Traditions, cultures and MOOCs.

Thanks Stephen for such an insightful post on MOOC – Resurgence of Community in Online Learning. He says:

The recent MOOCs offered by companies like Coursera and Udacity have commercialized course brokering. They take a course offered by one university and make it available to other institutions to host in on-campus peer communities.
Of course, this is a model that the K-12 community has employed for any number of years. It is common to see a single course taught from one location and delivered to other locations by means such as video conferencing and interactive environments.

That’s basically a community model of education, under a MOOC banner, though quite distinct from the traditional single institution basis of formal higher education.

MOOC relates to community and community of practice, and more than ever, people have already realized the importance of sourcing education and learning from different institutions, networks (social networks), and  communities.

I have been thinking long about those three criteria that you mentioned: mutual engagement, a joint enterprise, and a shared repertoire. Based on what I have experienced in MOOC, the COPs evolved over virtual space during and after MOOC do exhibit those criteria within small clusters of COPs where some of the participants were situated. Relating to the learning, meaning, and identity of the members of COP, this is where the landscape of practice – a digital and virtual space where the members visited or resided upon. That’s why I would suggest to reformulate the criteria that are typically used in COP. This would reflect more fully the new and emerging structure of MOOC (as a conglomeration of COPs and Networks) that is evolving, emerging and morphing along the digital landscape, not being bounded by the conventional structures. In other words, the unstructure becomes the structure, and uncourse becomes the course, and finally the unCOPs become the COPs. This is happening in lots of COPs too, where the lifespan of physical COPs are transforming into a blend of COPs, all re-defining the meaning of learning, meaning and identity in new and emerging ways. I would need to restudy the research findings (our CCKs, PLENK2010, and other study) to substantiate such claims. The latest study by Wenger et al could also be used to study such patterns.

In this Network as a Learning Theory by Chatti, he says:

Within LaaN, the notion of legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) – which is very close to Vygotsky’s ZPD – is absent. In LaaN, role models are not strictly defined. There is no distinction between “newcomers, novices, or peripheral participants” and “old-timers or masters”. Every
participant is equally treated as a knowledge networker. Unlike CoPs, which are characterized by a single movement from the periphery to the center, in a knowledge ecology, the center does not hold and the movements occur in unpredictable directions.

In LaaN, by contrast, the primary focus is on the individual learner and her PKN. Knowledge development in LaaN is driven by the learning demands of the learner, rather than the community in which she belongs. In contrast to Wenger’s learning theory, where learning for an individual is “an issue of engaging in and contributing to the practices of their communities” (p. 7), LaaN views learning for an individual as an issue of continuously building, maintaining, extending, and restructuring her PKN.

How do these relate to tradition, culture and cultural awareness and intelligence?

People change and learn for their own reasons, not any one else.  Some people would shape education when they have the power to do so, whilst others would change their learning habits to adapt to a certain culture, especially at work.  These are all based on certain principles on culture and change.

Involvement of the learner. When you want culture to change you have to put yourself into the shoes of the person who needs to change. You can do this by involving them as much as possible. Change brought about in a clumsy or unthoughtful way will rebound, in the end, on management. As everyone learns slightly differently, as a leader and manager it is essential that you involve your learners in deciding their own optimal learning process.

Same principles could be applied to cultural identities and their roots to education. When people of different cultures intersect, these could lead to sparks of “conflicting views” and people naturally might be rubbing against each others, when there are differences in the cultural values. This is apparent in the different perceptions and beliefs about certain traditions, cultures in education.

The latest advances in online education and learning as manifested through MOOCs challenged the status quo of HE, though at the same time has awaken the giants to respond to the grass-roots quests for changes and innovation. The MOOC phenomenon seems to have uprooted the long-held belief of one size suits all best sort of economic mass education, though it has replaced it with even stronger behaviorist-one to few winners take all sort of over-arching education model.

Would this cultural belief align with the beliefs of different cultures? As Ana said, when people are too accustomed to spoon feeding, with reactive learning rather than proactive learning, and knowledge as consumption mode of education, xMOOCs would likely be viewed as the favorite of the month and year, and cMOOCs would be viewed as education of the past, rather than the future. Even the hybrid mode would still be viewed as a mere re-configuration of the present MASSIVE EDUCATION.

As shared, there are still long held beliefs and cultures on education where the gatekeepers would take hold of the keys, and doors would only be opened with those keys. cMOOCs are however based on the philosophy that people would connect and share the secret keys in opening the doors, by sharing their cultures and beliefs, rather than asking for the known keys that are kept only by the gatekeepers.

I have used keys as metaphor of MOOCs though we could easily relate that to the Lord of the Ring, where the Ring is the MOOCs.  May be the community would take the role of the ring, when time ripens.

I think one of the areas of opportunities that cMOOCs could tap into is the cultural awareness and intelligence. That seems to be neglected in a world of MOOCs where people are meeting each others who are coming from different cultures, languages, and educational and social backgrounds. Another possibility is to use “Total Intelligence TQ” or “Integrated Intelligence” (like an integration and synthesis of Multiple Intelligence + CQ +Social and Emotional Intelligence) to reflect on the multiple talents and intelligence each of us have, potentially and inherently.

This is a huge topic, and there is where diversity of opinions would lead to a Collective Wisdom of the Crowds, though some would argue that these would dilute the role of experts. In a Chinese saying: “The ideas of three guys could be better than the best strategist (a person named Chu Got Hung Ming in Ancient China who was one of the wisest military strategists).

