought that I’ll watch some of the lectures and follow the discussion forums a little. But actually I watched all the video lectures and did all the assignments and wrote all the feedback which was needed. The lectures were interesting and well implemented (they were discussions actually) but the course became international through the peer interaction in the assignments. I loved the way the facilitators  guided us to work: first a source (video, image, poem, link or whatever) and then a short argumentation according to the choice. It was very easy and enjoyable. It was allowed to give full points to everyone, no demands of a normal curve.

oldgpieniThe most important thing  for me was to find my own thoughts concerning the theme Growing Old. I have knowledge and I got more information during the course, but I had to connect my experiences and my private life with my thoughts. The process opened my eyes. I became aware about my ideas at this moment. I loved the peer feedback from all over the world. If I told that I live in Finland, I got feedback about living in the Scandinavian countries. It is important that feedback is anonymous and that’s why I used examples from my private life more than ever. Growing old is a very personal experience. Of course we handled all the possible levels of ageing as well, but the personal level touched me the most.

The best surprise concerning the feedback was that my peer students understood me so perfectly. I did not expect it, because the assignments were short cuts of my life and my thoughts. I could see myself  in their feedback and I wonder how well they followed my presentations. My style is very personal and original and I hesitated over my choices, but everything went just as I wanted. I received full points for every task, but the understanding in the peer feedback was the real prize. There were 8900 students from 143 countries and the course was open to everyone. How is it possible that all my reviewers could follow me? It is a mystery 🙂

The course was designed very wisely and it worked well. I did much more than I intended. Thanks to Sarah Kagan and Anne Shoemaker and all the guest experts. Growing old around the globe is a theme which must be worked on and shared continuously and you showed the way forward in the last webcast. We have the Facebook group and many other networks in use. All these aren’t made for the old, they are planned with us old people. So we will use them.

My autoethnography about rhizo14

I’ve to write another story about my experiences. Some participants are collaborating on an auto-ethnographical story and I want to support all research about MOOCs. Maha Bali is one of those active students and she asked for more information about my participation. So I decided to answer the questions:

Share your personal “story of rhizo14” in your own voice. You could freewrite, link to some of your blog posts, quote things you said on Twitter/facebook, or if you prefer a loose structure, you might like to consider some of the questions below:
a1. Comment on your reasons for joining #rhizo14,
a2. your level of participation and your experiences of the “course”.
b. Comment on your experiences of inclusion/exclusion in this community
c. Comment on how you are experiencing this MOOC, why or how it engages you, how you navigate it
d. Measures and perception of success??? “”measures of success and perception of the success of their learning.” Bentley et al., 2014

a1. Why I came in? I followed some people and I knew the idea of a connectivist course. Participating is normal to me. I follow the social and intellectual affordances of the internet all the time.

a2. My level of participation varied. During the first week this blog moved to this new address and I had no intention to write. I was not interested in the cheating debate, but I joined to the FB group and began to follow the Twitter hashtag #rhizo14. I started blogging during the second week. I declared my experiences and old and new connections in my post. I blogged two posts in week 4: Sense of virtual community in rhizo (8 comments) and  The community as the curriculum (10 comments). You can see that a community around my blog arose quickly. In week 5 I posted four times : Knowledge in interactive practice disciplines (5), Network as curriculum (2), Real or imagined community (15 comments). In my post “rhizo as a gathering place” I explored the visits to my blog and concluded that this is a European and ‘British global’ course, only 29% of the visits were new.  In week 6 I wrote about  My experiences during the rhizo14 and now I am writing another about the same topic. I used all my normal ways to participate: Twitter, FB group, Diigo, reading others’ blogs and commenting on them.

b. inclusion/exlusion in this community. I continue by telling which parts I ignored and why. I noticed interesting experiments with words and poetry but I did not want to participate because English is not my native language. I heard discussions around some names and cultures, music which I could not follow. That brings an experience about exclusion even it is not meant to be. This ‘culture’ increased into the end and I stopped writing. A good example is the new topic ‘Lunatics from asylum’ – not funny at all in my eyes. I don’t know the TV programmes or movies, from which that concept comes, and I do not care. I stopped following the FB group.

c. experiences. Dave Cormier said in his blog before the course had begun that to some people rhizo will

simply be an extension of your normal practice on the internet. You’ll find familiar faces who make references to previous learning events online, you already have web places from which you speak, and many of you are already familiar with the material.  I’ve been experimenting with online community style learning which I have called rhizomatic learning for about 10 years now.  A journey that will have different results for different people.

