Research about online communities

PLENK2010 – the course program has ended and many people are pondering about their participation and learning. What happened and why? and why not? I liked the presentation Vahid Masrour gave in our Moodle General Forum: the Participation Spiral. There are stairways to confidence and trust, many excellent questions in this presentation.

Vahid also spoke about about categorizing online participation; consumer, interactor and producer are the main categories – more in this link. The Social Technographics’ Ladder are suitable in many contexts I suppose. Producers can be creators or elite – so we have hierarchies in open web world 🙂  I like Vahid’s spiral more than this hierarchy.

Then I remembered this presentation in Networked Learning congress in Denmark last May: Who is taming who? Tensions between people and technologies in cyberspace communities, written by Terrie Lynn Thompson, Alberta University, Canada. I refer only one part of the presentation:

The participants in the study include: postings; avatars; tool bars; emoticons; archives; community member profiles; the search term in Google that takes you to the cyber location; viruses; hyperlinks; the delete button; passwords; the technology that delivers postings such as e-mail, discussion forum, or RSS feed.

Human actants included: “newbies”, “wannabes”, colleagues, “big names”, celebrities, competitors, posers, lurkers, employment recruiters, clients, friends, strangers, and the online paparazzi.

We have mentioned newbies, lurkers and  friends. Colleagues mean co-learners or participants in open courses like PLENK. We have member profiles in Moodle and some of us have avatars in the Second Life. Some people have mentioned spam or viruses. What else? Are we blind to some factors?

I just listened to the last Friday Session about Critical perspectives or Modeling Learner Autonomy. Sebastian Fiedler’s model about Adult Learner, Rita Kop’s Model of learning in PLE and Stephen Downes’s Roles of educator in PLE world. Fiedler resembles action theory Engeström developed in Finland in 1980’s (international roots in the Soviet Union, Leontjew), Rita Kop knows experiental learning and combines it to new technologies, I like that model. I did not catch the excellence of Stephen’s presentation. Of course learners can produce the concepts, so we did in teacher education all the time. But the raw material is only a beginning, it is not interesting as such. So what, I let it be.

Learner autonomy and online participation spiral and who is taming who – please give me a summary about these.

Net pedagogy

We had a conference week about net pedagogy in CCK09 and I will gather my thoughts if I have any -actually I try to find my new thoughts by writing this post. We had six sessions in our program (Manitoba University), I participated three and listened to others. I must be well up-to-date 🙂 about global net pedagogy developmental trends after this participation. Where to begin?

Frances Bell’s session was great because her preach- and- practice were in a good balance. She had a short introduction and we all participated by answering questions. She really listened and was interested about our answers both in the board and in the chat. The climate was friendly and warm, we collaborated basic questions. That’s why I got some ideas myself.

In other sessions I received much information via lectures, mainly by listening to the presentations. I had not earlier asked about abundance vs scarcity in pedagogy and I am not sure should I.. The learner has always abundance of challenges in front of oneself. The learner has to make decisions and put things in some order. It was Martin Weller who gave this theme to us.

Stephen’s first lecture was about all the open systems in the world. It is good to know them, I didn’t know all – now I have a summary. It is useful. Terry Anderson’s presentation was a good summary about open education in Canada. I had read his book about the new theory of online learning and could partly follow the quick presentation about it. I will continue studying his book because I have the opportunity to meet him again next Friday in another session.

Vicki Davis described and demonstrated many ideas she has  implemented with her pupils and internationally. She has a blog named coolcatteacher – I have followed it and linked to it in my Finnish blog. Excellent work, I enjoyed listening but she was so quick that I must listen again to understand all. The pictures were great and helped following. It is easy to agree with the main principles although I am working with adult students. Vicki is so experienced that she can differentiate between important and less important issues. It takes time to separate them. It was nice to get appreciation to Finland via OECD and PISA.

Stephen’s other lecture about LOLcats etc was confusing and hard to follow in my mind. I suppose that he wants to show us how restricted people we are – that we should live more open-minded and ask NEW questions all the time. He believes that our world has totally changed because of internet and mobiles and so on. He want to deal with all human knowledge and put in a new suitable order. He hates defining but he does it and uses mainly words, with a picture about network structure. It is not an easy job he wants to do. I feel empathy but I do not trust him and I cannot say why not.

Thanks for this CCK09 week and the opportunities to check the limits of my knowing. I visit our Moodle, too but I haven’t written there. I am visitor – nothing touches me there. I don’t like Daily any more, it is better to check recent posts from Moodle and Twitter –  why to put them in Daily? But many people like Daily and it is not a problem – receive or not to receive.