Exploring learning in open online studies is my hobby and so I wanted to check what is happening to the two research projects of Rhizo14. A group of course participants planned a survey for us and began to gather our answers. It was called an autoethnography. Keith Hamon wanted to activate the process in his blog post “Who is writing the rhizo ethnography?” This post helped me to check the situation and now I know that the raw material is still waiting for researchers. It is open to the writers and nothing has been done since April. But now the group (Sarah Honeychurch et al) is planning a Hangout and you can follow the process via the FB rhizo group – and participate, of course, if you will. A lot of hard work is waiting for doers. The material consists of answers to many questions about the learning process. You can read the questions in my blog post, my autoethnography. Keith Hamon tells the names of 35 possible authors who have told their stories.
Another research project was started by Jenny Mackness and Frances Bell (and Mariana Funes). You can read in Jenny’s blog about their presentation in June. It was very interesting to watch. Their interest is to follow the name of the course and explore how it was interpreted. They received 47 answers to the four questions and continued with interviews of 35 people. The questions were:
How the Rhizo14 experience relates to learning/teaching experiences before, during and after the course, triggered by the rhizome image. Your interpretation of learning and teaching need not be confined to formal settings.
1. How does the image of a rhizome relate to your prior experience of teaching, learning?
2. How does the image of a rhizome relate to your experience of learning during Rhizo14?
3. How might the image of a rhizome represent your future practice?
4. If the above questions did not allow you to fully explain your learning experience in Rhizo14, then please comment in the box below on those aspects of the course which were significant for you, and what kept you in the course or caused you to leave early.
It was not easy to answer the questions if you hadn’t thought anything about any rhizomes ( or actually it was easy to tell: no connections). I was a bad answerer in their research but I liked to watch their presentation. I took 2 screenshots of the presentation (the link to it is found in Jenny’s blog post). First they emphasize the complex nature of learning and then they combine the Deleuze-Guattari principles to learning in the course.
Heterogeneity is obvious when the course is open to anyone. There was a huge amount of variety of beliefs and schooling and interests etc.
The researchers are working on these concepts in order to find the connections between the principles of rhizomatic thinking and participants’ experiences during rhizo14.
The metaphor level is fascinating but it can be used according to the writer’s own beliefs and I am not sure how much it will help. If rhizomes are spreading via clones, it doesn’t sound good or how? How many like-minded students I met on the course? Many?
The researchers know that objectivity is not possible in a research where they have acted as engaged participants. It is a challenge to listen to all the voices of participants. One solution could be to write down the researchers’ own beliefs before analysing the material. Transparency helps the readers to assess the researchers’ influence to the results.
The other image gives concepts for describing the possible results (or descriptions).
Ambiguities and concerns vary greatly in the material. As a participant I could follow many lines (personal orientations) inside the course. Some people were interested in scientific research while most denied its value totally. Artistic line (poetry, word art, videos, images etc.) was very popular and it is a good way to describe complex phenomena. I could define those arrows as clusters toward these lines (conceptual vs images or learning vs rhizomatic learning).
In a course without content the personal orientation is most important and it means that many people are worrying about own space and competencies. Are my sayings worth saying or should I be quiet? Self- confidence is not given as a talent. Part of the energy during a course always goes around the own ego -or the facilitator’s ego.
It was interesting to hear that someone questioned the community as curriculum – is it possible to use side by side with rhizomatic thinking or learning. The learning process becomes deeper during the research process. I appreciate every effort to deep understanding of human learning.
This is a poor reference about Jenny’s and Frances’ presentation. I blended my thoughts here and there and it makes this messy. Please watch the video yourself (18 min). It is in Echo360 environment and you can find other interesting knowledge about MOOCs too.
The third survey in my mind was implemented at the end of the course. I checked Dave Cormier’s blog but did not find the results about his survey. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, he is planning the next rhizo course already.
My next post will deal with my own summary and my vision for mooc research. It is a hot summer here in Finland and lakes are too warm for swimming, can you imagine that? I came to town because it was too warm at our summer cottage.