My footprints on the course edcmooc in Febr 2013

I can show the whole picture about my footprints during edcmooc. I have taken distance to this topic in our summer cottage and looking for birds who are gathering to crowds in order to migrate to the South. I gathered lingonberries and noticed that my back does not like the movements. And I have received comments to my previous posts from Jenny Mackness, the researcher in Footprints of emergence wiki. I can answer to her comments here. So, what are my footprints:

tulospienI don’t draw any lines between my points, because they are single footprints. I did not say footprints of learning or emergence in my heading, that dimension is still obscure to me: what am I assessing here?

I am describing my experiences and I have my perspective about what is my ‘full points’. I think that best for me, for my learning is to work in challenging situations and learn new things (content and/or skills). For me this kind of challenge is always positive, it is something I am after in my live 🙂

Summary: the balance between instruction and emergence was optimal to me in edcmooc. I was working on sweet or positive challenging emergent learning during the course. I had space for self-actualisation and creativity. I learned a lot and enjoyed even more 🙂 .

I believe that my description is similar to the experiences of other experienced moocers. But some of them may consider the course as too easy (the assignment was so open that all could be accepted). And in every massive course there are thousands of participants who are whining for more clarity and guidance and who are very discontented with the design. I am so accustomed to this situation that I jump over their comments. It would be interesting to compare the footprints of all different  participants. It would be a messy image I suppose.

I believe that this footprint method works well when a group of students is using it together and comparing their thoughts. I did my footprints alone, a half year after the course, and it was not easy to remember and assess. My personal interest focuses on learning in open online courses  and I’ve got material for this from this model. Space for learning, space for individual creativity is very important for adult participants from my culture. Ownership of learning must be on in the learner’s hands (brain/mind). I do not believe that we can build one learning model for all learning (children/ autistic people). I think that it is necessary to put borders somewhere. I am interested in adults’ learning on open online courses. Emergent learning is perhaps the most interesting part of adult learning, sharing expertise and learning from each other.

Prescribed learning is necessary, I agree of course, when we know the truth or the best knowledge at this moment. I know that there is ‘good English language’ and my style is far from it. I can try self-correction from post to post. For example I do not  use ‘curriculum’ any more about open courses, I say ‘design’. A design has an artistic connection in my mind. I should take a course of English… We use the concept ‘learning plan’ in my country.

Now it is time to take a break again, I feel tired. This post includes some general comments to myself and Jenny. Something is happening in my mind. The activity level of brain/mind is one of the most important factors in learning and in emergence. Where is this in the footprints model? Agency of course, me as an actor?

EDIT later Here is the address to the wikispace so you can see the machine-made beautiful picture. It is easy, I did it and Jenny Mackness helped to put it in the right place. Some day I’ll continue this pondering.

Footprints of emergence: open/structure and interactive environment

I want to continue my journey to understand learning dynamic using the methodology of the research project Footprints of emergence and connecting my experiences during edcmooc, E-Learning and Digital Cultures. I want to continue all the areas and the factors today and then I’ll take a longer break. First the area open/structure and its seven factors, then interactive environment which includes seven factors. These areas are the part of the emergence circle.


Open/structure means the creative tension between openness and structure. Some structure is needed in every course. How to describe this area more accurately:

Risk means movements from risk to safe,  safe to fail and risk-taking. For experienced moocers edcmooc was a safe environment. There was little to fail at, only many interesting opportunities to prove new and learn. Light area = sweet emergence.

Liminal space varies from conservative, traditional, fixed to the opposite = strange transformations and metamorphoses. The course edcmooc was in the hands of experienced participants leading to many unexpected experiences. Darker outer= sharp emergence, challenging learning.

Ambiguity means closely defined meaning at one end of the dimension and open to several simultaneous meanings at the other end. High level of diversity (participants and their products, resources) led to several simultaneous meanings from across the globe. The participants lived in all continents and there was many language groups in use (not for Finnish people, we use English). Is this darker outer zone again?

Unpredictable outcomes from fixed, micro-managed outcome to surprising, serendipitous, unpredictable outcomes. Edcmooc tempted toward the latter and I was not the only one who loved unpredictable products and thoughts. I learned more than I expected to, and it was nice and full of joy, not uncomfortable at all. Sweet zone or darker outer?

Disruption varies from comfort and familiarity to unsettling, inverting and challenging. It was mostly comfortable to study, listen the videos and take part in the discussions. I used Prezi in my final work for the first time, but I had ideas to use it earlier. There was recommendations to use more difficult devices, but I was free to choose what I wanted. Sweet zone perhaps?