I am one of those people which are open to social and intellectual affordances of the internet all the time. This was not my ‘first love’ but one of many in my journey on the internet.

c. engagement I chose to handle the basic concepts network, community, tribe, crowd, curriculum, personal learning plan and network. I blogged and received comments and also commented on others’ blogs. Many participants had the similar interest.

c. No problems with navigation, P2PU was open without registration and I followed the course every week. I found the links to recordings somewhere (Twitter or FB threads).

d. measures of success. This is interesting. I have an intention to handle this in another post, but to put it short: some new names to recognize in the future. Three new names in FB including Dave. Many new Twitter contacts which began to go down 415-414-413-412-411 one per day when the course came to its end (and immediately up again when I started my following course). Some new devices or programs, Zeega to express the findings.

I try to embed here the presentation which Frances Bell has done. It is an excellent way to show the blogs and people behind them. And I am honoured to be one of them.

 

My experiences during rhizo14

I’ve been away one week and it is a long time. I’ve missed the last week of rhizo. I watched the last recording and I could see many happy participants there. To me this experience is like many other MOOCs which have been working well. I was not very active, I wrote eight posts and some comments, got three new FB friends and about ten new Twitter connections. I’ll follow some blogs after the course.

These were  my thoughts before the beginning of rhizo:  “How to participate in this international world? I’ve some circles of friends here and there and – after deciding not to participate in any course – I have noticed that many of my friends began the course “Rhizomatic Learning” run by Dave Cormier. I am a member of the FB group “Rhizo14” already and read enthusiastic writings by many people which I’ve met in previous courses. So, what to do? Perhaps I must get acquainted with the course programme and participate those weeks which are immersive enough. The real reason for participation are the people, anyway, I trust their capacity to interact with the co-learners. I follow people, not topics. It is a waste of time to ponder about my aims or interests, I’ll find them only by participating.”

I was interested in the question what makes online communities work. My post  ‘sense of virtual community’ is one of my favourite. So what can I tell about rhizo?  I met the old friends (Frances, Jenny, Jaap, Matthias)  and some new. I don’t mention their names, because I don’t remember everyone just now.  I was interested in some names which I lost soon. Why some connections continue and others not?  Time available is one factor, but there are differences in sensitiveness and openness. The facilitator’s behavior can influence more than other participants. I had seen Dave earlier in many situations and I admire how authentic he is in front of the camera. He is capable of interacting and listening to others. I could see this happening in the last hangout, he kept in the background and gave the space to others. Earlier on the course there was one silly comment from Dave to an experienced participant and I was very disappointed. Dave apologised openly so many times that I’ve had  to forgive him for that event. We are all human beings and make mistakes (a good model if I want to see it as such).

Rhizo is an experiment about totally personal curricula with a power shift to the participants. There must be many curricula in the course and mine is far from the normal one. I didn’t follow the weekly topics as most participants seemed to do. I did not open my heart to rhizomatic learning, I have no reason to study what those guys have said. So perhaps I am a test for personal learning plan (PLP). I wanted to learn about random learning online, what are the signs about virtual community or network. How to interpret the changing events?

The core concept in developing a course must be interaction. It is easy to build connections with like-minded people. It strengthens and sharpens the mind and the will. I remember Frances’ words about me: wise and strong. In rhizo we lived in the middle of self-made abundance. There is a tendency toward surface communication. Perhaps I should stop my serious pondering and say as Viplav in his blog: Dave is our Elvis. We lived in a Dave Cormier fan club some weeks and it was soo fuun. The event may end, but online learning in MOOCs and conferences continues. Viplav said: “A course is just a plot device to get people together, to communicate, to interact, to take part in this common exercise. And in this common exercise our connection between each other and our connections inside ourselves will be exercised, will be increased, augmented, developed — and we learn.” Show must go on …

My blog and my expertise?

The header image of this blog shows the history of my participation. Five years and four months is a long time and now I have a feeling that I want to change something.

akveblog

In order to deepen my orientation I present more facts which Google Analytics offers me. Here is the overall situation: visitors, visits and pageviews.

Englblogi5vThe numbers of blog posts differ but they don’t correlate directly with the visits. The year 2010 is the top of posts: 20,24,64,16,26,50.

