Learnt in open online courses

I tried to describe my phases (of learning, participating) during last years. Here is my diagram about the most important factors or steps I have made while participating.


I leave the Critical Literacies course outside because I consider it different from these three general courses. I want to assess CritLit separately.

First I had to learn to participate using English and win my shyness. Self confidence is necessary in some amount, I had to build it up and find my knowledge again. I had to get some bonds with participants. It happened after CCK08.

During PLENK2010 I recognized some contributions I could offer for the community, not only my own friends. So this is a description about my growth to a networker (one who has capacity to participate in networking environments). And after writing this here, all seems Very Obvious. Why should I do this? What is my next step?

I could continue this analysis by checking what I have said at the end of each course in this blog: does it match with this? I could find some emotional states according to each phase. I was an autonomous learner and expert in learning issues before participating these courses, but you have to build up the autonomy in new contexts. And I did it, I am proud of it.

But my main question is still about my expertise: what has happened in it? Has it broadened? I suppose it is not deeper in any area than it was in the year 2008. I have learned to use new tools, it is so obvious that I did not mention it, but so what?  How do they help me in my work? What is learning actually? What can be found beyond technology driven development? I learned a new concept yesterday when Teemu Leinonen had his doctoral dissertation: we need informative guessing. This blog is full of my guessings 🙂

To CCK08 – with love

We had a meeting in Elluminate yesterday about a research paper of CCK08:  see Jenny Mackness blog for details. Forty participants came to discuss even information was not spread broadly .. we still find each other. I have followed all research papers about CCK08 course but the meeting gave some new ideas and interpretations.

I’ll gather here my thoughts at this moment, two years after those studies. I was an experienced teacher educator when I began CCK08. I heard about the possibility in a Finnish Social Media community – someone told that the facilitators are the best in world. I had read Knowing Knowledge but didn’t follow international discussion very much. I was a beginner in global participation and I was unsure with my English. I participated in one course 2006-07 and wrote about those experiences.   I could reflect myself and I knew all learning theories very well, also in practice. I wonder where I lost my expertise when CCK08 began.

The big pattern of participation in CCK08 have been reported in researches and it is obviously seen as deceleration of participants’ actions:


Many introductions in Moodle and first week’s discussions, then activity goes lower and lower. Blogs remained, I don’t know how many but I wrote mine. I worked alone but didn’t feel myself lonely. I was glad about every new contact, for instance comments in my blog.

Moodle was very massive and hard to follow at the beginning and I had not much time to use for studies – so I stopped reading Moodle. I opened Daily but didn’t read it always. Too much stuff and too long time, said someone yesterday and I agree with it. We were full-time workers, many of us using a foreign language. The expectations about instant collaboration were not realistic. Much happened but in small goups. The information that 86 % dropped tells, however, only a small part of our learning.

In teacher education I had used a model on self-directive learning (Grow fro instance) and we built own models about adult learning. The following curve was a normal pattern, it took many months to find the individual style of learning and take the ownership of studies. But after it happened, then only sky is the limit:


The intrinsic motivation maintained enthusiasm and creativity reinforced actions. Studying became joyfull. Alienation and cynicism diminished or disappeared. Personal Learning Plans were used with self reflective diaries. It was in the year 1989 when a ne level of collaboration was found as a highest level of learning and acting. Our students worked in learning circles and supported each other, built together new models and assessed each other as well. It was very challenging but enjoyable.

I can see the same acceleration curve in CCK08. John made a Ning community in January 2009 and the research began: Antonio Fini, Jenny, Roy and John. Something continues but what it is and why?

My interest was to study connectivism as a learning theory, could I recommend it to others  in teacher education. I supposed that the facilitators George and Stephen were Dr of education or philosophy or some other science. It took a long time to believe that they were not. Some research oriented people had excellent discussions in Moodle, I liked to read, but facilitors had no time for research. I  was really astonished. How to build a learning theory without former knowledge about learning? – My students had done it in teacher education in order to find their own teachership – but in a global course I could not trust the facilitators any more. So I did not change my conceptions of learning which can be seen in my Final report.

If they were not experts in learning (or teaching) what was their expertise that got us to follow? Is it expertise in networking skills that had led to the reputation I followed in Finland. Open source movement was one way to these studies, I knew Linus Torvalds and had read other books about open source people. It inspired me and it was a part of CCK08 studies. It divides participants if I understood rightly, some were against openness. But it was an Massive Open Online Course really. And now it is a part of our history. It was great to live it through and the journey will continue forever. We need practice in global networking and CCK08 triggered enormous learning experiences for participants and lurkers. Is it one of the most effective courses in the world?

