Saturday, July 23, 2011

Making It Real: Organizing and Articulating Learning #eduMOOC

Finally got access to Moodle! Yay!

I really like Jenny Ankenbauer’s response (July 5) to Karen Swan’s question “What are the most pressing questions [re online learning] that still remain unanswered?” (July 2) in the Social Forum for eduMOOC ( Here is the part of Jenny’s response that really resonated with me:

‘The MOOC movement is an honorable effort to reform education… and a brilliant solution to release jealously held privileged knowledge to those who, without previous, socially connected opportunity, could never hope to get their nose in the knowledge trough. But MOOC’s are not capable in and of themselves of validating performance. In the absence of an assessment process that can externally validate my learning in a MOOC, I will consider a MOOC an opportunity to fill-in my learning gaps…It is a rare opportunity to spend critical time-on-task with time the only price I need to pay. I can obtain the privileged knowledge I lack[,] from recognized and externally validated experts in the field. And maybe that is all a MOOC is meant to be…an option and part of the solution, never claiming to be THE solution.’

I also like Joyce McKnight’s response (July 5), which reads, in part, ‘…what I call tacit (largely unconscious learning) that occurs as we live, work, read, reflect, act etc. in everyday life only becomes conscious (i.e. explicit) learning when we are able to articulate it and organize it…I think the same process is probably equally true with a would only be as I organize my learning into categories and articulate it that it would move from simply tacit learning (kind of floating around in my mind) to explicit learning…it takes discipline (organization) to really make sense of things and making sense is at least part of what formal learning is about.’

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Am I a Lurker? #edumooc

Despite following the OERu group's discussion of lurkers in regard to crafting their survey for eduMOOC participants, I really don't know how one determines which levels of participation constitute a lurker, an active participant, etc.

However, I feel that along any hypothetical continuum portraying levels of participation, I am sliding from "somewhat involved" (posting this blog, commenting on others' blogs, following groups and wikis with Google Reader, checking and occasionally posting on Twitter) to a new level, closer to lurkerism.

It mostly comes down to two factors: time and expertise. I spend a great deal of time following links, bookmarking and reading blogs and articles, etc. I am also not an educator in the sense that many eduMOOCers are; 3 years as a paraprofessional fulltime reading tutor, volunteer teaching a few years ago in a GED prep class, plus ad-hoc corporate training of co-workers back when I was employed, don't qualify me to comment on the learned dispositions of professional educators.

However, by participating at any level in the eduMOOC, my pool of knowledge, and hopefully my network, are growing. I plan to review the archived material from the PLENK MOOC, and have already signed up for a MOOC on "change" this fall. I truly enjoy and appreciate the intellectual stimulation I am getting here, even as I slide into the murky lurker cohort.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How Big is a MOOC? #eduMOOC

The OERu-eduMOOC group has been kicking around the measurements of a MOOC, among other interesting questions. My humble opinion is that a MOOC is bigger than a high school pep rally, smaller than the annual graduating class of the School of Hard Knocks.

Ray Keeps Expanding My Reading List

I’ve been out of state for several days, staying with a child who does not yet have internet installed in her new apartment, so now, back home, I am wading through both CSU homework assignments and backed-up eduMOOC items. One paragraph on something that struck me while negotiating the currents of electronic data streams:

Ray Schroeder provided yet another link to a fascinating article, “Emergent Learning and Learning Ecologies in Web 2.0 (Williams, Karousou & Mackness., 2011)” in the International Review of research in Open and Distance Learning Vol 12, No 3 (2011).

Three things in the article really resonated with me. First, the definition of emergent learning, which perfectly describes our eduMOOC, as “learning which arises out of the interaction between a number of people and resources, in which the learners organize and determine both the process and to some extent the learning destinations, both of which are unpredictable.” Second, by validating
“retrospective coherence” as a learning type, they made me feel better about the way I am learning via this MOOC; I prefer knowing the big picture and seeing where my current chunk of learning fits into it, whereas the MOOC forces me to hoard links, look up references to practices, adopt new technologies in order to access new info, and to form online relationships, with a realization of what I’ve learned only becoming clear after I’ve learned it. Third, it answered (for me, anyway) the question of the validity of constructing formal learning objectives for oneself at the start of each week (or for the entire MOOC) by, instead, urging one to “creatively [use] retrospective coherence rather than trying to force compliance and predictability where it might not be appropriate or even possible, particularly in performance targets.”