How to change your life?

Interesting to watch – body language and power posing.  That relates to the power associated with your body language.


#CFHE12 #Oped12 MOOCs emerging as Landscape of Change – Part 1

This presentation on Power and Ecosystems of Change – by Ann Pendleton – Jullian is amazing.

Here are some focus points:

From Re-framing to Ecosystems of change

We need new methods and mechanisms

– reality mining, micro-narratives

– boundaries, probes, and modulators

– studio based methods and approaches

– strategic game design

I particularly like the triangle where


Social Networks  ——- Mechanism


was used to explain the connections between the various parts of the ecosystem.

Ann points out the changes involved – from control to communities to cohorts.  Also triangles are fractals in nature.  To me, such forms of triangles have always evolved in social networks as I have shared in my previous posts, see here and here.  I think some of the micro-narratives have evolved as fractals that are further embedded as “fractals” as appeared in social networks – the social networks patterns.  The textexture is an example illustrating how a narrative could be visualized in a network form.

Another example is the Linked In Network, as illustrated below with the social network graph.

I could associate some of the changes in power and the structural changes in the ecosystem – as observed throughout the MOOCs that I have participated in.  MOOCs – i.e. CCKs – 08, 09, 11, 12, Change, eduFuture, and various other connectivist MOOCs could be viewed as an emerging platform which encapsulated the changes – change in terms of the properties of networks –





“The research found that autonomy, diversity, openness and connectedness/interactivity are indeed characteristics of a MOOC, but that they present paradoxes which are difficult to resolve in an online course. The more autonomous, diverse and open the course, and the more connected the learners, the more the potential for their learning to be limited by the lack of structure, support and moderation normally associated with an online course, and the more they seek to engage in traditional groups as opposed to an open network.” (Mackness, et al 2010)

Recent MOOCs had adopted a learning as change approach towards “de-centralising” the power that may be connected with “groups” and further distributing the knowledge based on authentic learning with PLE/PLN as the principal basis of personalized learning.

I will continue to explore this pattern of change in my part 2.

#Change11 #CCK12 Moving beyond Management and Leadership Part 3

In this part 3, I would like to consider and reflect on various strategies in moving beyond management and leadership in a networked learning environment.

I would re-conceptualize a model where power, transformational leadership and networks could be used to support education and learning in a networked learning ecology and platform.

There is a range of leadership theory as explained by Dr Marti Cleveland-Innes.  These include Trait-based leadership, Emergent leadership, Contingency theory and leadership, Complexity leadership, Transactional leadership, Transformational leadership, Distributed leadership.

Leadership theories seem to relate closely to the powers as vested in the leaders, in networks, communities (including family, associations) and institutions.

Power in networks

Network socieity is best illustrated by Castells.

Here is the network theories of power.

Transformational Leadership

Why having transformational leaders? We need leaders as learners who seek to transform, and to explore new and innovative ways of learning, with the affordance of technology and networks.  Based on the results of survey, transformational leadership is better than transactional leadership. To what extent is it true in real life?  Under what context would transformational leadership be more valuable?  Would it be a networked learning environment, rather than an institutional environment?

Refer to this Transformational leadership:

The Components of Transformational Leadership

Bass also suggested that there were four different components of transformational leadership.

Intellectual Stimulation – Transformational leaders not only challenge the status quo; they also encourage creativity among followers. The leader encourages followers to explore new ways of doing things and new opportunities to learn.

Individualized Consideration – Transformational leadership also involves offering support and encouragement to individual followers. In order to foster supportive relationships, transformational leaders keep lines of communication open so that followers feel free to share ideas and so that leaders can offer direct recognition of each followers unique contributions.

Inspirational Motivation – Transformational leaders have a clear vision that they are able to articulate to followers. These leaders are also able to help followers experience the same passion and motivation to fulfill these goals.

Idealized Influence – The transformational leaders serves as a role model for followers. Because followers trust and respect the leader, they emulate the leader and internalize his or her ideals.

Power and Transformational Leadership

How would power relate to Transformational Leadership?

Experts and expertise

How about the experts then? We need to rely on people who are more than just an “expert” on any one topic, but across topics.

Instead of thinking about mere experts, how about developing expertise?

Leadership relates to the development and supporting of people to become more creative and innovative, especially in higher education in developed countries – like USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia etc.

