I can’t stop thinking about online communities or courses, I need to analyze happenings in order to understand what my opinions are. I have many threads to this post. Yesterday Chris tweeted this picture . I noticed it is in Flickr and we have a group there, I had joined it earlier and forgot it. Now I can link the picture here. Ian Woods has done it and explains it more in his blog.
I have been pondering the hierarchies in online participation. I have tried to understand diversity of expertise. Ian speaks about the expertise to participate in PLENK and describes the situation of newbies. I have pondered possible influences of background expertise, what do we bring to the course, what we have especially to give. I have a simple picture about it:
Member profiles in PLENK tell that most participants have high skills in ICT and some are professional experts in it. Most participants have educational professions or -how I call it – human science expertise. My third case “no expertise” is hypothetical, everybody in PLENK has some expertise background. I just wanted to illustrate that you could participate without any expertise and learn new digital skills. I know some guys who follow internet .. web .. blogoshere and they are respected because they can drop others the newest hints. They sometimes call themselves as parasites – I have named this “copy-paste” expertise. Is this behavior the purpose (excellent) or false (do not know one’s borders).
The most common story in PLENK seems to be that teachers, educators or lecturers learn new technologies to use. We train communication skills, writing, thinking, using web tools and creative thinking. Simultaneously we have technological nerds who give us hints and help to prove new tricks. This is normal networking, concrete questions can be answered. I learn something new tools in every course.
Ian Wood describes well the situation from newbies’ point of view. It is tough to manage one’s time and follow the flow of many discussions and themes. You have to learn to use PLE, it cannot be clear from the beginning. Organizing mentoring sounds good, or is it better to continue spontaneous mentoring, I am not sure.
Now I should combine my pondering with the scientific knowledge Kraut gave. I participate in open online courses because my self-concept tells me I am that particular type of person. I want to be part of something bigger, I want to live in global world. I am interested in human learning and development – what happens in web world? I have to experience it myself, it cannot be read from books. I emphasize community, what it stands for. If the direction is right in my eyes, I can commit to it instantaneously. I am inspired through my identity, I have identity-based commitment to open courses. I have found like-minded people in CCK courses.
How about you?