#Change11 How to improve connectivity in MOOC through tools and media

gRSShoppers and RSS, email subscription, Scoop, etc. could be used for aggregation & curation, though commenting and pingback could still be difficult to trace, unless you use subscription and other tools.  As Alan said, one size doesn’t suit all, and so even interconnected massive links, with conversation still doesn’t mean that people would be able to “grow” and “prune” the network, unless there are means of “sorting” out the ones that are valuable from the “distraction”.  Is massive adding enough value to diversity, autonomy, and openness?  Would this depend on what one wants to achieve, again from MOOC? Fragmentation of information could be remedied by the tools, but pattern recognition of massive data and information relies also on the digital literacies and critical thinking skills of the networkers, with PLE/PLN.  So, MOOC may be a platform for testing out the practical use and limitations of those tools – gRSShoppers, Moodle and LMS (like FB).  May be Moodle could still be useful for novices, when the learners prefer more guidance and curation by others.  I was about to post this, when I just came across George’s post.

Here George just posted on what may be useful tools to be developed to improve connectivity.  I don’t think I have the time to work on those tools development, and that really depends on whether you want to use it in your online course like MOOC or not.



#Change11 My reflection on MOOC as a Community & Community of Practice

This is my response comment to Jeffrey on my previous post.

Photo: Google picture

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.)

Photo credit: Etienne Wenger et al.

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.

Does the community defined there match that in MOOCs (the emergence of MOOCs – CCKs, CritLit2010, PLENK2010, eduMOOC, MobileMOOC and this Change11)?

In order to gain a deeper understanding of others’ interpretation of COPs, would you mind posting your responses to the following questions?

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 consolidate the responses in coming post, if you (participants of Change11)  all agreed.  I would report on the findings in research wiki or article if you think that is appropriate.

May be this is also an attempt to conduct research in an open manner.


#Change11 Engagement in MOOC and Community of Practice

I read Jeffrey’s post on Making sense of Complexity and engaging others in Change11 with interests.

Jeffrey says:

While I prefer online communication as a mode of social connection,I am increasingly disoriented by the sheer scope of participation in the MOOC,and thus am really struggling to find a small (or any!) social connections of more than a passing or very focused interest.

First, relating to the setting up of goals for MOOC Change11. I don’t think I have a particular set of goals this time.

I have only got one goal: To research and learn through Change 11, and reflect upon the practical aspects relating to Connectivism principles and Community of Practice.

So, natural questions for me include: Were MOOC communities of practice? Is Change11 a community?  And is Change11 a community of practice?

MOOC may be a COP, but may be not, in accordance to the definition of COP.

In this slideshow by Stephen, he mentions that you got to “create” or “join” your own networks, own communities in a MOOC.

But can one really “build” a community of practice, in MOOC?

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.  MOOCkers 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.

Can one reveal the patterns out of these network/community formation and development?  Some social network analysis did reveal the trend and pattern.

How about this network and community of practice? COPs need a lot of nurturing before they could grow, develop and sustain.

In this article by Wenger and Snyder suggest that: To get communities going – and to sustain them over time – managers should:

*Identify Potential Communities of Practice.

*Provide the Infrastructure that will support such communities of practice.

*Use non traditional methods to assess the value of these communities of practice.

In MOOC, who will be the manager managing the COPs?  May be, there is no one manager, but each of the participants in the MOOC would take up such role, and self-organise the COPs/Networks in a way that suits him or her.

Twitter is a network, though not a community, as many would argue.  But under the “infra-structure” of MOOC, would Twitter be re-defined differently? Is it a transitional community, or communities of practice?  May be.

Photo: Google

#Change11 On motivation

What could I learn from this wonderful post of motivation?

Would these principles on What demotivates workers be applicable in the case of motivation of learners and educators in online courses?  Just replace the word of workers by learners, and we will get a wonderful set of guidelines on What demotivates learners:

Hype: A failure to acknowledge the real difficulties the learners face.

Futurism: Pointing down the road at “difficult or impossible future goals” and not at the tangible achievement of learners’ recent efforts.

False democracy: Inviting learner’s input when the leader (educator) already made up his/her mind.

“And that’s a key point: in addition to demotivating talented workers (learners and educators), an opaque and dictatorial leadership style can silence innovation from below, leaving the leader in charge of coming up with all the great ideas. Nobody’s that good – not even Steve Jobs.”

So, motivation could be a critical success factor in distance education and online learning.  What is needed is to explore the assumptions behind those factors – the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Will explore motivation and leadership in another post.  Forthcoming!

#Social Media – FB in MOOC

I have just posted on FB

Is Facebook “good enough” for sharing and learning in this Change 11 MOOC?https://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/facebook-and-its-impact-on-social-networking-and-education/ If yes, why so “few” postings and sharing. If no, why? What and where else? I haven’t posted any here, as I don’t know much about others, and some security reasons. Also, is it an issue of dominance – when postings based on broadcasting, and not conversation?

Bonnie and Suz commented, and shared their views about FB and Google Plus.