The first two years were connectivism studies CCK08 and 09. It was the beginning of my international participation.

The PLENK2010 course opened more ways and I was active for the first time. The year 2010 seems to be my real beginning towards international virtual life. After that year I have participated in many moocs. American eduMooc gave me some names to follow in Twitter. Two Coursera studies have been great experiences: Fantasy and science fiction. Human mind and Modern world was hard work and taught a lot. ELearning and Digital Cultures was so fascinating that I did it twice. Its facilitators’ team is charming and the community around the course seems to live forever.  First steps of learning and teaching in higher education was nearest to my former work at teacher education. I participated in it twice, first as a student and then as an expert participant. It helped me to find the old educational theorists in the internet and deepen my knowledge.

The following diagram shows the countries from which the visitors came to my blog. The overall number is 130.

Englmaat5vUSA is highest every year but UK goes up in 2013. Edcmooc and fslt are both implemented in British Universities. Australia goes up and more visitors come from there than from Canada. Philippines and India have noticed my blog later. Malaysia could be mentioned too. Europe is less interested in my blog (except UK). Germany was at the top on the first years, now the Netherlands leads the numbers. Finland I have left outside because I cannot separate my own visits from real visitors.

So it is a small English speaking community which I’ve learned to know during these five years. Some of my friends participated in the connectivist moocs but not everyone.  My connections are open and changing all the time. I recognise many names in Twitter and follow their blogs. Although new visitors have apparently come during the courses, the most favourited topics in my blog seem to be very general. They are near my real expertise and my permanent interest. I’ll list the blog posts here in order (how popular they have been):

Learning theories in teacher education from 2010-10-05 and category teacher education are at the top from year to year. Almost half of all direct visits are connected to this topic.This expertise is part of my history and I’ve no intention to continue in this field. They do what they want, it is not my job any more.

Then the numbers of page visits diminish quickly.

  • On connectivism again 2008-09-16 includes a diagram of experiental learning, which we used in teacher education. I suppose that this page is linked by Downes somewhere.
  • Learning theories and technology 2010-10-09 and Learning theories recent discussion 2010-10-07. I remember that Rita Kop appreciated my knowledge about Nordic discussion.
  • Social self organisation 2011-02-24 was connected to a Finnish project published in English. Understanding networking 2011-02-27  followed the same project. There was international interest in the air.
  • Learning Analytics 1st conference 2011-03-04 contains links to presentations. Also the following posts about LAK conferences have got readers for the same reason I believe. How to follow learning (LASI and LAK) 2013-07-12 continues with this theme.
  • Assessment can support development 2010-10-14 deals with the main topic of learning, based on my experiences at the teacher education.
  • Research about mooc pedagogy 2011-12-19 is my permanent interest.
  • I am the platform 2010-09-29 was my way to determine how to participate. This must be nerd talk, much spam to this post.
  • My footprints of edcmooc in febr, 2013-09-03 and the wikispace of the research project are the best research oriented blog posts which I have written until this. I should continue ..
  • Test your blog 2010-10-15 . This is a way to become famous, but I want to dive deeper to psychological knowledge and I haven’t continued in this way. It was interesting that all the answers belonged to introverts.

In the future I will focus my writing better. I do not participate in any courses but follow discussions according to my interests. Online learning, pedagogical principles of moocs and how research can help to find answers. Those are my topics this year.

Next weekend I intend to copy this blog to a new place and say farewell to edublogs. This platform has served very well, but I am not in a right place, I am not a teacher any more. I move this blog to my site helinurmi.fi or actually my son does it and I gave orders. I am not sure how I’ll continue blogging. Time will tell.

Andy Mitchell, one of those edcmooc digital angels, said me in Twitter that “You need to learn to praise yourself. Your contribution is important…” I have a lot to learn. How could I believe what Andy said?

Critical peer feedback is best in edcmooc

I was lucky again to get appropriate assessment in edcmooc2. My artefact is connected to a research project about emergent learning. The project began after the first connectivism course in 2008, where two of the researchers and I participated. I have been following the project from the beginning and tried to use its description of learning. I think that it is one of the best ways to grasp the dynamics of emergent learning. I wrote blog posts about the method in August and September using edcmooc1 as my example. I wanted to connect my artefact to this research.

