I’m still thinking about Dave Cormier’s ideas so I listened to his interview with George Siemens which I found on pageflakes http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/archives/003522.html (I do seem to be finding resources of interest, by chance!)
A couple of key points/questions came out of this interview for me.
The interview starts with a discussion about the distribution of knowledge across networks and how the traditional system of validating knowledge through peer-reviewed research articles and the like, is both too hierarchical and too slow in relation to how fast knowledge is growing and changing in today’s technologically advanced world. (DC did – at the end of the interview qualify this by saying that his article was focussed on knowledge about new technologies)
According to DC, although we can still have experts, people these days just can’t individually have the spread of knowledge that is needed, hence the need to be able access networks, scan the internet, read a lot, filter and assimiliate.
Whilst listening to him talking I found myself thinking about the age old tension between depth and breadth in learning. There’s no doubt that increased connectivity will enable increased breadth, but it seems to me that what experts have is also depth. A network seems to me a very flat structure. How is depth built into a network?
Later on in the interview Dave Cormier describes his taught course with no curriculum – again qualifying this by saying that his own curriculum/subject area lends itself to this sort of approach. What really interested me at this point was that he talked about community as a curriculum model.
Now to me, a community is something very different to a network. In the words of Etienne Wenger, ‘every community is a network, but not every network is a community’. In a community ‘there is a level of identification that goes beyond degrees of connectedness.’
As yet, I have not been able to see, feel or identify with a community on this course. I can see the network very clearly, but I don’t feel a sense of community. I suspect that Dave Cormier’s course was successful not because he exploited possibilities of networks and connectivity, but because he established a community.