I shared further:

For a teen audience, yes. For educators within MOOC (like Change11), I am not that sure still, if the comfort/power relations plays a part in FB. Our past MOOCs on FB did show a similar pattern, where 1-9-90 or even 10-20-70, where not much distributed learning (in form of conversation) took place. That was my observation, and my speculation was that FB still wasn’t appealing enough for “most” to come together in a group forum. Rather, each of “us” would post on our own FB page, on what interests us. As Bonnie has mentioned, there are “conveniences” with FB, especially with the update. I also found that many of our “facilitators” didn’t really think FB is that appropriate for the sharing, (George didn’t seem to be impressed with FB) as he mentioned in his post-as FBookers have become their “advertising targets” and not really their “customers”. I don’t know the perceptions of others enough, but in a course like MOOC, it is not good enough to know about each others’ preference, but to think about how we (and others) could use the learning space as an affordance, for conversation, dialogue, discourse, and debates, as typical in a forum or conference. Besides, I am not sure if posting “too much” on FB would be viewed as “good practice” or not, as the 1-9-90 did review a broadcast/dominance when it comes to power in the networks. This reminded me of Stephen’s suggestion of having a more egalitarian network, where everyone has an “equal chance” of sharing, and feel free to voice their opinions – the diversity and openness as espoused in networked learning, and a property of networks. Is such affordance available through G+ & Twitter, rather than FB? What are your experiences?

Here in an article relating to FB, Selwyn reports:

“We would contend that the students in our study were simply using Facebook in a number of considered, pragmatic and justifiable ways.”

The rising use of Facebook certainly raises “important questions about how universities will articulate their teaching relationships with internal student cohorts” in the near future (Kitto and Higgins 2003, p.25). Yet we would conclude that whilst social networking sites such as Facebook do not merit any particular laudation from educators, neither do they present any cause for moral panic.

Rather than attempting to appropriate Facebook for educationally ‘appropriate’

or ‘valid’ uses, or else regulate students’ use through coercion or surveillance, university authorities and educators are perhaps best advised to allow these practices to continue unabated and firmly ‘backstage’.

If “we” as educators are to model and demonstrate the use of social media (FB) and are not using it ourselves in the discourse in MOOC, would we expect our colleagues or learners to use it too in their online education and learning?

May be we have to consider the context of online learning (like MOOC).  Would Google + and or Twitter better serve the purpose?  Or would other Blogs be a better way to share and learn in MOOC?

Photo: Google pictures

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence: What is it? Why is it so important? What are the implications?

I enjoyed reading this Emotional Intelligence and Business Success available here.  Thanks to efrosyni77 on Twitter for the link.

I found the results useful:

“The results of this study indicate that companies should place greater emphasis on developing the attributes of emotionality (capacity for relationship skills, empathy, emotional perception and expression) and self-control (capacity for controlling emotions, urges, and managing stress) when hiring new managers or promoting persons to higher positions of leadership in the organization.”

This also reflects the importance of developing Emotional Intelligence among educators and learners, and the feeling, perceptions and emotions whilst learning in social networks.

How does emotional intelligence relate to the divided brain?  Is emotional intelligence still a myth in neuroscience?  Would emotional intelligence require both sides of the brain to function well?

Not sure if these are of interests to our fellow MOOC Changers.

Would emotional intelligence lead people to become smarter, wiser?   May be, in accordance to the research findings.  But again, there are still many assumptions here, when the definition of what Emotional Intelligence is is still emerging at this digital age.  How does emotional intelligence impact on educational leadership?

#Change11 Managing Technology – my response to Tony Bates

Here is my response to Tony’s post on Managing Technology – discussion so far:

Hi Tony,

I have responded to your posts via What sort of changes are required in our education system and followed up with another post on Educational Leadership.

I shared Rita’s views as we got such findings through our research.  Should “we” use a LMS such as Moodle Forum for the discussion?  This seems to be a matter of preference, both for facilitators and learners.  In a MOOC, participants have often been “confronted” and challenged by the abundance of information, blog posts, forum posts, just to name a few.  This together with the facilitators’ recommended readings, or artifacts would mean a lot to most novices, if not more for the veterans.  So, I don’t think you have failed in connecting with “us”.  Rather, your prompts and provision of generous resources have led me to re-think about the significance of forum sharing when the focus lies with more open sharing.  As I have participated in most of the MOOCs in the past, I have accustomed to posting via blogs, rather than forum.  Our previous research on Blogs and Forums as learning and communication tools also revealed the idiosyncratic nature while learning in MOOC (refer to: Roy Williams, John Sui Fai Mak and Jenny explored people’s preferences for blogs and forums in our paper, which we presented at the Networked Learning Conference in 2010).  The power issue is, however, a significant factor in determining whether the participants would really like to engage with the conversation, as too much “perceived power” would undermine one’s confidence, autonomy as revealed in participants’ feedback.  I also think this relates to the topics itself, in terms of its sensitivity and impact of the voices of participants on their work and institution.  This may be a subtle issue, but as Jeffrey has asked, why were there so few MOOC participants posting and sharing their views?

I have subscribed to your blog, and so have been deeply interested in every post you created.  I have also posted comments and created posts in relation to the areas that you mentioned.  May be, I could have related to my past posts in response to this important topic.

Finally, I am not sure if there are “selfish bloggers” out there in MOOC.  I am sure that I would like to share in whatever platforms that suits.  However, in past MOOCs, I have realized that this could be challenging, as posting in forum “alone” could be like talking with myself.  Is that selfish too?  Obviously, most of us as educators would like to share in an open manner, but this is only my assumption.  May be I don’t know whether forum is still the best way to share in a critical discourse, on such a sensitive, though important topic.  Who are the audience?  The administrators who would make the decision to change, or the educators?