So I did a prezi around the project. The prezi includes a video in which Jenny Mackness (the researcher) demonstrates the method. My own contribution is not valuable. Only the idea or my intention is worth considering. I do not like my prezi myself and I have no intention to use it anywhere else. I just wanted to contribute to the end of edcmooc and did something to do that. I am very glad that my peer reviewers understood me.

The feedback was delightfully critical and told me everything I had in my mind after sending the prezi to the coursera platform for assessment:

In many ways, the artifact consists more of a reflection on education than on the themes of the course.

It would have been good to review the main themes of the course before putting together the submission. It is difficult to know which one were being communicated.

This artefact has ‘learning’ and ‘future education’ written all over it. I would have loved a few more pages of information on this subject.

Perhaps you could have explained the theory before showing the video. At the end you wrote what “Jenny said”. I would have loved to know your opinion.

My impression is that the student may have taken this course to reflect on learning rather than to reflect on how digital culture is changing the world. Would have liked to see more focused response.

Here comes the positive side of the feedback. I enjoyed this part of course.

 I really enjoyed your prezi! The video of Jenny Mackness is interesting. I have to admit it is a bit confusing at first but once you get the idea it actually makes sense. It highlights that humans do not learn in the same.

Very good artefact! Thank you for making me think about this kind of stuff! 🙂
Among three of the assignments I marked, this one is the best one, which highlights the course themes and the key concepts in brief.

I like how you started out with writing down your personal objectives for this course. What you wanted to get out of it. Wish I did that as well.

The creator has made a very strong link between the course contents and the themes. The artefact is also related to education.

Good stuff! Really enjoyed watching your artefact and I’ve learned something new.

I have to thank my peer reviewers and agree with their opinions. Now I want to add something . The media (prezi) is not the best for describing a research. I understood that wikispace is much better and it is the form that the researchers have chosen. So it is better to continue inside that wiki. It is open and there are open webinars too if you become interested in it.

My technological skills are not good and I did not manage to connect any voice to the prezi myself. I tried and there was help available but when the deadline schedules changed three times, I stopped trying. Websites or storify could have been more suitable to my ideas. This is all learning and it is more important than a good product. Edcmooc is a good place to try new things and it is my fault that I didn’t use it more. I have to write another post about what I have learned about my motives and passions.

This post is written in honour of the peer feedback. It was working well again in edcmooc. They gave me 1 if you want to know 🙂 We had pass (1) or fail (0) assessment.

The Golden Snitch and secrets of learning

Do you know the Golden Snitch? I mean that one, which Harry Potter caught in Quidditch. Here is a link to the topic. My son used to read all the Potter books in English and I had to do the same. It was good practice and helped me to realise that the golden ball in Ping’s image – see the blog header – is the golden snitch of the Quidditch game. I had that insight while editing the image.

sumu2The snitch flies very quickly and it is difficult to catch. You must be a real seeker in order to succeed in catching it. The other players are disturbing you and there is magic in the air. Not easy at all.

This is my situation just now. I should like to handle learning in my final assignment. I want to get a glimpse of the most challenging learning: learning not only from the past but from the future as it emerges. What is the golden snitch in our edcmooc studies? Of course there are many of those and it all depends of the participants’ point of view, but how do I see the snitch? That is my humble question.

I have got some help today by reading other participants’ experiences. Matt Holland presented 5 rules of being human in a MOOC. His content is near my thinking and I got some advice for tools in the FB group. I could get a robot speak my written English (my mic is not working and I haven’t bought a new one). Prezi offers many easy guides for how to do it. Perhaps I have to use it. Here is a link to Matthew’s blog and his new Prezi.

Rajiv Bajaj shared in Twitter the link to his You Tube presentation Technology in Education. I enjoyed it and gave feedback that it is perfect, do not change anything. Perhaps the heading could be broader? The presentation is not only about technology, I can see wise psychology in it. I’ll probably watch Rajiv’s video many times in order to put my mind in order 🙂

 

Graduation and meeting in Second Life

This is a moment of procrastination in my participation in edcmooc. I should plan my digital artefact – all other participants have already done theirs, but I have not even begun mine. So I have to do something else, it’s logical. The impulse to this blog post was Andy Mitchell’s tweet about Edinburgh University’s graduation in the Second Life (SL). Our facilitators, or some of them were going to that graduation yesterday. Here is the link to the YouTube video named School of Education virtual graduation in SL.