If we could better understand each other’s culture, then that would promote cultural identity, multi-cultural understanding and appreciation, and thus leading to a more harmonious global community. Would this lead a resolution of many education, cultural and social conflicts which seem apparent in MOOCs, institutions, webs, communities and internet? Education shouldn’t be staying with knowledge only, it should embrace human values and cultural identities, in order for human to prosper.

In summary, MOOC relates to community and community of practice, and more than ever, people have already realized the importance of sourcing education and learning from different institutions, networks (social networks), and  communities.  MOOCs have become a community based sort of online education and learning, and this has evolved into a cluster of institutions providing Higher Education courses, with MOOC providers as brokering agents.

When people are too accustomed to spoon feeding, with reactive learning rather than proactive learning, and knowledge as consumption mode of education, xMOOCs would likely be viewed as the favorite of the month and year, and cMOOCs would be viewed as education of the past, rather than the future.  People are “buying” in with the xMOOCs for reasons as simple as: branding and easier to learn (as all information are already curated for them), and that a strong belief still with the instructivist approach reigns best, at least, that is what institutions want to see – a complete control under an institutional framework of education. Is that xMOOC sustainable? From a historical perspective, this fate would be like cMOOCs being “decimated” and “replaced” by xMOOCs (to some extent) (Mak, 2013).

If we could better understand each other’s culture, then that would promote cultural identity, multi-cultural understanding and appreciation, and thus leading to a more harmonious global community.

Professional Learning Communities versus Personal Learning Networks

Interesting post here on Professional Learning Communities versus Personal Learning Networks by Lorraine.

Choice and options are important in networked learning as shared in my post http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/change11-autonomy-in-networked-learning-and-connectivism/

There are differences between Professional Learning Communities and Personal Learning Networks. Professional Learning Communities are more aligned with the FORMAL COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE, and there may be mandates as to how it would be sponsored, organised, and coordinated, with definite role definitions for community managers (principal, head teachers, counselors etc.) and other community members.  Those are rules based COP with definite outcomes, and sometimes could be running under a committee structure.

The PLN are more aligned with the Social Network approach where learning is emergent and thus would allow for more personal autonomy.  Previous researches (from our CCK researches) have revealed those observations by Timothy and many other networkers, in their various manifestations of blog postings and forum discussions.

These tensions always relate back to the choice, power and decisions, often associated with communities and networks.  The group versus networks discussion throughout the CCKs http://wwwapps.cc.umanitoba.ca/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=956 would be relevant here.

#CFHE12 #Oped12 Fractals, Community and Openness in Education

How would communities develop?  It looks like fractals development on an ongoing basis.

Keith says in his post:

an alert to Michael Rose’s explainer about fractals in The Conversation.

In the explainer, Michael quotes Benoit Mandelbrot “Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules which are repeated without end“. It seems to me that open education has this potential. Like fractals I do think open courses are scalable.

Is openness spreading like fractals?

broccoli 1

I have shared the concept of fractal formation, development in my past posts here and here.

I am re-posting part of them here:

Let me put all these into a social context.

(a) Social interaction

When a person A interacts with a person B, within a social media (e.g. a blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Quora), which is denoted by c, then the emergent learning (or knowledge) that may result from such interaction is

z = z*2 + c

The development of this fractal into different fractal patterns would depend on (a) the z (ideas, information, knowledge) themselves

(b) the boundary conditions (and the ecology)

(c) how the interaction occurs

This concept could be applied to the interaction in case of communication between two persons, or interaction between an actor (a person) with a non human actor (could be an animal, a machine, a media, an artifact) or a network.

The product of such interaction would be emergent and its development is also based on the initial boundary condition.

So, the synergy emerging out of an interaction of actors (in networks) is greater than the sum of its parts mainly because z*2 +c = (a+bi)(a+bi) +c= a*2 + 2abi – b*2 +c is normally greater than a*2.  and so “network” collaboration or cooperation would likely generate more ideas than those coming from individuals.

However, using the above formula, there may also be noises involved in the interaction, which may be denoted by c being a negative value.  So if the noise – c value is big enough, then the resultant value of z*2 +c could be less than z*2 meaning that there could be a loss of synergy.  This also explains why conflicts (which may be denoted by c) could often hinder or even lessen the resultant synergy out of the interaction.  This explains why some ideas are amplified, resonated, and other ideas being dampened.

Further explanation about how these ideas are resonated, developed are explained here.

The above could also be used to explain the formation, development of networksNetworks, ecology under Connectivism, and that of Actor Network Theory and Community of Practice, all based on the Fractals.

Openness could be an important feature of network formation and development, and as illustrated above, would be exhibited like fractals, when examined under a community framework.

Openness in education is still at an early stage of fractal formation, as exemplified in the cMOOCs and xMOOCs, though it is still limited due to various constraints.  Openness is the catalyst that would foster fractal multiplication – in ideas, pedagogy, community and ideology.

 

#CFHE12 #Oped12 What would be the future of virtual or online communities?

Benjamin Stewart remarks on Google plus: As I see the tons of Google+ Communities emerge, many related to similar subjects, I wonder which ones will remain and which ones will fade away…

This scenario seems to be a repetition of what happened before: with Ning, Facebook, and Google Groups. A typical life-cycle of introduction, growth and development, maturity and obsolescence is a typical pattern with such emergent group-network mix.

