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

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 would be relevant here.

What is the possible out of the impossible? Would it be the iMOOC? Part 2

The iMOOCs movement – Part 2

The current xMOOCs have swung the pendulum to teaching, not research.  This has its merits and demerits.  The current suspension of an xMOOC has led to some debates as shared by George here:

The message that closing forums or shutting courses when they’ve already started is that it negates the value and role of the learner. MOOCs need learners. Even if the decision to close the forum was the instructors in the incident above, it is still a reputation concern for Coursera. Learners aren’t saying “instructor X killed the course”. They are saying “wow, this Coursera course was killed”. I’d like to know more about how course closing decisions are made and how quality is vetted early in course planning.

In this post relating to a forum on MOOCs

On what an online education world means for hiring and talent for educators:

Rafael Reif

[On the question of how to hire professors in the MOOC era] “Can you hire MIT professors who know that they need to teach 150,000 people and not 150? We have spectacular researchers who are lousy teachers. That’s sad. A teacher in the future will become more like a mentor. The model of on campus education will be more about mentorship and guidance with research as an important factor.”

To what extent is it true that there are spectacular researchers, but lousy teachers hired in institutions?   Issac Newton was the greatest scholar, but really not a great teacher (at least in his classes), as no one attended his class, as we were told.  Time has changed, and we seem to need teachers who could teach, be a mentor, and not only that, but those who would be like Steve Jobs, who could market, sell and promote their products and services to the world.  And they would be a world changer!

Are most PhDs or Doctor of education trained in research, rather than mere teaching?  If research PhDs are majoring their specialization in research, rather than teaching, would it be a challenge for them to teach 150,000 people?  I reckon many research professors would prefer research, not teaching, but this time, they either have to adapt and change, or else they have to work as consultants, or join industry.

Is that a concern for those research professors?  There are also concerns about the “oversupply of PhDs and researchers/academics”, leading to disposable academics.

Besides, I think an emphasis of teaching over research could undermine the importance of research, where research could inform teaching practice and vice versa.  I don’t see much discourse on this important area, though open and digital scholarship is still focusing on research, as that is where researchers would thrive at this tough time.

The current trend of pushing those professors to be on the front line – posting short videos, selling themselves also may lead to a total misunderstanding of what great education is all about.

The emphasis of great education (and future education) to me is about personalised learning, cooperation and collaboration where one is called into, in contributing to the networks and community, and in connecting with the networks and agents (experts, business partners, customers, students etc.) so as to be well-informed and updated in information and the use and application of technology – as an affordance.

May be we are still at a transitional period in finding out what works, and what doesn’t in the midst of MOOCs, and this huge wave of technology disruption, not only due to MOOCs, but the technology, mobile and internet based learning movement – which is bigger than any of its parts.

What do you see will be the impact of MOOCs on the education business?

What is the possible out of the impossible? Would it be the iMOOC? Part 1

I have been fascinated in the hype, revolution hitting the universities movement, and the irrational exuberance of the current xMOOCs.

The phrase, then, “irrational exuberance,” came back to me when I listened a few days ago to four enthusiastic Stanford University professors talk about their experiences teaching online courses including MOOCs. These professors in mechanical engineering, computer science, management science, and human biology told a filled auditorium of faculty and graduate students of their excitement, hard work, and surprises in re-engineering their courses to teach  MOOCs that included Stanford students in face-to-face classrooms.

The professors’ enthusiasm was infectious. They were animated in their remarks and energized by the experience. I was delighted to see professors so engaged in figuring out how best to teach a particular topic, how to get their students across the globe to work as teams on projects, and how they creatively went beyond pre-recorded lectures.

How about learning?  Larry asks: Does it work? Is it effective? Have students learned?

MOOCs are more about business models, from institutional point of view, though learning would be the “business” of teaching by the professors.

If we were to look into the future of education, say now it is 2025 and look back at what had happened in  2013, would we be seeing something like this?

Would we be seeing the trend of technology in the eyes of computers, then the Apple, Macintosh, ipod, iphone, ipad, and then iMOOCs (post c and x MOOCs)?

What is iMOOCs? i could stand for internet, innovative, integrated and international.

Such future iMOOCs would then be internet based, having innovative, integrated and international features designed to fit into everyone’s needs.

I would coin it as internet based MOOCs for the moment, and that may be the future of cMOOCs and xMOOCs.  That is why innovation and technology would both create and disrupt the future of education, and iMOOC is going to be a global phenomena.

I would however be much reserved to use the Messiah image as shown in the video.  Why?  MOOC is the catalyst and game driver for more democratic and enriching education, but not a panacea in itself.

To be continued in Part 2.