It was interesting that on the Elluminate meeting on Wednesday, Mireille described this course as being a lonely experience. I wonder how many other people on that call felt the same.
It also feels a lonely experience to me, although not unpleasantly so and I have to admit to being somewhat responsible for this loneliness, as I have made little attempt to connect with others. I personally know only one other person out of the 2000+ people on the course and have conversed online before with 3 others. Only one of these 4 people is even mildly active in the course.
I have been thinking about my own behaviour on the course. I am very interested in the content, but some of the theoretical and philosophical content being presented assumes a prior knowledge that I do not have, so I am struggling to keep up with the reading, always playing ‘catch up’ and don’t post to the forums as I don’t feel, at the moment, that I have anything of value to contribute.
In her blog, Catherine Fitzpatrick writes:
…..a fraction of people make the content for the rest ….. a few people do all the posting. The rest consume it like sheep munching grass.
From my experience of online courses and work, I know this to be true and on this course, I’m one of the sheep. But I’m usually ‘making the content’. So why is this course different for me. As well as the sheer amount and unfamiliarity of much of the subject matter, it might also be something to do with the number of people. It’s interesting that Dunbar’s number (i.e. the number of people with whom you can sustain a stable relationship) is 150. Even 150 sounds too many to me.
As well as doing this course, I am also currently working as a community mentor/facilitator on another course on which there are 30 people. Within one week, I already feel much more closely connected there than I do on the connectivism course.