Which communities would remain? Wouldn’t that be an interesting subject to explore?

For some people who have experience in MOOCs, they would likely be the “early innovators” creating their own MOOCs or SOOCs, or communities in their space.  As I shared in my posts, people are morphing along in their own trajectory of learning and exploration, and so those communities which are “most accommodating” to their changing needs and expectations would flourish.  Such communities would also need to attract novices in order to thrive.  Would the pattern of 1-9-90 (where 1% would become vibrant communities, and 9 % very active – active communities, with 90% having inactive communities) emerge?

Image: from GoogleProduct Life Cycle R0505E_A

John

#CFHE12 #Oped12 MOOCs Emerging as Landscape of Change Part 7 Commodity, Business, Community, Community of Practice

Here is my previous post that I shared about the impact of MOOCs on learning.

I am re-posting comments here for further reflection.

MOOC as a Commodity and a Business

There are attempts to monetize MOOCs. Treating MOOC as a commodity have lots of implication. What I am concerned is: when such “education” becomes a business for profits only, who would be engaged? Only those who could afford it would buy it. Business people talk, sell, trade, and profit from education. That’s fine. But is that education? What is the value of education to the society? What is its real purpose? If we reflect on what makes a great education, then would we be more interested in growing and developing people, in supporting each other to become more active, engaging, valuable and valued members and individual & independent learners of society?

MOOC is owned by the people, not the rich who could pay, nor the poor who couldn’t afford to pay, but everyone who shows or shares an interest, in the conversation, in debates and discourse, or in games, or in education and learning, that would hopefully lead to the achievement of one’s goals and aspirations. Some may use it for upgrading their skills at work, or developing or enhancing knowledge in formal study or lifelong learning. I would be hesitant in using it as a “selling” weapon though.

(MOOC is owned by the institutions, in the case of xMOOCs, so my claim above is only “partially represented” in the case of cMOOCs.  Even then, those cMOOC providers might correct me that MOOC is owned by their “institutions” whereas I would surely agree.  My proposition here that MOOC is owned by the people is premised on the rich contribution of the participants of MOOCs who makes up the MOOC “ownership”.  Besides, there was a comment by a respondent to the research survey, indicating that: MOOC is owned by the participants of the course.  Sounds interesting to me.)

What could a MOOC offer? I think your sizzle metaphor could be applicable to those for profits MOOC. I like your question about removing money from that statement, what sizzle would compel people to participate in a MOOC? Can you force a horse to drink water when it doesn’t want to? You could only lead it to the river, and it will drink, especially when it feels thirsty.

Thinking about business model, I found this interesting, about creating learning community not courses. May be MOOC suffers from the term course itself, as it really sends a message that it intends to achieve a set of learning outcomes, as traditionally set in a course. It is NOT. It is more than what the course intends to achieve, and much broader than just learning about the “content” of the course. As some of “us” has experienced, it is centered around conversation, and use of various media and tools to help us to engage, or to reflect more deeply into what those sizzle (badges, accreditation, certification) means, for the educators, and the learners (educatee?). Such misnomer could send the “wrong message” that MOOC is just a social club too, as there is in fact no one single club owner to direct what others should or shouldn’t do. Those belong to the “kingdom” of business, with centralised vision and mission. MOOC does provide value proposition, just like any business, though these values are based on what each of the “stakeholders” and participants would like to define. And that is what (E)ducation in a new and emergent community (or networks) would likely re-define, its vision, mission, and thus value proposition.

Does increasing engagement, attention merely act to add sugar to the river, in order to ease the consumption of it? May I share the video on Why Mobile Learning? For some people (especially the case examples as shown in the video), they would be looking for access to “quality” information, to help them to think, to reflect upon, to raise a voice, or to learn some basic skills, or to help in solving a problem or making a decision.

So, MOOC for the “disadvantaged”, for the “less than abled, not just disabled” and for the less than fortunate (due to lack of access, or their lack of academic or intellectual abilities) could be equally valuable. Have we forgotten these important values for the people in the society? Give them fishes, and they would live for another day, but teach them how to fish, and they could feed for their lives. I don’t know if that could convince the “rich” to bestow more “care” to the poor, but I do think as a Catholic, that is the value that I aspire to, even when I was young. It could be about leveraging technology, to get a certificate (recognition), to make a living (as an educator, or an entrepreneur), and each profession could add values to others or society on a different scale, in a different way.

As I have worked on numerous projects (courses, programs) in the past as course coordinator, facilitator, instructor for the disadvantaged students, I have experimented with the concepts of Connectivism and MOOC to varying degrees. MOOC could be used as an alternative approach of helping students with those needs, through various means, media, and technology as mentioned.

Although MOOC sounds “chaotic, distributive, emergent” to the learners (and even educators), it is really through such learning that some would understand the meaning of learning in a digital era, in an authentic learning environment. Sometimes, these students may need to have a structured learning at first, but soon they would find it boring and lose interests in learning. This might be due to the lack of interaction or conversation, or the lack of interested engaging activities or projects, games etc. for them to learn. This is where hands on practice, and internship could add flavors to their learning.

There are lots of assumptions too, when first designing courses of MOOC, and so an understanding of the needs of participants would be necessary, if it is to be based on course outcomes and specific learning goals. Up till now, MOOC has only been experimented on courses run at a “graduate” level or “undergraduate – education/technology” level. This could be interesting to see if the concepts are applied more widely.

