Real or imagined community?

Still one question about the difference between community and network. I followed  a course about ‘internet and social networking’ in my nearest university in Jyväskylä, in order to check how they handle these issues. I had learned my ways to study and participate on the internet by doing and experiencing. The following tweet has a message, which tells about my feelings:

socmediaSocial media doesn’t cause ignorance but it is very effective at documenting it. I knew this and went to the university to check the borders of my self-made ignorance. Teaching in all Finnish universities is free and open, I can walk to the lecture hall and sit down to listen and discuss with young students. All the material was open in Google Drive and it still is. Use it or lose it I could say about Finnish universities. The choice is mine. Not every teacher shares his material openly but Erkka Peitso did so.

I want to show a diagram which the lecturer presented to us. I have translated it into English. What is the difference between community and network?


In the community people have shared something, for example interest , but the membership may be imagined, it is not shared always. The network is defined by the connections between people (or whatever nodes). These connections can be identified and so they are known and visible.

This is the point where my eyes opened and I began to wonder why only communities can be imagination. How about networks? The rhizo14 participants are registered on the P2P University sites, 186 of them on the Facebook group and many follow #rhizo14 hashtag on Twitter. Dave Cormier has told that the course has about 500 students. Most of them are hidden somewhere.

In my previous post I was sure that we are a community but today I am not sure any more. The science of networks (Barabasi) deals with clusters, which are said to be the natural form of organisation of human beings. We do not know the 500 students in our course, we know some of them. We have real clusters or circles in our imagined community. When you participate actively, your circles grow larger. Let’s play with these concepts or without them. Here is an interesting experiment from Kevin H. in Twitter a hour ago. Try it!


Network as curriculum?

Now I want to follow my thoughts about the difference between community and network. These concepts have different roots as far as I can follow them. Community includes more psychological knowledge, people are acting in them and and building relationships with each other. A community may be healthy or communication models inside it can be distorted and they can even be called sick. Network is often described using mathematical models. Networks have nodes and connections etc. You have to know the network theory in order to be up-to-date. If you know only communities, you may be old-fashioned. In other words: the community research is old and run by psychologists. The network research is newer and run my mathematical geniuses and young male nerds. I am reading Barabasi LINKED: The New Science of Networks, so don’t blame me about my old knowledge base. 🙂

Communities include all psychological possibilities in them. They can provoke creativity or inhibition, they may be open or divided in small groups. Networks vary between centralised or distributed. It is not a coincidence that in rhizo14 we have community as curriculum. Simultaneously we have some properties of the network tradition.  It means that participants are equal when it comes  to collaborating, producing and sharing content. It also means that we are responsible for the events in the atmosphere or  human relations or whatever. We can try to make the course better, both its content and its working.

Social self-organisation is the concept used on the internet about crowds or networks without a leader: it is a functional model for temporary collective action and collaboration. I have many times been wondering if it is possible. Birds can fly coordinated in a crowd and I’ve had the same feeling in the London Underground when crossing crowds meet without touching each other. But I haven’t seen or experienced self-organisation taken place in complex mental solutions. I have seen fan clubs building up (do we have a Dave Cormier fan club in rhizo14?) Our communication tools lead to defining followers and following people, we get the numbers every day. It is good to be popular.

The tradition in self-organisation has found that  it needs something or someone to coordinate and facilitate:  an anchor (topic) and the organiser (P2P) and leader (Dave), and the tools for sharing and conversations. My conclusion after pondering the rhizo community is that we have many experienced moocers, who are willing to try to implement the idea of shared responsibility in community as curriculum, we are ready to take the power 🙂 Many bloggers have been working on this theme. I copy here some of my favorites, Tanya and Francess, they have better English than me and I can rest a moment when I let them speak.