SL is similar to  authentic life experiences. Choosing and building an avatar is a touching and important moment. Your personality transfers to your avatar and everything that happens to her, happens to you. I had a long break in my visits to SL, but in honour of this transhumanism week I decided to check if my avatar is still alive and working. So I found myself in eduFinland and flew around there. Then I went to the discussion forums (general discussions> meeting in SL) to write down the landmarks of the Edinburgh University (SL search gave too many possibilities). I transported myself to the given place and began to fly in order to see better. And I saw an avatar walking in a street. I had to stop flying and descend on the ground.

SLedinburghThe avatar was a handsome young man and because I have a ring which shows me the names of avatars in the neighbourhood, I saw that his name was Esko Levee. It was easy to remember that his real name is Esko Lius and he is a participant of edcmooc. I am not sure if we have met f2f in Finland but we knew each other virtually from many Finnish forums.

It felt like a real meeting on the street in Edinburgh University’s SL. When I watched the video of the graduation, I recognised this place there. I have been there! We had a chat discussion in Finnish , my mike is broken and it’s often  better to write in SL, because voice can disturb other avatars. It was night or late evening as you can see.

My appearance in SL comes from the autumn 2007. The avatar is a Japanese young girl and I have not changed it much. I added green hair and I like it. Some T-shirts I’ve got while visiting in different places. I am lazy when it comes to taking care of my appearance and I have forgotten how to do it in the SL. I should do something to my careless appearance but I am not sure if I want to use my time on clothes or hairdressing. I don’t mind such things in real life nor in augmented realities. But there is something in the SL which I love or the little child inside me loves. I love flying and transporting from place to another. This was a nice meeting and the graduation is worth seeing.

Human presence in #edcmooc

My heading was first Human presence in massive open courses but I made it shorter. I am following the edcmooc course and contextualise all my thoughts accordingly.

In week 3, we are looking at examples of approaches which respond to the apparent threat to ‘the human’ posed by technology by re-asserting the importance of what is irreplaceably valuable in human ways of being and learning.  We are considering the view that human nature and human ways of being are in some sense under threat by technology, and that this has the potential to undermine the basis of our commitment to humanist ideas which underlie many educational philosophies and approaches to practice, such as equality, freedom and autonomy.

What are the different ways of human presence in purely online-held courses? I have a personal history of working as an online facilitator and I had a feeling about being closer to my adult students online than if it had been f2f. I am convinced that human presence is possible online, but it is not easy to define its conditions. I had an excellent partner, Pekka Ihanainen, with whom I facilitated some online courses for two teacher education colleges (in Finland). We wrote and published about our experiences but only in Finnish. I’ll try now to tell shortly about our findings. As I said in another blog post, I have a feeling that edcmooc is similar with our way of facilitating adult students’ learning.

Dialogical space is a necessary condition and facilitators have a role in creating it. Dialogical space is safe and supporting, creative and challenging. It is the atmosphere in which everyone wants to do his/her best and enjoys the work. Presence can be described in many ways and the parts are connected to each other. This image helps to define the dialogical conditions:

Dia2Facilitating presence includes all actions which help the students to learn. We used the concept “didactical” but it is not used in English and “pedagogical” does not sound good, so I chose the term facilitating presence.

Emotional presence is very challenging and interesting to define. The teacher must be personal, it is not good to hide one’s personality. It is good to locate oneself in some ways. In edcmooc  we took photos about ourselves in a Hangout situation. We can see that we are human beings (with much technology 🙂 ). Emotional connections are between people but also toward online studies. It is good to share problems and solutions and be anxious together. And to build up community humour when it is possible.

Cognitive presence is easy to understand, but it is complex in practice. We have a duty to disturb our students intellectually, said someone in edcmooc. It is good to avoid direct guiding , and better to support students as they find their way. The general guide lines must be clear, but thinking and assessing is students’ work.

When the community reaches a dialogical state and finds its own working habits, every monologue is also a component in the shared dialogue and new connections are found. It is emergent learning, every participant is learning and creating. In edcmooc the photo “competition” in week 3 supports this side of studies, otherwise it could be too serious.

I took a short glimpse at other theorists in this field. I remember Terry Anderson and the many research groups, who were working on this theme in 2006-2007. Here are links to Anderson’s blog post and this slideshare.  This image integrates the basic concepts.