Distributed Leadership

Leadership practice takes form in the interactions between leaders and followers, rather than as a function of one or more leaders’ actions.  In the case of networks, distributed leadership could be an ideal way to practice.

Who needs Leadership?

Marti summarizes the different views on leadership in Who Needs Leadership?

Here is the slide on Who Needs Leadership.

Jenny comments on leadership:

“There’s no doubt that if everyone in a given group or network is a leader, then everyone is also a follower and a view of leadership as invested in one charismatic person would have to change. The questions we ask about leadership would have to change.

But do we really think that there is no longer a place for the charismatic leader. World events, such as what is happening in Burma at the moment would suggest otherwise. Aung San Suu Kyi is clearly thought of as a charismatic leader – a leader of change.”

I think leadership as practiced in governments is fundamentally different from that in networks, as governance would likely require charismatic leadership to steer the country, or communities, whilst network leadership would likely require a more “de-centralised” or distributed leadership to steer the networks.

In this report by Schofield, K. (1999). The purposes of education. Queensland State Education: 2010. Retrieved from

Formal education is becoming less institutionalised

In 1971, Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society provided a very influential statement about the negative effects of schooling. He argued for the disestablishment of schooling and the creation of learning webs.

A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known. Such a system would require the application of a constitutional guarantee to education.

While seen as radical in its day, many of Illich’s ideas now seem prescient, especially in light of Internet-based interactive learning, the popularity of the concept of lifelong learning, and the idea of a youth guarantee.

The ‘de-institutionalisation’ of education is evident in other ways. Multinational companies have set up their own universities. In Australia, some companies have set up university-linked institutes for their staff training. TAFE now competes with private training firms. More formal education occurs outside the classroom – in workplaces, trains, community houses, in cyberspace.

Marti says:

According to Schofield, education is a place where people develop according to their unique needs and potential; one of the best means of achieving greater social equality is to allow every individual to develop to their full potential. Leadership requires that schools be shaped in such a way to so.  Few accomplish this goal perfectly. The critics think otherwise – education is a system created to reproduce the existing inequalities.

Based on the analysis of networks, power and leadership, here is my proposed model where leadership would be contingent to the network involved and the power associated with the networks:

#Change11 #CCK12 Power and Leadership

One of the most interesting topics that I found in MOOC is leadership, as I have shared in my previous posts – here, here and here.  This also relates to Power and authority in CCK12.

Photo: Google Image

See this video on power – “Why some people have power and others don’t” presented by Professor Pfeffer.

Steve posts in video: How does true leadership relate to the accumulation of personal and organizational power? A reaction to the writings of Jeffrey Pfeffer on the subject, in preparation for a Twitter chat (#LeadershipChat)

In the video, Steve quoted Professor Pfeffer’s assertion that:

“The notion of a non-hierarchical workplace is nonsense.  What you need to succeed in the workplace is above all, power.  He goes on to talk about the need to cultivate  those who are in power above you, so you can move forward in the organization.

There are certain valid points made by Professor Pfeffer, Steve says:

  • The need to network with influencers in the organization
  • Ask for help
  • Seek to be in high visibility positions
  • Essentially play the game of moving up the ladder in the hierarchy

There are 2 questions posted by Steve.

1. Is it necessarily leadership, when you attain a position of power and influence through these means?  Is this a display of genuine ability to create value and empower others and break new ground and make the pie bigger?  Or does it mean that you are simply very good at navigating through zero-sum game and beating others up to the top?

My response to Q1:

The leadership practiced with the mere holding of power may be based on individual achievement, rather than collaborative achievement.  So I wonder if such leadership practice would really help and support others in organisation in developing and growing into “truly ethical” leaders with a goodwill for the team and organisation in mind.  In the long run, such culture of competing in order to beat the colleagues and others to get to the top would likely set up a “role modelling” of getting power by whatever means, in order to succeed.  Is this the best way to develop personally and add value to the organization, through this means?

2. Is the giving of our energy, time and attention to this game really the best use of our leadership ability?  Do we really want to give ourselves to the building up of these types of hierarchical organizations?  Or do we want to give all of our skills, our will, our characteristics, traits and abilities to building bigger pies that enable other people may be in non-hierarchical organizations.