.. the interaction and conversations have been primarily driven by the participants’ various interests and interpretation of Dave’s ‘questions’ (or thought prompts, if you like). Aside from topic, and these weekly prompts, there really isn’t much else directing what happens, so it becomes up to us. And there is a huge variety of interests and lines of thinking that people choose to pursue. Even discussions in blog posts tend to evolve and morph into directions that may stray from the original post. There’s no explicit ‘goal’ or ‘task’ to complete or focus on that might otherwise lead us to form more tightly focused collaborative groupings. Thus we wander looking for threads of interest, and finding connections along the way. So are we really a ‘community’, or just a network of …
.. the weekly tasks may be shaping the community (and hence the curriculum). I am finding them difficult to interpret, and increasingly samey. .. there is a danger of us getting stuck in polarisations of ideas when what we are trying to make sense of a happening which is much more complicated than that. This ties in with what Tanya says here about community. .. we can also shape the curriculum ourselves if we are honest and tough with civility.

Frances 2. This is copied from her former blog post:

Rhizomatic learning  is the subject of our MOOC,  we could be influenced by what Dave puts in the P2PU space or by agents who promote or suppress topics.  This has significant implications for the ‘community is the curriculum’ – the curriculum can become a site of struggle within the community.
Rhizomatic thinking encourages connections between people with different ‘knowledge’. We all have our own rhizo 14 as we try to navigate the dense forest of posts, links, comments. I am not disappointed as I was never looking for pure theory posts but rather applications of ideas to practice accompanied by dialogue. Some of these ideas might be framed by other people’s ideas (that we could call theories), some might be stories . If none related to rhizomatic thinking/learning I would be surprised. Anyway, I am neither surprised nor disappointed in this respect as I am seeing a lot dialogue where people are listening and talking without defining themselves as one thing or another unless it is relevant to what they are talking about.

I enjoy that description of the happenings in rhizo. This is a creative process.Yesterday I found Maureen’s blog and today Maha Bali told her story. It is not possible to describe everything what is happening in the course.

I add only one source because this post is too long already. Terry Elliot mentioned a video of John Cleese about creativity: a deep dive to the creative mindset. I watched it (36 min) and agreed with its conclusions. Creativity is not a talent but way of operating with playful, open mood. Creativity needs space, time (period), time (enough, no hurry), confidence and humour. Do we have these in rhizo14? Time is lacking but we have shared humour a lot. I noticed many creative headings for this week in the Facebook : World of Warcraft is curriculum by Simon Ensor, Consumity is curriculum (Simon again). Playing as Homo Ludens – do we take the time for it? I have a feeling that we should take better care about pedagogy and not only praise the abundance which prevents learning.

Should I add the links to the comments or blogs which I mentioned? I have become lazy with the links, they may stop working and I speak to a certain community where the people can be found.


The community as the curriculum

I’ll continue my journey describing my observations during rhizo14 in the light of the heading: the community is the curriculum. It is the other heading of the course but usually the first Rhizomatic learning has been dealt with. I am interested in the latter part because I’ve been working on that theme many decades, I had to write a curriculum using personal learning orientation in the 1990’s (had to write tells about my attitudes against administration, I had to work as a head of teacher education programme for six years). My solution was that I began the curriculum by describing the students’ co-learning, how it must be organised.  Much has happened after those years and now I am interested in open online communities.

What can be said about open courses, what is the normal process. I use the image, which Doug Cloud has developed.

dougclowThere was discussion about the power law of diminishing participation but Doug wanted to turn the discussion to a different direction. The diminishing does not follow the power law, we have to explore what happens in the process. What factors lead to ending  or proceeding during the studies.

In my previous post I dealt with rhizo14 a little. We, the participants have different levels of awareness and motivation at the beginning of rhizo. Many of us have participated in CCK or edcmooc or PLE or whatever courses and many are involved in other courses all the time. There seems to be some competition between courses, which to choose and use time with it. The basic motivation to take part is broader than only rhizomatic learning or Dave Cormier. I am grateful to Tanya who commented on me and so I found her blog. She offers the option to be interested in facilitation or learning more generally than in rhizomatic learning specifically. This helps me give up my guilt about my lack of interest in Rhizomatic learning per se. I drew an image about this situation: crossing and moving motivations and expectations etc but it is so messy that I left it out. You have that image in your head, your personal image.