Self-correction. Hierarchical control or self-correcting system? We used the Coursera platform but experienced students offered more choices. What could be self-corrective in Coursera? The facilitators reflected and listened but the original curriculum was not changed, only some extra was taken there. What is the zone? Stable or sweet?

Multipath: only one way or multiple options? In the recommended resources there was much optional and we used Twitter, Google+, Facebook group etc. Many blogs we in use and comments received there. A course could not be more multipath, I think. Which zone means the full marks?

Then to the other area, on the right in Footprints circle. Interactive environment is the heading and it means the way openness vs. structure is realised in practice. I notice that I described that already above, I had problems with separating the curriculum from real events.

Diversity from few, standardised resources to large range of resources and people. Edcmooc offered high level of diversity, thousands of students from every continent, young and old. OK, not from Antartica. It was really open, how to mark that?

Experiential from objective, abstract to embodied, immersed, practice-based. A lot of practice-based experiences were shared and the final work. digital artefact was practice to everyone. Sweet learning, really and challenging sometimes.

Adaptive from fixed to responsive, innovative, creative. The facilitators responded to participants concerns. I don’t remember any changes made to curriculum, but it is possible. Sweet area?

Co-evolution from fixed, hierarchical relationships to mutual adaptation and growth: the latter was true in edcmooc. Feedback and assessments were mutual and the facilitators wrote a blog as a team and reflected transparently  all the time. Lots of evidence of mutual growth was promoted by the atmosphere and facilitators’ expertise. I want to give full marks.

Frequent inter-action and networking from bounded learning space with walls to open, diverse networking learning. Edcmooc had Coursera platform and you had to sign in, but it is not a problem I suppose. It is good the have a place for interactions. And there was a lot of places for interaction outside the platform, more than anyone could use. You had to choice. Full marks.

Trust from competitive self-interest to mutual respect, support and growth. This is the most important question about the course culture, I think. This factor must always be in assessment boxes. Edcmooc lived in the mutual respect and support side and it was a great experience. Experienced participants begun this culture and the facilitators continued with us, mutually.  Full points.

Theory of mind means either interaction with objects or interactions with other subjects minds. The latter seems very demanding, but because of all described in this post, I could claim that we had interaction between our minds.

It is time to summarise my footprints but a break is needed. Perhaps on Monday, let’s see what my mind says 🙂



Footprints of emergence: presence

The story continues more footprints will be described in this post.

Presence/Writing is defined as exploring, articulating and networking yourself, your ideas and your feelings. (Why writing in the heading? is it supposed that writing is crucial in expressing oneself?). There are five factors in this quadrant. Presence is personal, I think, so I have to tell about my doings and feelings during edcmooc.


Solitude and contemplation. The dimension begins from isolation, untested ideas, echo-chambers and ends to personal space for interaction with people and texts. Edcmooc offered plenty of opportunity for interaction but also plenty of opportunity to stand back and reflect. I had a blog as usual and I built a network of other blogs around it. I was alone when I wanted and interconnected when it suited to my mind. Should I describe this situation as light zone, sweet emergence?

Casual encounters/ conversations. From highly formalised interaction to chance, serendipitous encounters. I don’t remember any highly formalised interactions during edcmooc. Also the G+hangouts  which were planned by the facilitators, were very relaxed and enjoyable. We could not speak there, but we could chat by writing and one of facilitators followed chatting. Serendipitous encounters I remember very well, they made my feeling comfortable. So where goes my mark, to outer darkening blue perhaps.

Networks, encounters and engagement. From formalised, inflexible groups to initiating, creating, engaging with new contacts and groups. Edcmooc was the only mooc where students organised meetings and places for them already before the course begun. This kind of networking and encountering continued through the course, it was open, new friends available all the time. So I have to give full marks – the dark blue = challenging emergent learning. I cannot assess only my behavior, this factor needs other participants too.

Hybrids, informal/ante-formal. From mono-media, mono-modal, abstract interaction to diversity and choice of media and modes. This factor is easy to describe in edcmooc: it is challenging learning with the latter end of the dimension: diversity and choice of media. The assignments showed great variety of media. The topic digital cultures tempted to this direction. So my mark will go to dark blue, sharp emergence.

In/formal writing and inscriptions (what is the difference between these words?) From formal ritualised assessment to informal, creative, light interaction. In edcmooc the assignments promoted creativity and assessment was rather open. All should be accepted if it was seriously done. Perhaps – or surely- there was also diversity in assessments: one of students got feedback that her digital artefact was too serious. I thought her work was well done. My mark goes to sharp emergence.

Footprints of emergence: agency

In this post I’ll handle the agency quadrant of the Footprints, which I am studying in order to understand better learner dynamics. The entity which I want to describe, is the course E-learning and Digital cultures (edcmooc, see my previous post).