In summary, I could see the challenge of course, in this MOOC, but I reckon it’s the values that MOOC could bring along that is more important, as that might be the catalyst for awareness, in education, and in its transformation, within us, for us.

Is MOOC a class in a course?

As my co-learner Geoff Cain mentions in his post “what part of mooc don’t you understand”:

When Vaidhayanathan is writing about MOOCs, I assume he is not writing about the MOOCs that came from David Wiley, George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Cormier, orJim Groom. I am sure he is writing about Coursera and Edx. I would not make any generalizations about those because I have never taken a class in Coursera or Edx. What I will say is that their pedagogy and methods are different from what are sometimes called “cMOOCs” or “Connectivist MOOCs.”

and that mentioned by Siva Vaidhyanthan here:

The classroom has rich value in itself. It’s a safe, almost sacred space where students can try on ideas for size in real time, gently criticize others, challenge authority, and drive conversations in new directions. But that does not mean that classrooms can’t or shouldn’t be simulated.

Is MOOC just a typical classroom where students have a sacred space, and can try on ideas for size in real time, gently criticize others, challenge authority, and drive conversations in new directions?

I don’t know if that is the case with x MOOCs.

For cMOOCs, I found there are open distributed space, recommended by the cMOOCs organisers, though such spaces are not always easy for participants to identify themselves with using their real identities due to personal reasons, like personal security, sensitive work or careers, or concerns of conflicts with that at work.  Would the interactions and engagement happen in real time?  Not always, in the case of cMOOCs, though it is always possible, when Twitter, Blackboard etc. are used.  Would participants of cMOOCS be criticizing each others in cMOOCs?  Yes.  When it comes to challenging authority, that is always possible in cMOOCs, as had been witnessed in various occasions in CCK08, and subsequent cMOOCs.  Relating to the driving of conversations in new directions, I think that is always the case for cMOOCs, in particular the CCK08, PLENK2010, and CHANGE11.

MOOC as a Community and Community of Practice

Mauriceabarry commented on my post: One of the biggest drawbacks, at least as I see it, is that MOOCs don’t seem to create much of a sense of community.  Yes, MOOC might not create that sense of a community as we normally expect from online community.

I have shared my post and comments here:

Based on my past experiences with CCKs, PLENK2010 and other MOOCs, the community is quite different from the “typical” communities that we would define, as there is no distinct boundary for the community.  Instead of a community, in MOOC, it consists of numerous networks and communities which formed and re-formed, with some sustained, and some re-configuration in the network-community that formed.  MOOC participants might have morphed along conglomerate networks, or social media as the weeks progressed, thus staying on with a particular media for sometime, and/or created blogs for a particular purpose, and then, engaged with others for a while.  This seems to behave in a self-organised manner, without any directions from any facilitators, but then the individuals within particular networks would set their own agenda, goals, or tasks which suited their needs.

I have been thinking long about those three criteria that you mentioned: mutual engagement, a joint enterprise, and a shared repertoire. Based on what I have experienced in MOOC, the COPs evolved over virtual space during and after MOOC do exhibit those criteria within small clusters of COPs where some of the participants were situated. Relating to the learning, meaning, and identity of the members of COP, this is where the landscape of practice – a digital and virtual space where the members visited or resided upon. That’s why I would suggest to reformulate the criteria that are typically used in COP. This would reflect more fully the new and emerging structure of MOOC (as a conglomeration of COPs and Networks) that is evolving, emerging and morphing along the digital landscape, not being bounded by the conventional structures. In other words, the unstructure becomes the structure, and uncourse becomes the course, and finally the unCOPs become the COPs. This is happening in lots of COPs too, where the lifespan of physical COPs are transforming into a blend of COPs, all re-defining the meaning of learning, meaning and identity in new and emerging ways. I would need to restudy the research findings (our CCKs, PLENK2010, and other study) to substantiate such claims. The latest study by Wenger et al could also be used to study such patterns.

I also found that many physical COPs were rather short-lived, and the purposes were ill-defined, with a lot of membership fading at a rapid rate. On the other hand, there have been many successful COPs which continued to grow and develop, but they were likely the ones that could “transform” themselves into new ways of functioning, rather than sticking to the three criteria only.

Relating to the MOOC being thought of as a shell, ecology, learning management system, or environment within which organizational structures such as COPs might exist, would you like to elaborate on what each of those terms mean to you?

  1. This Landscape of Practice Powerpoints by Etienne Wenger provides an excellent summary on various COPs and Networks.
    Does the community defined there match that in MOOCs (the emergence of MOOCs – CCKs, CritLit2010, PLENK2010, eduMOOC, MobileMOOC and this Change11)?
    How about conducting a short survey on COPs with this Change11?
    1. How would you define a community of practice?
    2. What are the characteristics of a community of practice?
    3. Is MOOC (e.g. Change11) a community?
    4. Is MOOC a community of practice? Is yes, what makes it a COP? If no, what is needed to make it a COP?
    5. What are the merits and demerits of MOOC being a Community of Practice?
    I would post these questions to the Change11 research group for consideration. Comments?
    John

  2. John, interesting posting here, and I found it ironic that you started off by referring to that most excellent post ;-) without mentioning your own thoughts about it. What do you feel about #change11 being a connected or networked or community? Do you feel you are a member of a community or have otherwise made connections around some shared repertoire? If so, how or around what? If not, why?
    Jeffrey