I am not interested in the numbers of participants in rhizo14. Dave shared the results of his survey some weeks ago: 65 answers were given and they can be found in Dave’s blog.  About engagement I chose 2, because I wasn’t engaged in that moment. About connections I chose a bigger number. The assessments are sensitive to many factors and change from moment to another. But something they do tell. The number of active participants have been 30-40 in every mooc which I have followed.

What is interesting in rhizo14? It is an experiment about a totally personal curriculum without a teacher. Dave speaks about “new kind of self-evolving under the pressure of information overload and the technology instantly available”.  Mariana in her tweet called it a power shift. When I have been thinking and observing the rhizo14 community, I have become conscious about the quality of the participants (students, learners > read a thread began by Apostopolos in the FB group). We have many years’ experience about moocs and, what is perhaps more important, about work life and education generally. We should be able to analyse our community and our curriculum.

We know (psychology knows) a lot about cognitive and social processes and dynamics. We have experts in this course. How do we combine the older knowledge with the analyses of this time. The sociologist Barry Wellman showed this slide in LAK13.


We function more as networked individuals. Our social networks are large. Networks are sparsely-knit and loosely-bounded. Rhizo14 is an interest-based community but there is a great variety of interests inside it.

The core concept in developing a curriculum (or a course?) must be interaction. It is easy to build connections with like-minded people. It strengthens and sharpens, Lou tweeted today. We live in the middle of self-made abundance. We know that innovations happen near the borders. There must be people who break them and connect with different people. For instance Wenger has built excellent models about this many years ago. You remember the circles crossing each other, do you? I should like to draw some circles about rhizo14, but I am afraid of naming them. It is a taboo to classify people, isn’t it? I cannot do it, it is hard enough to describe myself for my front-page.

How about our interaction in our numerous discussions? We explore the edges of what is possible in open online learning, said Tanya in her blog. She spoke about thoughtless sharing and creation as well. Jaap spoke about a market and walking around, choosing what we need and going home. Mariana mentioned the ripples following every action or saying. So am I in a trap: do not deal with difficult issues? The borders of openness and freedom, where are they, how near or far?

I take an example. When somebody says in a discussion:

Your negative response to the course has been a strong pattern. While I have found your critiques of the course helpful, I wonder if there isn’t some other underlying critique that has kept you from trying on the ideas in the course. I would very much appreciate it if you would address this underlying critique.

How do we interpret this? Many were astonished, because they had no idea that the response was negative. But every interpretation is true, so the writer was also right. Norms are created in this way, what is allowed and what is not.  If the speaker has power, he gets followers and it happened. The story continues when the same person says:

My request for more information is not a rhetorical flourish.  I’ve followed XXs work for years and would like to better understand what it is that concerns her if there is a deeper issue involved.

Now we have the interpretation problem again? Does he mean that he expects better, stronger and deeper critique from XX because he knows her work or is it a bitter comment: be quiet if you haven’t better thought to express. I don’t know and I don’t want to solve that question. I have told my opinion already. But I want to illustrate how we, adult and well educated people in our networking, we behave as people always have done. Defensive behavior arises when we feel threat or criticism, real or not. We may project our own problem to another participant and blame him/her. I use these old findings of psychology in order to understand this kind of happenings. We are human beings. The new nomad is like the old one and he behaves using ancient mechanisms in a stressful situation.

Something positive in the end. Here comes a presentation which Matt Holland, a participant of Elearning and Digital Cultures published as his digital artefact. There was discussion in the forums during the process. Matt shows the way, which is not complex at all. Or is it? What should be added to these five rules for being human in a MOOC:


EDIT 8.2. I have received excellent feedback which helps me to understand that there is great diversity inside rhizo14 and I use “we” too much. I speak to a tribe which has been hanging out here for years and knows the basics of networking. I try to build that community forwards when I say “we”.