Learning dynamics, visualisation of learning events without absolute good and bad statements is the idea. This is qualitative research without quantified scores. I began to fill the Footprints circle from a part that is easiest to me. My education pushes me to observe and assess individuals psychologically. Agency is the heading of the quadrant and it means Developing your capability on your own terms. First I changed that to ‘my capability and my own terms, but it was not working. I thought the participants as a crowd. Here comes my image, look at the right side only.

tulos1krThere are six factors for illustrating agency. Identity varies from complying fixed roles to creating and developing your own roles, affordances and capabilities.

In edcmooc it was obvious that we = participants could determine our roles from active engagement to observer. Anonymity was allowed in the discussions and sometimes it was in use. Many participants took on the role of supporting other participants. There were thousands people participating and even experienced ones needed support. Following the given description I gave my point to darker outer zone, because it means more challenging learning. I chose a drop to be my point.

Negotiated outcomes is the following factor. It varies from externally determined success factors to mutually determined ones. We had an assignment to do, a digital artefact, but it could be almost anything. We received feedback from three students and of course we had to give feedback too. The outcomes were not externally determined. My drop falls on the challenging learning area again, because there was great variability of outcomes.

Autonomy means in this context the dimension of working with others agendas to creating your own agenda and goals. During edcmooc we had to choose our own goals.  I have problems with translating agenda here, it is broader than goals? How could a course influence or change participants’ agenda?  We were allowed to act as autonomously as we could in our life general. The drop follows others to the dark blue, sharp emergence area.

Self-organisation varies from hierarchical fixed processes to creative self-organisation and self-motivation. The topic of edcmooc, digital cultures in the future is open to many directions. I had never thought that it could be hierarchical, but of course some parts of the course could be constrained to selected gurus. This was not the case, or I did not see it. Now I read the guides again and remember that I should describe self-organisation in this factor, not the curriculum. To put it shortly: we could engage or not as we chose. An example of self-organisation could be the digital artefact of one participant. He chose to build a fake account for a facilitator to Twitter  and published it. The facilitator was pleased, not angry, it was a good joke and demo of how easy it was to do. The students were adults so this was possible. My drop falls in the same line, even on a little bit darker blue because of full freedom.

Open affordances varies from compliance with predetermined outcomes to creative innovative engagement. Now I have a feeling that I have already dealt with this topic. What could I add any more? The given  advice to peer grading were general nature and allowed freedom. Here is my blog post about this topic. My peer learners understood my ideas better that I could expect. I was lucky perhaps, but I was interested in all kind of feedback, not only positive. The drop goes to the same line again.

Cross-modal and multi-modal dimension is not easy to follow to me.  Mono-modal, abstract interaction is the other end of the dimension and synaesthesic, embodied, holistic interaction the other end. Interaction during edcmooc was very multi-modal and cross-modal, even trans-modal because of the topic. I have never experienced so great diversity of expressions and interactions. So the drop falls again to the same zone of challenging emergent learning.

Now I’ll take a break, my brain has worked enough. Why all my descriptions are so alike, like each other? Do I miss something, is this halo-effect with memory distortions? I’ll continue with the other lower quadrant named presence after the break.

My assessment about edcmooc

I decided to assess one course, E-Learning and Digital Cultures, in which I participated, first with my own words and how I remember the experience. Then I check my posts about the course and add something if important things had fallen out of my memory. The final part consists of building the Footprints of the course according to the research project, but it comes later.

The edcmooc course lasted four-five weeks (Jan Febr 2013) and consisted of the following parts:

Block 1 Utopias and dystopias: week1 Looking to the past, week2 Looking to the Future

Block 2 Being Human: week 3 Reasserting the Human, week 4 Redefining the Human

Week 5. Final Assessment and Peer Gradings, Research about the course.

Edcmooc was one of the Coursera products and used its platform, discussion forums and peer gradings. The resources for every week were short videos, recommendations about articles and lectures and facilitators’ hangout. The four facilitators were working at Edinburgh University, Scotland, and they worked as a team, for instance wrote a blog jointly, participated in Hangouts together.

My free assessment about edcmooc is very positive. The students were excellent, active and supportive. They made a Google group and offered their findings, shared their discoveries all the time. The facilitators were active and relaxed, the atmosphere was full of joy and laughter. The facilitators were interested in us, the participants, and wanted to receive all kind of feedback. The content was easy to follow, the videos were short demos about digital life. I had a feeling that I could step into a new digital world, to participate in an exciting journey. I blogged and commented on others’ blogs, followed the discussion forums when I wanted and followed the extra Google group. I tried Google+ because I got help with trying it. There was a week when we could send images to Flickr, it was extra, perhaps, but very nice. I did not study all of the content but I did not care. I learned a lot, I used Prezi in my Final work first time in my life. I admired other participants’ digital artefacts and published some of them in my blog. I liked a discussion Forum named Age 60+ and blogged about it.

