Tag Archives: “George Siemens”

MOOC as Learning Experience – #OpenEdMOOC Week 3

For Week 1 I shared ‘Open Matters‘ with a bit from the reading, and an Open Education Manifesto that I put together in 2011.

For Week 2 I shared ‘“More Free” #OpenEdMooc Week 2‘ with a reflection on Stephen Downe’s 2012 post on the topic of why BY-NC-SA is more free than suggested in the Creative Commons.

I really haven’t done much more that summarize the readings, add a bit of reflection, and some of my thinking (previously) influenced by others… nothing really new, just summaries and review of things I’ve already thought about.

For that reason, it was refreshing to see Lisa M. Lane discuss OERs again.

“I’ve posted a number of times on Open Educational Resources, and mentioning these might help explain why I subject the entire issue to serious criticism, a small sigh, and a raised eyebrow…”

Go ahead and read the post, and the comments (please).

I found this refreshing because this was the first of the learner contributions to the course that went beyond summarizing the reading or past thinking, and it was also critical of the conversation.

Even my post on “More Free”, while somewhat argumentative on the Creative Commons ideas of what is more or less free, was still just reiteration of Stephen Downe’s idea, which he again mentioned in the last 38 seconds of his video, in this week’s course content (shared below).

In the course so far, Lisa’s post was the first student contribution that I’ve found, which promoted conversation and discourse. Discourse is actually the thing I most appreciated about a previous project involving George Siemens and Stephen Downes, “Online Connectivism Conference: Healthy Discord

This discourse is something that I have seldom seen in the world of educational blogs. There seems to be an unspoken etiquette about being non-confrontational when discussing ideas on other’s blogs. Essentially teachers don’t criticize others’ opinions. Even when there is disagreement it is often polite, reserved and… well, annoying. On the other hand, there seems to be thoughtful discord and discourse happening in the Connectivism conference forums.

Yesterday, Donna Fry connected with me on Twitter (she is the reason I jumped on board to take this course ‘with’ her and others. She linked to a Tweet about another open course Learning Creative Learning, and also said, “…I am so far behind in already (right ?)

My response:

This morning we connected and had a great Facetime conversation. This conversation was the second time my thinking has been challenged in the course. Donna helped me re-evaluate the value of the ‘No Derivatives’ aspect of CC, which I didn’t see a purpose for, because I thought of it as equally as restricted as copyright. Her example was sharing something controversial, where ‘altered’ works could then cause mis-attribution and confusion about your original message.

Another key topic discussed was that we both learn from healthy discourse (and even discord)… something lacking (so far) in this course.

Donna shared with me (and on Twitter with #OpenEdMOOC) an article by Margaret Wheatley, “Willing to be Disturbed“:

“There are many ways to sit and listen for the differences. Lately, I’ve been listening for what surprises me. What did I just hear that startled me? This isn’t easy – I’m accustomed to sitting there nodding my head to those saying things I agree with. But when I notice what surprises me, I’m able to see my own views more dearly, including my beliefs and assumptions”

and Doug Belshaw “On CC0

• CC0/Public Domain: “No Rights Reserved” — I have created this thing, and you can do whatever you like with it.

…For me, the CC0 decision is a no-brainer. I’m working to make the world a better place through whatever talents and skills that I’ve got. While I want my family to live comfortably, I’m not trying to accumulate wealth. That’s not what drives me. So I definitely feel what Alan says that he’s “given up trying to be an attribution cop”.

Both of these articles have pushed my thinking a bit, both are initiated not by the course content, but rather learner relationships.

And so with the following 2 tweets in mind, I planned to call this post “Open Discourse”:

@_Ms_J contributed:

However, I started thinking about why this idea of disagreement and discourse was missing, and that got me thinking about course design. So far, I can see this course being more informational that conversational and that makes me question the value of it being a MOOC, and not just an online course where the student, teacher and content are the primary focus.

To me, the value of a MOOC is that the participants get to openly engage with each other and the curriculum in a way that fosters greater value than if students immerse themselves in the course without the networked connections of other participants.

So here is a little image that I’ve put together to look at the MOOC as Learning Experience.

Venn diagrams are about the relationships between things and I think these relationships are key in a MOOC. Donna says above, ‘MOOCs are more about conversations & connections than content’, and I think learner experience in a MOOC is really about the relationships we have with each other, as much or more than the relationships with the content… if not, where is the value in being ‘open’?