Some thoughts about CCK08 research

I participated CCK08 a year ago (this blog is made for it) and I have followed research about happenings during the course. Most of them deal with external actions: how many connections, discussions, writings and so on. It is not an easy job, you have to develop new methods for it. We have much framework knowledge about our course. Thanks to Google Alert it has been easy to follow :

  • Moodle forum discussions in graphical network models are more effective than scanning forums
  • presentations about all the vehicles and an example of products given by Mike Bogle slideshare

Mike presents Wendy’s video about networked student, I suppose we all liked it very much. But now I see that it deals only with external actions: student does this and this etc. An interesting attention to me was now the concept American Psychology, I didn’t notice it earlier. Do they really study American Psyche only?

I am waiting for results about the research (questionnaire and interview) made by Jenny M, John and Roy. They are comparing people who chose to use a blog or Moodle forums, what are the factors behind those choices. I liked to answer their questions myself and it was a good opportunity to learn to understand better. It is not simple to say what I was waiting for when I decided to participate in a global course like CCK was .. and what happened to my focus during the course period.

External factors are good to know but they are not enough – I am interested in what happens in human minds, what is  learning actually. I found an dissertation Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers  and it helped me to understand my decisions: what are the needs that make my blog necessary. Blogging means  ‘everyday grounded theory’. The cultural change is great:

  • personal passions have a legitimate place at work ( I love this, I need this)
  • transparency is here to stay
  • everyday routines matter (it is stupid to say I have no time to write a blog)
  • authority becomes fluid (I love this, too)
  • visibility can turn into information overload (but this is nice  I suppose and helps to develop further)

This is the way I want to proceed in my research and my thinking. Lilia Efimova who wrote the dissertation, had one workplace and Knowledge Management bloggers community  in her research .. I am perhaps interested in case studies. The entity must be a human being if I want to understand what happens inside human mind.

I appreciate the possibility to global interaction again, CCK09 (Manitoba University) is beginning and I have to decide how to participate this time…

Remembering CCK08

Our  Massive Open Online Course ended a month ago and I have spent my Christmas time listening to our recordings and reading Moodle discussion and blogs. What do I think about the course now, afterwards?

George said in the last course blog:

“By way of a final analysis, thousands came, less stayed, and even less contributed. Did we change the world? No. Not yet. But we (and I mean all course participants, not just Stephen and I) managed to explore what is possible online. People self-organized in their prefered spaces. They etched away at the hallowed plaque of “what it means to be an expert”. They learned in transparent environments, and in the process, became teachers to others. Those that observed (or lurked as is the more common term), hopefully found value in the course as well. Perhaps life circumstances, personal schedule, motivation for participating, confidence, familiarity with the online environment, or numerous other factors, impacted their ability to contribute. While we can’t “measure them” the way I’ve tried to do with blog and moodle participants, their continued subscription to The Daily and the comments encountered in F2F conferences suggest they also found some value in the course. – All in all. It was fun. I’ll try and pull together more cohesive reflections over the next few weeks. As will Stephen and the numerous participants, I imagine.”

There was a recommedation to look at Wendy’s work. The final “project” for enrolled participants is to reflect on the quality of their own learning networks. Wendy Drexler posted a video of her final project that is (deservedly) getting significant attention: Connectivism: Networked Learner

I agree it is fine. And I found many other interesting visualisations about networking. For instance Maru worked with Carlos and Viplav (Mexico -Spain-India). John told about his flight and Jenny her experiences.

What is Connectivism or what is best in it? I have tried to understand … it must have something to do with networking online. Perhaps it was Rodd who spoke about pedagogy of networks, could it be .. or methodology of online networking or.. Connectivism is not a theory but an approach, point of view or .. Connectivism developers are practitioners and courageous to try new things. CCK08 answered to the question What is possible in a global online course?

Because I have problems in finding appropriate concepts in English, I use George’s writing 12.12. in his blog. Boldings are mine, I am considering those parts.

“In a post expressing ideas similar to Wendy Drexler’s Networked Student video, ed4wb contrasts education as traditionally conceived and as it might develop in the future. Several useful diagrams emphasize the type of control shift occurring in how learners access content and participate in conversations. I’ve been a bit bothered lately by how networked learning is increasingly being conceived – i.e. a function of external and social networks. This is the most obvious way to explain learning. For example, I grow my knowledge as I connect to other people and information sources.

