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 …