Here is a brief description of the relationships that I see between a MOOC, the teacher(s), and the participants:

MOOC content <-> Teacher

  • If the material is Open and Online, the design around how things are shared needs thoughtful consideration.
  • Participant contributions are distributed and so a component like the ‘Learner Activity‘ page is essential.
  • Social sharing/hashtag/conversation beyond learner activity content is essential.

Participants <-> MOOC Content

  • Content is open and easy to access and share.
  • Learning activity is open and easy to access and share.
  • Content is designed to go beyond information delivery and designed to promote dialogue and discourse.

Teacher <-> Participants

  • Focus on open, publish sharing
  • Teacher as provocateur, agitator. The course delivers the content, the teacher inspires the conversation.
  • Teacher as questioner, not answerer (more socratic rather than a focus on content delivery).
  • Social interaction – connections and conversations with other learners – are fostered.
  • I think there also needs to be intentional teacher presence if the conversation isn’t happening, and perhaps intentional teacher ‘tongue-biting‘ when participants are asking the right questions and contributing to each others’ learning.

Ultimately, learner experience in a MOOC is about fostering relationships between the teacher, the content, and the other participants to add value to what the course would be if it were not open.

It is about connectivity and networked learning, not just a student <-> teacher <-> content relationship.

I invite conversation, by all means, go ahead and disagree with me… ask questions, provide alternative perspectives. Help me learn.

What should we do with tools to make them great? » Online Sapiens

What should we do with tools to make them great?

David Truss (via @sabridv) suggests what we can do with tools to make them great

1. Give students choice
2. Give students a voice.
3. Give students an audience.
4. Give students a place to collaborate.
5. Give students a place to lead.
6. Give students a digital space to learn.

Compare this list to:

Stephen Downes Connectivism Principles:

1- Autonomy
2- Diversity
3- Openness
4- Interactivity and Connectedness

and to

Chickering and Gamson Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

1. encourages contact between students and faculty,
2. develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
3. encourages active learning,
4. gives prompt feedback,
5. emphasizes time on task,
6. communicates high expectations, and
7. respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

As George Siemens posted, It’s not about tools. It’s about change.

It’s the change underlying these tools that I’m trying to emphasize. Forget blogs…think open dialogue. Forget wikis…think collaboration. Forget podcasts…think democracy of voice. Forget RSS/aggregation…think personal networks. Forget any of the tools…and think instead of the fundamental restructuring of how knowledge is created, disseminated, shared, and validated.


Eduardo did a great job of putting together several ideas around the same theme such that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts!

On my post David Warlick added, “Give the learners a sandbox.”
I like the idea of ‘Play’ and also that he changed ‘students’ to ‘the learners’.

elearnspace › It’s New! It’s New! › George Siemens

It is my main critique with the emotional-feel-good message of Ken Robinson’s focus on creativity. First, we need to get over the view that our generation is astonishingly unique. Hasn’t every generation faced new technologies to solve problems not foreseen? The present moment arrogance that invades much of school reform thinking is frustrating. And, I might as well add, the pendulum-thinking mindset that is evident in Robinson’s view is damaging in the long term. If a view of educational reform is defined by the current reality that it is reacting against, rather than a holistic model of what it will produce in the future, then we’re playing a game of short-term gains, planting in our revolution the seeds for the next revolution that will push back against gains that we make now.

Developing capacity for complexity. Complexity is the DNA of society. Whenever multiple agents interact, outcomes are uncertain. Failure to account for complexity in organizational design, teacher preparation, and business planning is a short path to frustration. Yes, it would be nice if the world was complicated – like a puzzle where every piece has a right place. But it’s not. It’s complex – like a weather system where changes in one aspect of the system cascades and influences the entire system, often in unpredictable ways. Unfortunately, complexity is not built into the educational system. We seek “general right answers” rather than “contextual right answers”.

The pendulum-thinking issue has been on my mind, but I have not been able to express it as well as George does here. It reminds me of the dichotomized digital native vs digital immigrant issue which can also be counter-productive.

I also wonder how many ‘rules’ and ‘expectations’ are created because of present moment arrogance? Are filters our equivalent of book burnings? Are our subject blocks created by a parochial curriculum? Are typing skills equivalent to quill pen skills of the past? How is our arrogance counter-revolutionary?

In the second section, I love the puzzle vs weather system metaphor! Using a metaphor exemplifies contextual complexity!