My response to Q2:

I think we need to reflect on the significance of giving our energy, time and attention at work, and how that would relate to our achievement of personal goals and organisational goals.  Leadership is a means to an end, rather than an end by itself.  Our question could be: To what extent would a hierarchical organisation, especially in this time of flux, be responsive to the changing needs of our customers and stakeholders?  The  sort of leadership styles and culture for an organization would likely be context driven, but should be aimed to provide values to the organisation, the leaders and those working within the organisation.   The building of bigger pies would likely benefit the organisation in the long run, as more people are empowered to make decision and respond to the customers needs and satisfying the customers.

There are however, many assumptions behind this building of bigger pies, as there are implications when people are still trying to compete and beat others in order to get promoted.

“Let’s discuss this role of personal and corporate power and how it relates to true leadership.” Steve says.

In a hierarchical organisation, it is undeniable that power and leadership is positively correlated and in most cases, the top leader would have the most power.

It seems to me that such power game has evolved throughout history, and I don’t think there would be any significant changes in the case of a typical hierarchical organisation in the near future.

The question is: When an “organization” is re-structured in a networked organisational structure, where social networking and learning networks are fused into the system, would this power game work?

Is empowerment a reality, or a rhetoric or Utopian concept when it comes to power in leadership?

How does power and leadership play out in networks?

#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?


#CCK11 Power, Accountability underpinning Networked Learning

Here is a post relating to Power Law or the Pareto Principle of 80-20.

Clay Shirky – The Pareto Principle – “unfairness” is a law.

You see the pattern everywhere: the top 1% of the population control 35% of the wealth. On Twitter, the top 2% of users send 60% of the messages. In the health care system, the treatment for the most expensive fifth of patients create four-fifths of the overall cost…The Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto undertook a study of market economies a century ago, and discovered that no matter what the country, the richest quintile of the population controlled most of the wealth. The effects of this Pareto Distribution go by many names — the 80/20 Rule, Zipfs Law, the Power Law distribution, Winner-Take-All — but the basic shape of the underlying distribution is always the same: the richest or busiest or most connected participants in a system will account for much much more wealth, or activity, or connectedness than average…this pattern is recursive.

Power Laws reveals the long tail pattern in many ways.  Is it typical in case of Social Networks, where a small number of “leaders” are followed by large number of “followers”?  Or no!  It doesn’t work that way, there are different sorts of social networks where the number of leaders and followers are equally distributed.

Photos: From Downes’ Elluminate Presentation

So, what would you say about power and freedom in networks?

Autonomy and accountability might be viewed differently by different people, especially when it comes to responsibility.   What is accountability in a network? What do participants have to be accountable for?  In the case of a blogger, the accountability could be varied in the case of a course like MOOC.

As a blogger, I would be held responsible to write my blog post based on data and information that I have aggregated.  Whether my post would be re-mixed and re-purposed by others for their own purposes could be outside my control, and thus my responsibility.   So, I wouldn’t be responsible for any “mis-representation” of views or perceptions not under my control.  Would I then be accountable for what I have written then?   Would it depend on the situation?  If I deliberately spread any “false” ideas and information in my post, then I could be held accountable for what I have done, since this could lead to mis-understanding and mis-interpretation of the information by others in the networks or community, based on what I have written.  But who should I be accountable for? My network?  My Community of Practice? Would that be a myth in networks or community of practice?

Lindsay Jordan shares her views about oppression, freedom and control in networks, in particular referencing to Tony’s post and how it relates to her PG Certificate course and this CCK11,

Offers of choice and freedom don’t generally go down well with my PG Cert students – an experience echoed in Tony’s quote from Guri-Rosenblit and Gros (2011):

“Most students…are unable and unwilling to control fully or largely their studies.”

This mismatch between the learning preferences shared by my personal learning network, and the dominant preferences of my own students, brings me back to the question of the design of the CCK11 course being particularly – and perhaps solely – appropriate to those interested in MOOCs and connectivism. Would a MOOC in applied general pedagogic theory work? Would it appeal? Probably not.

Here is the problem: in networks, some love teachers, some love teaching, BUT some do not like “teaching”, some do not like to be taught, and  some may not have a good impression of teachers or teaching at all.

Why?  Would it be? Partly because of their past experiences, their previous interaction with teachers or learners in the course,  or the teachers using a particular pedagogy or the design of the course.