Dia1In the middle of the diagram is educational experience. Social presence includes emotional presence. Setting climate connects social presence to teaching presence.

Supporting the discourse combines social and cognitive presence. Teacher selects and recommends the content.

I like the concept of triggering events, it describes the dynamics of learning. Sense of community is another important concept. Otherwise studies can be only external performance with little engagement. I am myself very sensitive to the atmosphere: I registered to an American mooc which was organised correctly (like edcmooc) but I interpreted that the teachers were not authentical themselves and the course was only a play and all supporting acts were like following rules, and same to each student. I don’t want to tell the name of the course, I wish good luck to them. I registered and watched some videos, that was all I did.

I return back to edcmooc again. Professor Fuller links his talk to our key theme of re-asserting the human. His stance seems to be that ‘you can only be morally credible’ if you are addressing issues of human freedom and equality. Thinking about education specifically, might we see MOOCs as an example of an ‘old humanistic project’, particularly in the promise they appear to offer for democratisation, equality of access and so on? I wanted to say that the humanistic project is possible in certain conditions.

Often the question about online teaching is that what is lacking in it concerning human communication. Hersh’s solution was to incorporate more video and audio components into the course-delivery mechanism. Most professors who teach online already incorporate short video and audio clips into their courses. But it is rarer, Hersh says, for professors to use videos of themselves to teach or interact with their online.  I think that in edcmooc the Hangouts bring the facilitators near us, but the most important thing is the atmosphere of equality and enthusiasm to understand elearning and digital cultures. We are studying with our facilitators and assistants without any hierarchy.

My footprints on the course edcmooc in Febr 2013

I can show the whole picture about my footprints during edcmooc. I have taken distance to this topic in our summer cottage and looking for birds who are gathering to crowds in order to migrate to the South. I gathered lingonberries and noticed that my back does not like the movements. And I have received comments to my previous posts from Jenny Mackness, the researcher in Footprints of emergence wiki. I can answer to her comments here. So, what are my footprints:

tulospienI don’t draw any lines between my points, because they are single footprints. I did not say footprints of learning or emergence in my heading, that dimension is still obscure to me: what am I assessing here?

I am describing my experiences and I have my perspective about what is my ‘full points’. I think that best for me, for my learning is to work in challenging situations and learn new things (content and/or skills). For me this kind of challenge is always positive, it is something I am after in my live 🙂

Summary: the balance between instruction and emergence was optimal to me in edcmooc. I was working on sweet or positive challenging emergent learning during the course. I had space for self-actualisation and creativity. I learned a lot and enjoyed even more 🙂 .

I believe that my description is similar to the experiences of other experienced moocers. But some of them may consider the course as too easy (the assignment was so open that all could be accepted). And in every massive course there are thousands of participants who are whining for more clarity and guidance and who are very discontented with the design. I am so accustomed to this situation that I jump over their comments. It would be interesting to compare the footprints of all different  participants. It would be a messy image I suppose.

I believe that this footprint method works well when a group of students is using it together and comparing their thoughts. I did my footprints alone, a half year after the course, and it was not easy to remember and assess. My personal interest focuses on learning in open online courses  and I’ve got material for this from this model. Space for learning, space for individual creativity is very important for adult participants from my culture. Ownership of learning must be on in the learner’s hands (brain/mind). I do not believe that we can build one learning model for all learning (children/ autistic people). I think that it is necessary to put borders somewhere. I am interested in adults’ learning on open online courses. Emergent learning is perhaps the most interesting part of adult learning, sharing expertise and learning from each other.

Prescribed learning is necessary, I agree of course, when we know the truth or the best knowledge at this moment. I know that there is ‘good English language’ and my style is far from it. I can try self-correction from post to post. For example I do not  use ‘curriculum’ any more about open courses, I say ‘design’. A design has an artistic connection in my mind. I should take a course of English… We use the concept ‘learning plan’ in my country.

Now it is time to take a break again, I feel tired. This post includes some general comments to myself and Jenny. Something is happening in my mind. The activity level of brain/mind is one of the most important factors in learning and in emergence. Where is this in the footprints model? Agency of course, me as an actor?

EDIT later Here is the address to the wikispace so you can see the machine-made beautiful picture. It is easy, I did it and Jenny Mackness helped to put it in the right place. Some day I’ll continue this pondering.