#Change11 #CCK12 Online Social Networks and Formal Learning Environments

Here are my comments in response to George’s interesting post on Online Social Networks – Formal Learning Environments.  I would like to refer to Assumption Theory in my postulation of assumptions.

Hi George,
There are certain assumptions relating to whether “students tend to mix social and educational participation.”

Assumption 1: the setting up of criteria of assessment would impact on how and why students would post and comment on those site. For instance, students may be expected to discuss only course related posts, and be focused, and so their comments would be assessed too in terms of relevance, evidence collected to support their arguments.

Assumption 2: Students are expected to follow the norms set up by the fellow students, and such norms including the setting up or negotiation of rules, such as how long should such a comment be made – one paragraph? Or whether one could be allowed to share ideas tangentially (which normally is not viewed as a good idea), despite that some brainstorming of ideas could lead to improved creativity and connectedness.

Assumption 3: How the teacher and fellow students would role model such behaviors would set the precedence for others? This is especially important to encourage everyone to participate, especially in a traditional online course, where the students would like to wait and see who would be leading the conversation (especially if the instructors would likely be posing any challenging questions, or be part of the conversation).

Assumption 4: Whether the students are more interested in getting good grades as a result of participation and interaction, and thus collaboration, or they would really gain a lot of learning through those interaction, and collaboration, as perceived by the students. Here educational activities and social interaction might be blended together, as questions and responses may relate to the assessment activities, and or the academic advice, and emotional support that are given and shared by instructors, peers and other support staff.

Assumption 5: To what extent would the participants (the students) fully reflect on their feelings and perceptions in a research study? Most students do like to share the great learning from their course, but may be hesitant to reflect on the social sides of their learning, mainly because they are looking for achieving the learning outcomes from the course. For instance, in the case of the traditional courses, is the assumption that:”Nearly all students are looking for a qualification, not the “social learning” that informal learners or lifelong learners are looking for, as in the case of learning via FB or Twitter”.

In summary, I think your study reflects what may be typical with University students doing an online course with specific learning goals, in order to complete a formal qualification. How far would that be reflective of the situation of online learning for other sorts of learners – like those learning not for the degrees (like the MOOC) or the informal learners on the networks?

Pictures: Google Image


eduMOOC EPortfolios and its significance in our life

Thanks to Helen, grandmother of ePortfolios for such an inspiring talk.

Have watched it last year, when it was first posted.  In response to Heli on FB: Good for the retirees or going to be? Love what Heli quoted – we need re-wirement, only that the motivation may be a matter of re-emergence – of our presence – of peer enlightenment, self & community actualisation. Portfolio to me is a philosophy of life – how we live, learn, love, and leave a legacy (as quoted by Steven Covey) when we leave the world. I would add that these are all inscribed within our hearts and mind when we interact, and converse at a deeper level of understanding of each others. It is captured through those snapshots of life when we share, in forums, blogs, FB, Twitter etc, that once upon we have left our digital footprints (as Visitors & Residents), that makes the difference. A tiny step on the digital space, but a big impact on our mind.

Back to you.

#EduMOOC Openness

This is my first post relating to EduMOOC.

I watched Erik Duval’s video presentation on openness with interests.

Here are my takeaways and comments:

Erik’s approach towards openness in his University teaching relates to the use of social media and tools such as Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Delicious etc.

His presentation relates to

Open Standards, Open Content, Open Learning, Open Attention, and also Open Research.

Erik’s adopted a strong intervention approach, as was suggested in his presentation, that he stressed that if the students didn’t blog, they failed.  I am not sure if such intervention provides enough choice for the students, as my experience is: learner autonomy always comes first in learning.  Throughout my past few years of teaching and learning using blogs, I realized that it is never easy to blog and share with the public.  Some students may even voice: Is blogging polluting the media?  I still think we need to be cautious when introducing blogging as a learning tool, especially when students are new to the media and Web 2.0 tools.  Adequate planning and explanation about the use of blogs and why and how blogs could be applied in course might ensure higher degree of success. Also, the use of blogs may appeal to some learners, but not to others, as revealed in our CCK08 and PLENK2010 research, and subsequent CCK and PLENK2010 observations and research.  As a blogger, I think it is also very difficult to be both creative and informative in blogging, where critical thinking  and curating skills are very important in the development of blog posts.

Should blogging be mandatory for students?  What are the policy and assessment criteria relating to the students’ blogging?  How would blogging be incorporated into part of the course or module?  What is the role of the instructors in the “teaching” or facilitation of blogging as a learning tool?

Erik mentioned that around 10% of his students continued to blog even after the course.  I think this is also the case of CCK08 experience and some of the open courses that I am aware of.  Why would those course participants continue their blogging journey?  What did they achieve with those blogging experience? This may be an interesting area to research.

There are a few interesting points:

– The use of Twitter and Facebook in his course.  I was quite amazed by his comments: If you don’t tweet it, you fail (he instructed his students that they must tweet).  I don’t think this would work with my students, and my style of teaching too, as I preferred giving options to students, especially where competency based training is still outcome and content focused.  Besides, students who haven’t got internet access would likely be dissatisfied with such an instruction and intervention.

– Difficulties in paying attention.  I like Erik’s question: What does it mean to pay attention?  Erik’s advice that students have to comment on each others’ blog may sound simple in principle, but could be difficult to implement.  Throughout our CCK courses, didn’t both instructors and participants urge everyone to comment actively in blogs?  What caused the low number of comments in blogging?  Were participants motivated to comment on other blogs?  Why/Why not?

– I also liked Erik’s presentation about Learning Analytics, where he showed how intervention could be made where necessary, on those students who didn’t participate actively, or who were at risks.  However, there are still many ethical and control issues relating to Learning Analytics as I have shared here and here. Here is LAK11 and Martin’s post on Learning Analytics.

– I think at the end of the learning program, one must relate the learning back to the achievement of personal goals, and consider the power of feedback loops as mentioned by Erik, and review the effectiveness and impact of such learning on individuals and the group.

I am not sure if such open learning would be welcomed by the “oriental learning” and competency based learning, where the content and outcomes are relatively more important as compared to the learning process.  I am also doubtful if openness could be assimilated into certain Asian education culture, where openness is still a taboo, in both higher education and research.

Here is one of my posts on open courses and Jenny’s post on openness. Openness is challenging but exciting, especially when people realized the benefits of sharing, contributing and receiving valuable ideas and information openly.

What are your experiences in openness?