  3. Hi Jeffrey, Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and helping me to think about some of the critical “elements” of MOOC. I could see how challenging it could be to navigate and aggregate the network information, via visiting various blog posts, and making connections to ideas and or people with MOOC. You are probably not alone with this experience. I did feel overwhelming when I was too involved in “every post” and every referred articles by facilitators in the past MOOCs. Instead, I chose what interested me, and what may help me in achieving my goals, together with an attempt to support others in reaching their goals, through posting and commenting. After a few iteration, I did sense a pattern, about my own sensemaking, and wayfinding, that may be different from others. I tended to be more interested in the affective domains (emotional aspects) when connecting via blogs, and in critical thinking and reflection when connecting to artifacts and ideas. So, my understanding of Community and Community of Practice happens to fall on similar lines with the Meaning, Learning and Identity that I learnt through COP (Etienne Wenger), and furthermore, I prefer to think in terms of metaphors when it comes to COPs and its development.

    What is a metaphor for such a COP within a MOOC? A virtual wonderland with a performance stage where real people (directors, actors, supporters, audience) meet and share their repertoire, design their plays, having dialogues with certain actors, and having rehearsals, and acting out their plays in front of an international audience. There are also demonstration plays (by the guest speakers and facilitators) to showcase the best practice, so as to allow other actors to “learn” through watching and interaction. So, each participant in MOOC would play out their roles as active actors – the directors (facilitators), actors (each of “us”) or audience (lurkers) or supporters (again each of us at various times). These actors are nodes in the network/community.

    (a) What do you feel about #change11 being a connected or networked or community?
    In this respect, I do sense change11 as a connected network and community, whereas the members are participating in a pattern similar to the typical 1-9-90 to 10-20-70 participation pattern, as new members would likely participate in the peripheral (like lurking) before they play a more active part in the community. I also realised that some changes in the roles among the participants are self-organising themselves – to choose who, where, when, how and what to play with their own plays (tasks), with the artifacts created shared with other actors.

    (b) Do you feel you are a member of a community or have otherwise made connections around some shared repertoire?
    I do feel I am a member of the MOOC community. May be this was due to my previous participation and involvement in the MOOCs, starting with CCK08, then CCK09, CritLit2010, PLENK2010, CCK11 and eduMOOC (though I was just a lurker) etc. I was involved in the Ning (ConnectivismEducationLearning) and Facebook (ConnectivismEducationLearning) and various wikis on Connectivism. I have met “hundreds” of wonderful people, though I could only manage to be more fully connected to “tens” of wonderful members of the community. I believe the relationship that was built up through the connections was based on our meeting of “minds” – not only of like minds, but also unlike minds. That’s what I found it valuable in a community – where each of its members have own views and perspectives, and an understanding of perspectives of others is what makes learning more interesting. This is similar to a metaphor that I have used about the understanding of a digital elephant (the internet, vast arrays of information). With an international community, we would each observe and sense about this elephant differently, but also share our understanding via networking, adding a deeper understanding about the cultural, educational and ecological aspects of internet and web.

    (c) What are some of the shared repertoire? I would refer to the Community shared repertoire. These include PLE, Eportfolios and artifacts (in the forms of blogs, Twitter, slideshares, videos, digital stories, synchronous session recordings, etc.), curation & collectives (scoop, bit.ly, delicious, gRSShopper, OLDaily), conversation, forum (FB, Google+, Google Doc (research group), Change Daily discussion, etc.)

    Finally, the community of MOOC that I could sense is somehow different from the conventional face-to-face community or the various online community which has stated common goals or vision, or having a structured way of functioning.

    Sorry that this has become a long comment in response. I hope I have shared my feelings and thoughts about MOOC with you through such a “glimpse” of experience.
    John

  4. Pingback: #Change11 My reflection on MOOC as a Community & Community of Practice | Learner Weblog (Edit)
  5. >Finally, the community of MOOC that I could sense is somehow different from the conventional face-to-face community or the various online community which has stated common goals or vision, or having a structured way of functioning.

    So are you saying that a MOOC does not meet the COP criteria of joint enterprise?

  6. Refer to this definition of Community of Practice “Joint Enterprise: Secondly, through their interactions, they create a shared understanding of what binds them together; this is termed the joint enterprise. The joint enterprise is (re)negotiated by its members and is sometimes referred to as the ‘domain’ of the community.”

    MOOC does meet the COP criteria of joint enterprise, though it is not always a set of common goals or vision, but a negotiated set of personal goals, based on common themes and repertoire.
    Does it sound different to you? John

  7. @John-
    Thanks for your most thorough reply.
    I am looking for that sentiment you mentioned in your reply to me, “though I could only manage to be more fully connected to “tens” of wonderful members of the community. I believe the relationship that was built up through the connections was based on our meeting of “minds” – not only of like minds, but also unlike minds. That’s what I found it valuable in a community – where each of its members have own views and perspectives, and an understanding of perspectives of others is what makes learning more interesting.”
    That is something that will help me move toward meeting one of my own objectives for the MOOC.
    The only question for me now, is how?
    Jeffrey

