Questions, Assumptions and Conversation

Chris posted here about questions that could spark conversation

We were are hired to help facilitate something around a question that comes up, we have to remember that what we are doing is taking something out of the flow of work, turning it over and returning it to the stream.  Unless we are involved in deep systemic change – where the banks of the river change as it were – our work is about diverting some time and attention from the mainstream.

I think the 3 phases that Chris mentioned – Invitation, Hosting and harvesting, and Integration are extremely useful for the organisation consultation and facilitation, and could equally be applicable and useful  in the facilitation of online forum, blog conversation and community of practices sessions.

I do find that questions and assumptions always go hand-in-hand as elaborated here about Information Technology (IT) and online learning.  This could then lead to more critical questions on the basic assumptions made in any learning scenarios, and thus form the basis of conversations and dialogues in blogging and forums.

I have once written the Assumptions Theory that is important in applying the principles in situated learning or evaluating any learning theories.

For instance, what are the fundamental assumptions about Personal Learning Environments?  In this paper by Ilona Buchem, Graham Attwell and Ricardo Torres.

The central research question guiding this review was: What are the characteristic, distinguishing features of Personal Learning Environments?

They elaborated the importance of questions and assumptions:

The myriad of open questions makes clear that the PLE concept necessitates examination of some common assumptions and practices. This report expands upon previous literature reviews by Johnson, et al. (2006), Schaffert & Kalz (2009), Fiedler & Väljataga (2010). We assume that this is the first systematic analysis of PLEs based on the Activity Theory model.

In this post of Open University research explodes myth of ‘digital native’ by Gerald, the assumptions made about digital natives were investigated and challenged:

“We found no evidence for any discontinuity in technology use around the age of 30 as would be predicted by the Net Generation and Digital Natives hypothesis,” says the report. What the researchers do find interesting and worthy of further study is the correlation – which is independent of age — between attitudes to technology and approaches to studying. In short, students who more readily use technology for their studies are more likely than others to be deeply engaged with their work.

“Those students who had more positive attitudes to technology were more likely to adopt a deep approach to studying, more likely to adopt a strategic approach to studying and less likely to adopt a surface approach to studying.”

So, if what the research revealed is correct, then the assumptions about digital natives and net generation would need to be considered in light of their attitudes to technology, rather than their age.  This also requires reflective thinking and collaborative inquiry.

In conclusion, questions, assumptions when raised and shared in networks and Community of Practice or Interest (COP or COI) would likely spark conversation.  Such conversation would be the basis in organisation and networks learning and development.   Without conversation, learning would be limited.  Conversation would then be the organic “blood streams” which connect the actors. The dialogue and conversation would likely be mediated through social media and networks, as collaborative, appreciative and connective inquiry.  Such inquiry would often deepen the understanding of the phenomenon, principles of theory and application of theory in education and learning scenarios.

Further research is needed to reveal the importance of questions and assumptions in research in networked and community learning.


#edu MOOC #MOOC Building a new Eco-System by fusing social networks into education institutions (HE)?

I love watching this video and what Clay said in his presentation

He highlighted the 3 dilemmas:

1. The dilemma between individual work and group work

Collaborative work is often how people learn best. But how would this happen in learning networks?  How does it work in MOOC?

How about MOC (My own creation) or MOOC (My own created course) within an MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)?  Would this resolve the dilemma between individual work and group work?

2. The dilemma between the degree of participation and participatory eco-systems

– Dealing with the gap in degrees of individual participation

– Treat classes as eco-systems

In reflection, this dilemma is especially relevant in the case of MOOCs (like the CCK08, CCK09, CritLit2010, PLENK2010, CCK11).  There were significant gaps in degrees of individual participation, with a few percentage of active participation and contribution, and a majority of participants as peripheral participants and learners (the lurkers)

3. The dilemma of academic self-conception: the difference between what we think of ourselves and what’s possible in the world.  Here Clay explained how the disciplinary matrix has influenced our academic self-conception.

