#Change11 On blogging in MOOC

I read Jenny’s post on the selfish blogger with great interests. 

First, I doubt if there is a selfish blog syndrome.
1. This is a judgement on bloggers, based on assumptions about bloggers’ intention and behaviour.  No one blogger could be judged as selfish, unless he/she purposely hide all his/her sharing, as selfish is defined as acting or done according to one’s own interests and needs without regard for those of others, keeping good things for oneself and not sharing.  If a blogger is really that selfish, would he/she has posted or shared the posts publicly?  Rather, to me, bloggers could be altruistic in sharing, especially with the public, though I couldn’t claim this to be always true, as there are lots of “wicked” bloggers too, spreading the “wrong messages – based on false, biased information, or for advertising spams, or spreading trojans and virus”.  It really depends on the objective and intention of the blogger.
2. We posted on blogs for all sorts of reasons, like what Jenny has said, as a reflection tool.  For me, I used it mainly for reflection, but also for conversation (for myself and others).  Sometimes this could be perceived as self-promotion, but often, this is the initiation of a conversation. Before I joined CCK08, I have been using various media to connect and “play around” with the tools on the networks, webs, and internet.  Blogging to me opened up new opportunities to share my understanding and perceptions about others, the community and the world.  It is the “reciprocity” of sharing, through conversation, commenting, or debate that lead to deep learning and critical thinking (via appreciative inquiry) in action, with others.  However there are both intelligent and dark sides of blogging, as I have reflected here.
3. Is it necessary to integrate all these conversation on blogs in MOOC?  I would argue that it depends on the situation.  I have shared ways to doing so in my blog post, and also this could be solved using PLE.  However, conversation needs to be meaningful and valuable for the people concerned, as Jenny and Matthias have researched on online resonance.  The signal to noise, and the distraction associated with too much blog conversation over a diverse set of blogs is not helpful to deep learning, at least to me.   I think blog posting is already an integration of thoughts and reflection of all those different tip-bits coming from recordings, readings, blog postings and comments (i.e. the learning objects and artifacts that I could aggregate, re-mix, and re-purpose, or re-create).  This suggested practice (by Stephen) is already inherent in my practice for years (especially since CCK08).  It is re-stated in a prescriptive manner.
4. I still believe that learning is a personal and private “business”, especially in blogging.  Autonomy is most important, for those self-paced, self-organised learners.  I am one of them, as I did “distance education” all by myself, in the past, even in the pre-internet era, and I still enjoyed it.  I wrote a lot of personal diaries, journals, but haven’t got a chance to write on blogs before the late 90s.  I did try the earliest versions – like Geocity, Frontpage Web Design, etc. in designing web pages, where I could post artifacts on the web page. If I were to choose, I still like to learn most of the “things” myself, though I understand the importance of community and COPs.   In the academic and business world, if I were to work as a consultant, or a scholar, then that may be most important, as you can’t get a consultant’s job without a client, or a teacher’s job without students, or “clients”.  So, blogging is another way to demonstrate that capability, and capacity to network with others in the community.
5.  As I have learnt from Jenny, it is a matter of asking whether a certain topic or question is really helpful, especially when relating to this debate on Selfish Blog syndrome.  I think facilitation in MOOC is more than just integrating the conversation, more than the PLE/PLN approach, and more than the COPs.  It is self-organising. Tony may be right, from a “formal facilitator” point of view, on the fragmented and chaotic nature of information distribution, and failure to aggregate them, in the conversation.  But, this is a reality in learning via Internet, web spaces.
6. What may be a challenge for most teachers and instructors trained under the instructivist approach in MOOC is: Facilitation may still be based on a Constructivist approach, where Peer-facilitation-learning etc. may align more with a Connectivist approach.  In MOOC, where people would choose how, who and what they learn, facilitation may only work if the learners perceive it to have added value to their learning.  This is based on the assumption that learners are interested in MOOC learning, otherwise, they would prefer to the structured learning in typical online course.
7. I don’t see many educators are blogging, and so MOOC may not be that suitable for “them” as yet.  Rather, I noted that there are many “colleagues”, who for many good reasons need to promote the educational values of their formal HE institutions, or COPs and so they have adopted a totally different approach towards connection with MOOC.  This could be based on e-mentoring, e-coaching (the hot favourites) approach to facilitation and teaching.   This is of great value to the colleagues and institutions, as a best practice.  Blogging could be used for such e-Coaching & Mentoring, but I am not that sure if it is too much like the “apprenticeship program”.  Is it useful in MOOC? Time will tell.
8. When blogging, it would be wise to critique and debate about issues on education, and to ask questions which may generate positive “solutions” to problems, including “wicked problems”.  At this stage, I don’t think I have more to say than the ones posted here.
9. I think blogging has helped me in my learning.  I only shared my blog with my students (and of course MOOC, and the “world”).  Am I selfish in sharing? I don’t think so.  I like volunteering work.  I could share in private space too, in email, or in private wiki.  I have posted many private blog posts, and so that is who I am, as an identity in this virtual space.
10. Finally, I found myself more happier in expressing my “instant” thoughts and reflection in blogging and research, on top of writing research papers.  I would like to try writing more research papers, as that is more satisfying and rewarding too.
11. How about your views?  I hope this would lead to more learning, sharing and conversation on this important topic about blogging in MOOC.
Picture: Google image