Sense of virtual community in rhizo14

I am interested in the question what makes online communities work. My previous course was edcmooc and I observed the same question: the Five Fantastic Facilitators worked as a team and the active participants began the course a long time before the course was opened. I enjoyed seeing that a new internet generation had been born and was working well. Then I followed my old friends to rhizo14 and I am asking similar questions.

Miia Kosonen is a researcher in Finland and I want to use one of her slide presentations in order to use proper concepts. Miia became Dr with dissertation research about Knowledge sharing in communities some years ago and she has followed the research. I’ve my experiences as a reflection tool and I want to compare my experiences with the research findings. Here is the slideshare

Rhizo14 can be described as e-Tribe, virtual network community or online crowd (my opinion of course). We can define it (slide 3) by telling about the participants. Some of us began in CCK08 and we know each other from many connections. Another branch in my eyes comes from edcmooc, many people were active there. There must be other paths too, but I know these ways. Shared interest is not easy or clear to define. Rhizomatic learning may be the core interest to many participants, I follow more the other title “Community as curriculum”. I am exploring it. What is the community level social capital for us? We have trust but not shared language all the time. We do not like norms, but we must have many hidden norms and rules ‘how to behave  on the course’. We have conversations because many participants are good at it and Dave Gormier is excellent  (have you watched the discussions with Jeff Lebow and the group). Dave is open-minded and easy to become acquainted to. He is authentic in front of camera, he speaks to us. When he says that he trusts us, I want to believe 🙂

Slide 4 gives a nice structure to handling with living in a virtual community. Needs and expectations differ, action varies from active to lurking and roles (blogging, commenting, discussing or nothing visible). Feelings of membership lead to identification with the group and feelings of learning and support, insights and immersion. Building relationships becomes true, I’ve got some new names to follow. I remembered an old post of this blog about designing commitment . It defines two kind of relationships: bond-based or identity-based. Bonds are social, connections to people (for instance my interest to joining). Identity is connected to values and interests, things. I cannot define what values we have in common in rhizo14 but there must be some humanistic or making the world better -interests or is this only my imagination? I liked that old post (PLENK2010) and the level of the discussion.

Slide 5 gives many perspectives to virtual communities. My orientation is psychological, cognitive and social combined with the analysis of virtual life generally. I can describe my experiences during rhizo14 (and guess at the others’ feelings but it is better that everybody tells him/herself).

I have enjoyed watching recordings of the hangouts, also the Teachers teach teachers (TTT) meeting. It was nice to see Terry Elliot, Vanessa and Sarah. Feelings of nearness are stronger when I watch the videos. Some blog posts have interested me and I have written a few comments. FB group discussions are so abundant that I often skip them. I remember Lucy’s story about a deeply touching experience, it touched me too. Perhaps it was one of the longest threads, over 80 comments but I read everyone. Mostly I have a sense of looking in from the outside or far away what are they doing – I seldom have a feeling of belonging to this community. It was not a joke when I asked Dave in a FB discussion thread (it was for the newcomers) that why sign up? Is it needed? I am interested in the topic ‘community as curriculum’ but not in rhizomes.  The themes which Dave offers every week have been so obvious to me that they do not inspire any more or I have no need to answer or comment. But I’ll deepen my analysis about online communities and how a curriculum can be based on people.

I liked this description of virtual participation, written by Apostolos in FB group
“There is a “core” group of people I “follow,” and this depends on a combination of factors including interactions, interest in content, and so on. Then there is a group of people that are a little further out for me (the quotient of that combination of factors is lower than the core group, but it still on my radar), and then there are people that I just don’t interact with. So, I would say that for me it’s all shades of gray, and the further out you go and the gray fades to white, the less involved I am with those participants.”