The assessment is very positive. Now I read my posts and check if I forgot something important. I wrote 19 blog posts during the course 27.1.-6.3. The posts included more facts about positive happenings but not anything quite new compared to the previous text. Perhaps the concept ‘digital viking’ is worth mentioning. It is an example of other participants’ ideas which greatly inspired me. From the content I chose the parts dealing with human interaction and I asked the basic question: Have we always, sometimes or never been human? I used the demo videos and lectures in my post.

I did a summary of the results of what I’ve learned during edcmooc (my blog post 4.3.) .


I wonder what I could add to this description by using the Footprints with its clusters and factors?

This image is more about my learning outcomes, while Footprint factors help to describe the pedagogy, learning dynamics. I spoke about it in my first summary in this post.

Critical factors from my point of view seemed to be these two: The activity and high digital literacy of other students inspired me. And the facilitators, I trusted their expertise. These factors made my success and maintained my motivation and activity during the course.  What else can I find? This is an exciting journey…


Some footprints of learning

The research Footprints of emergence has inspired my imagination and now I took the time to read it carefully. The material is open here in wikispace.  I am glad that Jenny Mackness and Roy Williams have the courage to grasp this challenge: how to describe emergent learning qualitatively and without distorting the dynamics and complexity. Case studies, narratives, individual experiences are one way forward.

In my previous post I commented this presentation from LASI13: Sidney D’Mello has explored Affective engagement in learning. Both positive and negative experiences should be explored carefully, because they have different functions. Confusion and frustration are necessary parts of learning. Frustration is better than being bored. We need a new science  of nonbasic emotions, said the researchers. This something that also Jenny and Roy have been working on. They have named four clusters: open/structure, interactive environment, agency and presence/writing. Inside these clusters there are 5-7 factors which describe the dynamic relationship between emergence and prescription within emergent learning, installations, events, courses, even curricula.

I had problems with following the clusters named agency and presence/writing but the Germain version in jupidu’s blog helped me. The cluster Agency means Raum fĂĽr Persönliche Entwicklung and Presence/writing means Eigener Stil/Selbspräsenz. Thanks for the terms.

I knew that I should prove the footprints, to use the model in some context in order to understand how it works. I had problems with deciding on the topic, what to assess: my thoughts or acts, my development, a course, its curriculum or implementation. I always think learning as a process from orientation, motivation to doing something and then assessing and evaluating. It seemed that I have to do many footprints for every course or event. Then I decided to try to describe my footprints about CCK08, because Jenny and Roy have analyzed it too. Five years have elapsed after the course and the frame cannot be the same as it was at the real beginning of CCK08, but I tried to describe my holistic experiences during the course. My posts from the autumn 2008 are still in this blog and I read them first in order to remember my authentic feelings.

This is my image. Palette 2 is the newest, so I took a photo and put it in Powerpoint for my remarks, stars and lines between them. The researchers  have better models in the wikispace, this is only to test the palette.

palettiIt was not easy to fill the palette. I had a tendency to use bipolar ends, either or (open or structured). It was not easy to describe the course and my experiences as a whole. I should like a more concrete area to assess. I have to divide this palette in pieces later.

Every factor seemed to differ from others, but some were closer to others than other ones. I could not throw away any factor. Instead I began to ponder on the learning, where is the content? This is only emergence and its contextual factors? So this could be a tool for self /course assessment and understanding.

I agree with these words in jupidu’s blog post (the link is above)

We are fascinated by the possibilities of the footprint method. On the one hand the clusters and factors are a helpful tool to analyze courses, trainings and learning processes, on the other hand they are very intuitive to use, they are beautiful and they make fun. We plan to use them in future.

The researches’ basic frame is that “In any learning community, there is always a need to balance the acquisition of knowledge with the creation of new knowledge.” The footprints deal with these tensions between old and emerging knowledge /learning. I felt that tension during CCK08 and I worked it in every post, so why I cannot tell it now in this image? I don’t know, this is hard work anyway.

I miss a program which makes the image in one click (perhaps Roy has it already, I didn’t ask). If the factors were a list in semantic differential and then the user could try different images by clicking, that would be fine. I am reading the book Steve Jobs and this influenced my expectations. Are there any good assessment scales for emergent learning? Semantic differential is something I have studied in 1960’s and not followed after it, but there is a page in Wikipedia about it. Every truth must be found million times.

The wikispace footprint-of-emergence is a wonderful place t study and some day I will contribute there, this post is just a beginning.