  8. I think we are thinking on similar lines, as I reckoned that MOOCs sound like a Community of Interest too. What is fundamental is (a) who determined these basic definitions, and (b) how were these categorization decided? Under a constructivist AND empirical approach, such definition and categorization may be a result of sociological research. Would these need any re-definition and revision, when the conversation and community has moved online or within virtual spaces? For instance, would “Community of Practice” be also reflected as “Network of Practice” (as Terry and Dron has referred to in their previous slides and presentation) and “Landscape of Practice” as espoused by Etienne Wenger. These are evolutionary changes when technology is used as a mediation, or integration, and so the affordance due to media and technology should then be considered as part of the “catalyst” in reframing what is typically called COP or COI, though we would still need to retain the basics relating to Community. There are many examples that also have changed or even transformed what Community means. For instance, Community associated with particular interests could be the transition towards community of practice (as a profession). My association with Logistics Association of Australia is a typical example of COP. Here our committee members are having meetings using virtual conferencing (normally telephoning), but I could attend the meeting physically too. All the news are now electronically communicated. Our fellow members are connected via various means – LinkedIn, newsletters, dinner meetings, mentoring programs, etc. just to name a few. Another example is the Catholic church that I am part of. The community is centred around worship and prayers through the mass, though one could join other activities that are run basing upon one’s interests. So, communities are all around us, in real life, and such communities of practice could all be changing, as it grows, based on the changing technology and interests of their members. Back to you.
    John

  9. How? That is a big question. I could only share my perspective and experience so far, but I do reckon there are lots of ways that you could consider that suit your needs. Our conversation is already part of the process, isn’t it? Would you like to be connected with others? What would you prefer? Who would you prefer? Connection to people, or connection to ideas? You might be your “best teacher” in this challenge.

    I have proposed a strategy on the who, what and how to be connected to here:http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/teaching-and-learning-strategies/

    I also realised that networkers coming from different combinations of mindsets – the different schools of thoughts, with each sharing their stories, narratives of how successful they are. For me, each of the approaches may have their merits, and demerits, and limitations. For those who are accustomed to the school systems, technology may be very disruptive to their teaching, and so you could assume what they are telling you could be a story of how to focus on teaching, and not technology, and that instructivism reigns supreme, and systems and procedures must be complied with. On the other hand, those who are accustomed to the technology enhanced learning, or DIY, or the use of PLE/PLN would tell you a different story, on how technology has greatly helped and supported them in their teaching and learning, or even transformed their teaching or learning practice – through online mentoring, coaching, or PLE/PLN and eportfolios etc.

    I think there are many out there who could tell you those great stories – of successes (and may be failures). Are you already immersed into those narratives – with each of the facilitators for these five weeks, George, Stephen and Dave, and many others that you are connected to?

    Finally, you would likely be the one who chart out your goals, plans and strategies, and what MOOC could offer would be dependent on how you would use it as a PLE/PLN to achieve your mission. There are many who would attend your questions and accompany you too in this life-long learning journey. I am on the way too in this navigating of the digital landscape.

    Now, I do think you are not alone. If you don’t mind, how about my further questions to your response to the “hows” and the questions that you raised in my previous comment? That would be helping me too to learn in this MOOC :)

    Greatly appreciate your insights into this topic of interest.

    John

    Our conversation as shown below:

  10. >Would these need any re-definition and revision, when the conversation and community has moved online or within virtual spaces?

    Well, sure, you can redefine the terms if you want, to suit your analysis or particular needs. But then we really are no longer talking about the same thing then, are we?

  11. I think we are talking about the same thing, just a matter of “differences” of interpretation, and may be interests and needs, if that is the case.
    What I think is important is that “most of us are so used to the way Community and COPs are defined or categorised, that for me at least, we are more comfortable when they are based on an “enculturated” norm, or may be historical research findings. What I have found from previous CCK and PLENK2010 researches were that many practices were quite surprising, in that they could be different from the principles espoused. Such “emergent and self-organised learning community” deviated significantly from that of the organizational settings of COP, and more often, any initial “disruption” or “intervention” do change or even transform the COP into another configuration. So, I would argue that Community and Network of Practice is adaptive, dynamic, that often is a result of co-evolution due to network-community’s agents interactions and self-organising nature, and so “chaotic” behavior is emergent in nature (i.e. it would be a replicate at massive scale). If this doesn’t suit your analysis, then like to learn what and how you would like to analyse it. What have you found from MOOC in terms of community & COPs?
    John

  12. @John-
    I am wondering if the issue can be reframed as finding compatible narratives around similar topics of interest? If this is the case, then the specific issue may not be as important as the compatibility of the actors?
    As I am getting deeper into actor-network theory, this is quite strongly on my mind these days. Will have to explore this a bit more.
    Thanks for encouraging this thread and conversation to continue.
    Jeffrey

  13. Yes, sounds interesting to me – by finding compatible narratives around similar topics of interest. Thanks for your questions too, as you have helped me in shifting the frame of reference in the reflection. ANT would be an interesting theory to explore.
    John

  14. Well, COP as a concept was introduced in 1991 by Lave and Wenger, and I only heard of it a couple of years ago, so I am not so sure I can think of it as an enculturated norm or best understood when based on one. I am not ‘so used to how it is defined or categorized’, and learned of the concept while participating in and ilearning MOOC-talk. So I don’t agree with your summary there.

    And, as you have observed, “(MOOCS)…do change or even transform the COP into another configuration:. So if another configuration occurs, perhaps a new description is warranted, and you have shown Wenger’s ‘landscape of practice’ configuration. Maybe the term LOP applies to a MOOC, instead of COP? What do you think?