Anything to declare? rhizo14

Should I declare my findings during Rhizo14? I’ve followed the discussions but not written or even commented on others’ blog posts. One day I read the blog of Jenny Mackness and enjoyed the historical perspective: Dave dealt with rhizomatic learning already in CCK08. I remember that I tried to translate that concept but didn’t succeed and it was problematic enough to try to catch what connectivism was meant to be. Now I know that there is no need to define rhizomatic learning. That concept is not needed, I agree with Terry Elliot, who said in his blog that we could speak about learning without that add (un-). Of course I have heard Dave speaking about this theme during last five years and I’ve learned that learning is complex. Yes it is, but why to repeat that from year to year? Everyone working in education knows that complexity very well.

Jenny linked her thoughts with many other rhizo14 blogs and helped others to follow the happenings. She integrates, supports and helps her co-learners and I appreciate it. Also Jaap Bosman has blogged about many interesting themes during rhizo14. I liked his post about the concepts and stages of community building. I wrote in my previous post that we tend to find in our free online  discussions similar principles which educational sciences have known many years, decades or since the very beginning. We need findings of our own, it makes us happy. It is important to activate  new  participants in MOOCs.

I am grateful to Matthias Melcher for his rhizo14 blog list. It saves my time when I can use his work and find the active bloggers in Matthias’ blogroll. (I got a grandson Matias in March 2013, old name for men in many languages). I could also try to follow Matthias’ thoughts on deep theoretical questions. It demands energy to ponder, let’s see.

Last week’s theme Enforcing Independence is a core question in all good pedagogy. It is a paradox, impossible to implement but necessary as well. Challenging enough! It is possible to set independence as a goal of education in my country but it is a cultural concept. We had international groups in teacher education and self-directed learning did not mean the same to them as Finnish people. I have noticed an interesting discussion around this theme between Christina Hendricks and a new name to me, Mariana Funes. We speak on an abstract level on this rhizo14 course and it leaves  many doors open.

It is a big temptation to play with words and concepts as Maha Bali tweeted that

this is the unweek of unMOOCS, with uncertainty theme in #rhizo14 & unlearning theme of #futureEd. I am unworking unhard in all of it

Here is the link to Maha Bali’s blog about a similar topic. Is it funny that we unlearn in an uncourse and use unhangout? Of course it is fun to play with words sometimes. Many people have written free poems with empowered words and published them in the FB group. It is good to play. And images often tell more than words. Jenny gave the image of a tree growing outside its fence lol. I remembered this photo of mine:



It was autumn 2009 when we were recommended to destabilize our CCK09 course. Now we have uncourses, is this changing concepts = development?

Still I remember the blog of Cath Ellis. I’ve to read what she said about theory.  I always dream about diving deeper but seldom  do so, I am too lazy or shy or whatever. Actually I’ve a long list of interesting cues received during the  last two weeks. Now I have declared my suitcase and I’ve to decide in which direction I’ll travel to maintain my motivation. We have a possibility to create something quite undone earlier in an online community…

Some ideas for the year 2014

This is a test. I’ll try to find my aims for this year by writing about my expectations. 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. The spirit will be as fantastic as it was in edcmooc. So 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.

Other interesting programmes seem to be Community Manager Appreciation Day ( for community workers in Finland, 27th January. There seems to be English sites as well. They have video stream all the day.

LAK14 will be in 24-28.3. in Indiapolis USA. I hope that I can follow it on the internet. Learning Analytic conferences have been the best arenas for research presentations. There was a meeting around MOOC research  in Texas in November or December but while watching the presentations I had to conclude that very few were about research, only practice. The speakers were wondering why they were invited to the meeting.

Networked Learning is the theme of NLC2014, 7-9.4. in Edinburgh and I know that I can find interesting research there. Many of my friends have presentations there, Finnish people and people from the other side of the globe. The content has always been challenging and there are preliminary meetings in their web environment.