However, can we assume that most networkers in online learning love learning? Would many teachers love teaching to their learners?  Would learners love learning themselves, but not necessarily through teaching through the course?

Photo: Flickr

Here we have many assumptions, and none of them could be true in all circumstances. That is the challenge!

As shared in this on discourse and networks, the pattern seems to be prevalent in different networks.

If power is shared and distributed throughout the networks, then would this 80-20 be realized in the pattern as shown on the post.

What complicates this power law?  The typical classroom phenomena where everyone moves along within the same learning space, same keys of learning, and the same learning outcomes.  That is the production model typically used in manufacturing or servicing industries, and in many institutions, where standards must be adhered to, and procedures  must be followed.   That’s fine if everyone learns exactly as they are required to be, as defined in education, and expected by educators.

Would people argue that, with the use of Moodle, at least everyone would be required to focus and learn in a single space, like a classroom, with groups of learners coming together, regularly, and having discourse to the standards required?

Easier said than done.  Why?

With the past experiences in CCK, there were “threats” of trolls, “dominating voices” and un-equal number of sharing and contribution to the Moodle Forum, causing many conflicts which were difficult to resolve.  Besides, there were power issues often associated with the interactions between different parties, facilitators, learners, experts, knowledgeable others.  Were those conflicts and power struggles due to differences in cultural perspectives?


Photo: From Susan’s post on Forum in PLENK2010

Would cultural differences make it hard for the connections in networks where democratization is needed?

My observations and hypothesis in CCKs:  There are significant differences in attitudes towards teaching and learning amongst people of different cultures.  I tried to avoid stereotyping, as that is simply over-generalizing teaching and learning in different cultures.  However, would learners of a certain culture remain as lurkers for a longer time?  So some people (a typical 80-90% of the course like CCK) would remain as legitimate peripheral learners in a typical online course of MOOC.

Aren’t these evident in the multicultural “pot” in CCK11?  There are a few enthusiastic educators actively contributing and engaging in the course, and there are many other peripheral learners and observers, who may be “self-organised learners”, expert or experienced learners, experienced educators or scholars, instructors and administrators or learning technologists.

My questions:

For the active contributors and learners: Where are they coming from?  What are their backgrounds? Aren’t they mostly located in specific countries?  Are they all having certain passions in teaching and learning? Do they adopt certain cultures in teaching and learning?

Similarly for the legitimate peripheral or self-organised educators or learners: Where are they coming from?  What are their backgrounds? Aren’t they mostly located in specific countries?  Are they all having certain passions in teaching and learning? Do they adopt certain cultures in teaching and learning?

If these enthusiasts relate to the 1% – 10% of the network, then should they be encouraged to distribute their “voices” or learning amongst different networks, or should they continue to contribute within their networks?  How would an amplification of their voices influence the whole network?  Is it desirable?  What are the merits and demerits with such amplification?  Remember the CCK08 experiment of making everyone subscribed to the course, what would happen with such power and control exercised in the network?

What would you suggest for those enthusiasts and contributors  who have followed through the practice of Aggregate, Re-mix, Re-purpose, FeedForward? They are the good learners.  Do they need to comply with the notion of remaining as a node in a mesh networks, so others have their voices heard too? May be they are spreading the good news, and they are more passionate or knowledgeable, who are sharing their Personal Learning Network.

How about the legitimate peripheral learners who don’t seem to have much to say, regarding their choice of media.  Are they merely interested in the consuming of resources and artefacts?  They are equally valuable and important to the networks.

May be we are expecting more such learners to join the networks, rather than staying in the periphery as observers only.  Would this converge to the mesh networks as envisaged?  And that there won’t be any damaging effect as any “virus” or memes due to trolls would be contained or controlled.

How about the principles of networking as mentioned by Stephen here:

principles of networking – we favour networks in which the entities are autonomous; we promote networks of diverse entities; we prefer networks that are open and undefined; and we prefer networks that produce knowledge as an emergent property, rather than mere repetition of some property or state of an individual entity. These principles align with connective knowledge.

That marks the difference between learning in a typical classroom from that of the networks – where knowledge as an emergent property, rather than mere repetition of some property or state of an individual entity

Would this be familiar in a certain networked learning environment?  Mobile learning.

May be we need to think about the power of the Community of Practice.  What will we find?  A Happy Network as illustrated by Jaap? Or the one below?