#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?

John