  15. I see what you are not agreeing upon – on “we are more comfortable when they are based on an “enculturated” norm, or may be historical research findings.”
    Here are some abstracts from various papers on COP and situated learning, upon which I would elaborate on my arguments.

    “In the terminology of Wenger (1998, Chapter 2), enculturation into this CoP is accomplished when the newcomers are mutually engaged by participating in online discussions, checking each others’ modifications and offering their own; the engagement is in a joint enterprise, since they subscribe to the community’s goals of developing quality software; and they use a shared repertoire of operating systems, languages and compilers, as well as software tools for maintaining the community such as tools for configuration management, distribution and installation.”

    Based on the above, CoP is based on enculturation. How about MOOC? I have once reflected on the enculturation within MOOC.

    “The concept of communities of practice can also be used to inform pedagogy. Lave’s studies showed that apprentice tailors perform finishing tasks on real garments such as sewing on buttons.” This shows that the concept of COP is based on studies on apprentice tailors.

    “As Wenger (2001 p1) says: Communities of Practice are Focused on a domain of knowledge and over time accumulate expertise in this domain. They develop their shared practice by interacting around problems, solutions, and insights, and building a common store of knowledge.”

    Assimakopoulos and Yan (2005) further argue that the common practice of a community gives them a knowledge domain, a shared identity and cohesiveness to sustain interactions over time (p475). Did MOOC exhibite some of the above – on knowledge domain, shared identity and cohesiveness to sustain interactions over time?

    Indeed, one of the functions of CoPs may be the enculturation, or socialisation of its members into a community’s “approved” mindset. Successful membership of a community implies support for the culture of that community – a shared vision -, and its over-riding ethical and moral standpoint on particular activities or actions – a belief in their values above all others.” So one of the functions of CoP may be the enculturation, or socialisation of its members into a community’s approved mindset.

    Does it sound closer or further away from your view? Are the concepts and definition of COP an enculturated norm? If not, what would these concepts and definition of COPs be based upon?

    You got me thinking – on Landscape of Practice instead of COP. I have once shared that too. John

    Here is a paper on COP that may be of interest.

  16. >This shows that the concept of COP is based on studies on apprentice tailors.

    I think that apprentice tailors is an example of, not the base for the concept of COP

    >So one of the functions of CoP may be the enculturation, or socialisation of its members into a community’s approved mindset.

    That may be a result of a COP, and it may be a goal as well. But I think the key word is practice.

    >Are the concepts and definition of COP an enculturated norm? If not, what would these concepts and definition of COPs be based upon?

    I’m not an expert on Lave and Wenger, but I think they based their concept on an empirical study and coined the phrase COP as a result of their findings, worked from a beginning observation and conception of the phenomenon of Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Does their study and findings make the concept itself an enculturated norm, in your view?

  17. As you mentioned, COP as a result of their findings, based on observation, and LPP, and how all these evolved. The concept behind reveals such a pattern, but you still need to have enculturation, or the socialisation of its members into such community’s approved mindset, otherwise all the definitions, concepts won’t be validated, or accepted. There has been numerous researches revealing stories of successes, and such initial successes in the late 90s and early 2000′s & even now did show the Power Law and the Apprenticeship learning pattern (i.e. LLP). There are however, stories revealing that COP and LPP could be idealistic under certain circumstances, where the apprentice is mentored by mentors within the community from the peripheral to the centre. Why? I have witnessed a few COPs which didn’t work, especially when there were political, power struggles and interference (i.e. constraints due to autonomy, openness) causing inactivation soon after its formation. So, enculturated norm is a concept built on “practice” and without such examples of successes, how would you convince others that they work? For instance, we (and I) have conducted researches on Connectivism (CCK08, PLENK2010), and reported on the experience of the participants learning through Connectivism, whilst others have also done so. Do you think these studies and findings make the concept itself an enculturated norm? Without the “community’s approved” mindset, the community would likely fall apart, and there is no shared (or agreed) definition, no shared concepts accepted. Successes may be due to something else, like network of practice, network or community of interests, which may share some of the characteristics of COPs. And that’s why I am suggesting a “review” of the elements of COPs when examining MOOC. That’s also based on Grounded Theory, where the observation, findings provide the questions to the research of MOOC and COPs, instead of setting up hypothesis in the first place (as in common in scientific research). There are still assumptions here on the community thus formed, especially in the case of MOOC, in that what happened in CCK might not happen in Change11, due to changing circumstances, and the butterfly effect (Chaos – changing initial condition would significantly impact on the outcome) on community and COPs (or COI, LOP etc.).

    I learnt that you have conducted some researches on COPs (MOOC), i.e. the interview you have with me. What have you found from that research?

  18. In that course paper I concluded that CCK11 met the three criteria of a COP. I thought more work might be need on the emergent learner identity issues though. And I think you are right, Change11 might be a different beast than CCK11.

  19. Hi Ken,
    Interesting finding. On identity, that sounds revealing.
    Here is a post relating to Etienne Wenger’s latest thoughts on CoP. What do you think? Is enculturation (and socialization) critical to CoP? I don’t know how this would be translated in Change11, especially with such a diverse “cohert” with different mix. Do we know each other well enough – with the 2 thousand +? I don’t :) , but with small clusters, may be some understanding. That’s the magic that shakes up the engagement. Social artists… I like it, but I am not sure again, as I am more introverted, not extroverted. How about others? What would you aspire, as your role in MOOC? Becoming a…..