This is, however, not a complete view of learning. If learning is only about external connections, then how can gradients of understanding be considered? Or how can expertise (yes, it still exists…) be described in relation to novices? If our focus is only on the external act of networking with others, have we moved much beyond behaviourism? We can still use a network metaphor to address this concern, however. As suggested during CCK08, learning can be seen as networked in at least three distinct ways: neural, conceptual, and external/social. The underlying structure in each instance is a network, but what is being connected is obviously different in each instance.”

In this chapter we can see the level of connectivism today. The same elements could be seen when we planned research about CCK08 in Moodle: we can follow external connections, perhaps some social happenings, something about conceptual changes. Mostly we follow tools only.

It is much harder to understand learning (or teaching or guiding or facilitating). Much to do …

My final with images

I like to take photos and play with them.  I had a nice Sunday constructing my final work in Power Point slides beginning from photos and then writing some thoughts with my vocabulary. If someone can follow, I’ll be happy. Here it comes:


I have studied psychology more than educational or societal sciences and psychological knowledge is my focus. It should take more space in connectivism.. or should it? I have worked in adult education all my live (and it is long) and I have seen the problems people meet in this changing world. And I’ve met those problems myself.

In this “final with images” I tell about my thoughts and experiences more than our course. I cannot influence Stephen or George or Connectivism, but I can influence myself, so analysing myself makes sense. And a survey is coming about the whole course, I will take part in it.

Thanks to facilitators, this has been an adventure. I should have had more time to it but we will continue..?

  Edited 4.3. 2014 I published my final assignment via Slideshare, because it was missing.

My written final

1. What is the quality of my learning networks: diversity, depth, how connected am I?

A  year ago I began a blog which aimed to network online teachers in Finland. Now I have a community around it. I have seen that network matters, it is necessary. We can support and motivate each other.. development is so slow that if you are alone you can’t always believe in it. I don’t mean that I was the first networker in Finland, not at all, some had done it many years and  for instance, I heard about this course from one Finnish activist Anne Rongas who almost every day tells us good advices. Thanks to her. I had followed George and Stephen and given my colleagues links to them but not last summer when this course was planned.

The quality of my networks is an open question even to myself. I cannot live without networks but very few people are near me or deeply meaningful in my life and my development. If I were more open myself, could I have more deep connections? I don’t know. The quantity is no answer, it’s quality that matters – but without quantity you cannot have any quality.

2. How has this course influenced my view of the process of learning?

During CCK08 I have seen all this happen in a global level and I have enjoyed it. Affordances have been open but often neglected when I have been very busy in my work, I couldn’t change that situation.  I have enjoyed following this large open online course, social expectations and reactions. Very much depends on expectations: if you come to learn with others and from others, so you will get it.  I have got interaction enough for sense making or meaning making ( in my blogging).

3. How can you incorporate connectivist principles in your design and delivery of learning? I take this next and change the question: Which principles do I follow in my design and delivery of learning?

I have always been student-centered in my pedagogical solutions and as an online teacher it has been easy. Just now I have problems with the learning platform my institution has bought.. but my Finnish network is helping me to find good practices. Thanks to Juha.

Students learning is my focus and the three main areas around it are content, pedagogy and appropiate tools for digital implementation. You can follow my thinking here –  I didn’t find the address yet, but instead I found a link to Stephen. This is recommended to all students in our teacher education, perhaps you want to know that 🙂   Is that link the best one?

Many questions are open in didactics (was that only German concept, should I say pedagogy?) One of my open questions is: Students collaboration or free schedules? .. that problem I used to  solve by using asynchronous methods, so I can have both, I mean my students can collaborate with a free timetable.
George’s lecture about ‘Instructional design and Connectivism’ – it was easy to agree with, but I did not find any new ideas in it.  Perhaps I could not follow the 4 domains he presented? Should I? I have my own – only one learning object in English and I couldn’t find it myself .. very convincing, isn’t it?

4. What types of questions are still outstanding?

For instance: Continous feedback from my students online – I try a diary of learning platform (a blog, but not open). The quality of learning is always an open question, I don’t know if it can ever be solved. During my Christmas Holiday I will read again CCK08 materials for finding the best ones, best thoughts for me, I know there are many I haven’t noticed yet. So keep this all open, please.

5. I will try to find photos or pictures or paintings to decribe this all, I am not sure if it is possible but I use my Sunday for finding because I want to.