#PLENK2010 Connectivism

Below is the comment in response to Stephen’s post on What Connectivism is

Hi Stephen, After reading your excellent post and all comments from others, I am more than convinced on the approach towards connectivism, in that it could add a new dimension towards learning, and help in understanding how we learn in a networked environment, especially the complex digital adaptive ecology.
First, as you have stated in various presentations, connectivist approach encourages and builds on connections, where learning is viewed as ontology rather than a static view. Second, different views under a connectivist approach is a healthy one, which to me also encourages each of us to reflect more deeply on the values of communication and interaction, and the importance of sharing of tacit and explicit (views/knowledge) in the learning process. Your example on chess playing illustrates the importance of pattern recognition, not mere knowledge per se. I resonate your views when I played with Chinese Chess. It’s the strategy that wins and the establishment of pattern which is the fun behind, not the one or two steps that lie ahead that determines the pattern, or the “knowledge” in playing chess.
May be what makes a fundamental difference with connectivism to all other approaches or theories would be that its application in external digital and virtual social networking and educational networks in particular, where we may not be seeing each other face to face, and so all those “meaningful learning in a traditional teaching” doesn’t translate into a reality.
I could sense the friction coming out of some of the interactions above, especially with the notion of techno-communism from CatFitz point of view, which sounds interesting.
I would applaud Stephen in sharing this important message on connectivism, where technology is accelerating and enhancing the mode of learning across the networks and individuals, even if people don’t want to see or accept connectivism as a new learning theory. Time will tell.

Commented here.

Perception, feelings and emotions

Thanks to Heli for the link in her post on quality of connection. I think this was a very emotional talk by Dr Brown. Getting “A”s and perfection in the academia is praised as the perfect achievement of personal goals and academic success.  This sort of achievement seems to be very different from our real lives after “school” where we have to live in imperfection.  This reflects our lives with authenticity and that often leads to a crossing between worthiness and unworthiness amongst us as we “struggle” with life.
Shame, fear, unworthiness seem to be “natural” part of life, and an offspring of personal study, learning, career, family upbringing, parenting, and ageing.  I don’t think people would share these feelings openly in social networks, in fear of personal security being hacked or an over exposure of private life to the public.  These have long term implications – on personal academic studies, marriage, career and reputation in one’s life.

People likes to associate with others who could empathise their feelings and emotions, especially when they are in despair, in vulnerability.  Would such feelings of vulnerability be too hard to share in academia, in social networks, or in open connections?  Why?  That would be perceived by others as living without perfected emotional literacy, critical thinking, in confidence, competent at work, or in personal life.  People would only share academic success but not much on life “failures” because that could lead to shame and fear in his or her life.  Isn’t that the dilemma between academic success and personal life struggles (feeling weak and vulnerable)?

Why would people like Dr Brown feel vulnerable?  Have some of us felt that way in our life journey?

Why would we have to numb our emotions, feeling in face of adverse personal issues or circumstances?  Aren’t we all looking for an optimistic way of living?

Would this be a cultural “issue” or an international phenomena?  The “pretend” issue just reflect what many of us are facing – we are living in a society that is so complex, filled with complex issues, dilemmas, and emotions, and advertising memes that so often we could be both fascinated and overwhelmed with information, power and politics, and personal life struggles.

How would we deal with these in social networks? How would emotional education in our society – emotional control & intelligence help?

What strategies have you adapted to overcome those feelings of loneliness, imperfection and vulnerability?