And I have to remember JISC and ALT and ELESIG webinars. Athabasca University offers open CIDER sessions and the Journal IRRODL. In Europe we have our own EURODL .

Now I have answered a question “with whom and in which networks I will participate” in the beginning of the year 2014. And I can follow my learning moments and share them with other participants. It is so simple, is it?

I try to find an image of winter here because I don’t like to show the aqueduct of Segovia two times so near to each other. We have got snow lately in Jyväskylä and cold times have begun. Let’s enjoy!



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.


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 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?

My blog's life during edcmooc2

I have a tradition to explore my blog’s life every now and then. Google Analytics makes the exploration easy and tempts to use its devices. I have an ambivalent attitude to this all, because I haven’t set any goals to my blog and I am not after big numbers. A blog needs visitors, it is sure, but the numbers of visits are only raw data. It is not easy to interpret what is happening. I’ll try anyway and give the basic data here:

edc2viewcroMy nine posts are marked in the timeline and you can see the influence of my writings. The biggest number of pageviews is before the course began, 120 views per day.

I blogged 3.9. about my footprints during the first edcmooc and this post was visible in the course news. Perhaps I got readers via the news. No comments but many views – it is digital life. My post from 3rd September got 149 visits and it is twice the numbers of the next posts: The pedagogical principles of MOOCs (79 and 3 for its comments) and My orientation to edcmooc (69+30 to comments). It is easy to see a connection between the facilitators’ actions and the visits to my blog: Pedagogical principles – post was commented on the team blog and Hamish commented to My orientation- post. The following post is human presence in edcmooc (47) and the last is critical peer feedback (12).

I wrote nine posts this time and the posts received 22 comments from six people. In edcmooc1 I wrote more posts (15) and got more comments (32). This time I had a feeling that I participated outside the course and I had a different orientation to my studies. One of the peer reviewers said this precisely in his/her feedback. I was more interested in learning and less in digital cultures. You cannot participate a course twice with similar motives and interests, they change all the time.

I have gathered the information from Google Analytics to a prezi, which I intend to embed in the end of this post. Here I’ll try to handle only the most important numbers. This blog had 579 visitors, 967 visits and 1917 pageviews from 4.11. to 10.12. These numbers are higher than during the first edcmooc in February (721 visits, 1460 pageviews), but I cannot interpret why. This blog includes one post from the year 2010 about learning theories of teacher education, which receives continuous attention : no comments but readers. Is it the good reputation of Finland’s education or what is it? I don’t know. That post was the most popular one during edc2 as well: it got 288 visits. It is more than the footprints (149) or the actual course posts (80- 15). During the first edc the number was 188. The influence of edcmoocs to my blog is perhaps less than I  imagined.

The percent of new visitors during the period was 58, which means 336 new people and 243 ‘old’ones. The ways which the visitors used to find my blog tell something. From 967 visits 231 came directly, Google organic 229 , Twitter 177 and edcmooc sites 116. Google Analytics shows some connection between the acquisition and behavior.


Those who come directly have a higher bounce rate than via organic search or social devices and the referral way is highest in staying. How to interpret, I don’t know. Some people take a glimpse at my blog. Perhaps they remember my name when/if they meet it next time, recognising names is one of the skills on the internet.

Over 200 people had visited my blog more than 20 times and 190 people had read my posts longer than a minute. Perhaps I’ve about 200 permanent visitors. So what? If I had followed the visitors’ interests, I would have written more about learning theories in Finnish teacher education for adults. I am retired now and my interest lies in international open courses and learning at these courses or learning in the internet. It has been my perspective a long time and I want to deepen it to research. That’s why I am so interested in the Footprints wiki and want to assess it in the near future.

Here comes the prezi which includes a lot of information about visits to this blog. Thanks to Google Analytics for the content. I chose a labyrinth template because I got lost there and my ambivalent attitude tells me that this is all boring.



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 🙂