Finally, Clay suggested that we should build a new eco-system.  I think this requires a lot of experimentation on the creative use of new and emergent technologies, internet and web resources, social media and pedagogy.  This also inspired me to conceive MOOC as an experimental education and learning model to build such an eco-system.

The #MOOC discourse continued #eduMOOC

I read this post on MOOC with interests.

So… what should be done about MOOCs? Refuse to stand on the sidelines. Ignoring MOOCs is not a good idea. This leaves two primary options:

  • Offer your own. Amass a greater body of resources around a topic than you currently have. Involve your members and attract non-members. See the power in numbers, the value in “more heads are better than one.”
  • Make your resources available to MOOCs by others. Instead of fighting a MOOC on “your” topic, join the MOOC and offer up your own links, white papers, articles, blog posts, and comments. If you can’t fight ‘em, join ‘em!
You’re either in or you’re out. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. 
I would like to view MOOC from a learner-centred perspective and explore its educational values when delivered by institutions.

I am still reflecting on the significance of MOOC in higher education as posted here.

Have we tried our own MOOC(s)?  I think on a few occasions, we have the intention of creating our own MOOC, after the CCK08.  We have attempted or tried it here on ConnectivismEducationLearning Ning since 2009. Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to continue with the running of the community on Ning since its introduction of fees for service.  We then continued with our education, learning and research community development here on Facebook.  I reckon that is also the breaking of the shell of the egg of MOOC, where a new life of MOON (Massive Open Online Network) emerged and evolved up till now.

In CCK11 on Net pedagogy on the Role of the Educator:

How often do we read about the importance of teachers in education? It must be every day, it seems. We are told about “strong empirical evidence that teachers are the most important school-based determinant of student achievement” again and again. The problem with the educational system, it is argued, is that teachers need to be held accountable. The problem with focusing on the role of the teacher is that it misses the point. Though there may still be thousands of people employed today with the job title of “teacher” or “educator”, it is misleading to suggests that all, or even most, aspects of providing an education should, or could, be placed into the hands of these individuals. With new technology, with new pedagogy, and especially from a connectivist perspective, the role – or roles – of the educator is changing dramatically.

There has been a lot of promotional news about the AI course offered by Stanford University.  I applause on having a MOOC on AI, that would allow tens of thousands of people to access the valuable course(s) offered by Stanford University.

Though offering a MOOC sounds exciting, I think we need to ask the following basic questions:

1. What does it mean to have a MOOC in a specialized field or domain?

2. What do you want to achieve with a MOOC?

3. What pedagogy would be employed with your MOOC? Is the MOOC designed for the learners or for the instructors or both?

4. What sort of institutional support is required to ensure its alignment with the pedagogy used?

5. How would technology and media be used in MOOC?

6. How would a MOOC be evaluated? What are the criteria of success in a MOOC?

Critical questions as a follow through Mary’s inquiry on Facebook: How would a knowledge in AI help the learners in learning through the course? Is Pedagogy more important than the content of AI knowledge? Are these viewed: From a teacher’s perspective or a student’s perspective? For those participants: what are their actual needs? To learn how to learn through a MOOC AI course, or to teach through Pedagogy or Design of MOOC? If the emphasis is on the latter, then who would sit for the quizzes and examinations?

What percentage of the 100,000 would go for the actual learning of AI content knowledge? If the majority of the 100,000 plus participants are actual university AI students, then surely learning about content would be their main goals. But if the majority of the 100,000 plus participants are lurkers, educators, researchers (may be like you and me) then I am not sure that this course is viewed as an another MIT course that have got all the OER on the web, only that now you could assess the quizzes, examinations and have a statement of accomplishment. Would you (or we) be experiencing another MOOC with lots of lurkers (researching or experimenting) on open online course due to their curiosity & interest in seeing how it works. You could get millions of people to sign up if everything is free of charge, and certain percentage wise to be the observer on the experiments. What do you see?