    Photo: Google image

    I think we have a rapidly changing virtual community and community of practice that is much more embracing to the “traditional COPs” and have less constraints on where the community should envision.

    I have been so thankful to Ken, Jeffrey, Mary, Ana, Roy, Jenny, Nicola and many others who have added a rich tapestry in the conversation in the past posts or forums, and in helping me in coming up with new ideas, or in challenging my views.

    As this CFHE and OPED is near to the drawing to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them (George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and many others) for their organising of the MOOCs, and  many others who have participated and contributed to the learning and conversation in various spaces and platforms.

    Finally, this is a community of MOOC that you are all part of, in a conglomeration of MOOCs.  How and what you would like to be involved and engaged in is your choice, and that is where MOOCs make it interesting in our life long journey.

    What would be your vision?  What would you like to envision?

What are you interested in exploring in a MOOC? Are you learning?

It is great to learn about Jenny and her colleagues’ contribution to the MOOC through the FSLT12, and I would like to congratulate her and her colleagues in having a great success in the design and delivering of the course.

Heli asks: Did I change in FSLT12?  My response question is: Did I learn in MOOCs?  Did I change after participating in MOOCs?

I have only browsed through FSLT12, so I could only share a “glimpse” of what first time facilitation means to me, if I were to participate in it. Thanks for sharing such wonderful, thoughtful reflections. I am with you, in your thoughts about learning, in particular on what learning means.

I don’t see learning always be equated with change. Under a behavioral approach, learning is a change in behavior. If there is no change in behavior, is it true that there is no learning?  For instance, I would like to meditate and reflect on my learning with my blog posts. If I keep doing it, there is no change in behavior, but have I stopped learning?  Sharing is part of learning, whether it is becoming, or just be yourself, could mean that I am continuously learning, though it is a practice of acting and reacting, reflecting and responding – the interaction in the communication and learning process.

I think the “Course” in the MOOC may be best considered as a stepping stone for those participants (lecturers, professors) who would like to have more experience in facilitating online courses, first time.  For those of us like you who are well experienced in facilitation, then it is more about our sharing of what we have done and learnt with others.  Adopting a formal approach in professional conversation in an online course may be useful if the goals set up by the course are shared and agreed. This would ensure that learning outcomes are achieved, based on the performance of the learners, and evidence are collected both by the individual participant and the facilitators.  However, when it comes to personalized learning, especially in life-long learning, I think that is where different people would view learning differently.

We all have different life and work experience, attitudes towards education and learning, and personal values.  So, the capturing of learning that are achieved on a personal basis, like the achievement of personal goals via different learning and strategic actions would make deeper sense on a personal level.  Would that be reflected in your fulfillment of a retired life, where you could learn as you want, with more autonomy and a choice of who and how you would like to interact with in the virtual and digital networks?

The facilitation of online forum could help many first time educators to start having conversation with others,  and to appreciate the different voices and opinions of both peers and students.  The use of PLE/PLN could be a valid, authentic and reliable evidence of learning that has taken place, especially when it addressed the higher forms of learning, such as problem solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, collaborative team working, proactive and authentic networked learning.

In Meaning is the driver of learning, Jenny says: “We experience the world and our engagement within it as meaningful through practice”.  We make sense of our social experience when we participate and interact with each others, sharing and understanding some of the values and experience of each others, and reflecting individually and connectively or collectively.  The personal learning that may occur could be based on our critical examination of some of the information and perspectives each of us have, and questioning the assumptions and basis behind those problems and decisions.

To what extent would these learning and the associated modes of belonging be relating to engagement, alignment and imagination whilst learning in the community, and a part of community of practice? I am sure that I have been involved in all three modes of belonging in the various MOOCs since CCK08, though I think my engagement and involvement with each of the MOOCs would vary, as I have shared it here.

This may then shed light on how we would manage and communicate more effectively when learning in an online learning environment through sense making and way finding.  The learning that takes shape in the community would also reveal our personal identity throughout the networks - in terms of who we are, and how we would like to better understand our identity, to create and control our identity, and to resolve our identity issues. “Virtual communities and networks make it possible for people to create new and multiple self identities that can be controlled and manipulated by the user (Ridings and Gefen, 2004).” “Virtual communities and networks assist individuals to work through issues of personal identity in a variety of ways. They provide social support to people in need by connecting individuals who have experienced similar identity issues.” (Harris, 2010)

Do you think you have learned anything new, or emergent through a MOOC?  I don’t think I have a simple answer to this important question.

I am more interested in asking questions, in particular those relating to the recent trends of x MOOCs, rather than the seeking of solutions to education, through x MOOCs. Why?  Is learning all about exploring and seeking responses to the challenges and changes?   It is both a process and becoming what I want to become, not merely the mastery of content, or an expert.  It should go beyond being an expert in an area, but having expertise in connection, engagement (my reflection here and here) and various un-explored areas, as Feynman once conceived – the pleasure of finding things out.

I am also interested in exploring how new technology is supporting informal learning, as Stephen shares here.  Is MOOC the solution to future learning?  Here is another interesting post asking if the x MOOCs are sustainable.  I don’t have the crystal ball, but I think xMOOCs with venture capital would last for a long time, though it would take another series of post for me to respond.  How about your view?