Jenny connected? -yes I think so

Reflecting on this whole experience, the first thing that occurs to me is that I did manage to get connected even if only temporarily. So I have taken the question mark out of the title of my blog. Connecting took quite a bit of persistence and I had to ‘go for it’. Public blogging is a new experience and I never really expected anyone to comment on my blog. But some people have – a sincere thank you to them for taking the time.

In addition I managed to stay the course for the full 12 weeks. Sometimes I did wonder why I was putting myself through this. The amount of time I was able to put in did drop towards the end. I think I can already say it was worth it, but it will be a while before I can say what I have learned.

Frustrations

That blogging doesn’t allow you to keep a record of where you have commented on others’ blogs. I know I have failed to follow through on some comments. Apologies to people who I have failed to respond to.

Having to miss some of the live sessions due to technical problems or other commitments. Listening to the recording is not the same. Twice I had Elluminate cut out on me to the point where I wasn’t able to follow the session. I don’t think we should ever forget that acccess will not be the same for all participants.

Not having the multi-tasking skills to be able to chat and listen in the live sessions. I can’t cope with parallel conversations going on at the same time. In the last session there was a conversation about George hitting a deer with his car at the same time as Stephen explaining something about the course. The deer conversation was so distracting that I can’t now remember what Stephen was talking about. Reminds me of cocktail parties, which I hate for this very reason – you always get pulled off to meet some new people just as you are getting into an interesting conversation with someone! Fortunately I don’t go to many cocktail parties these days!

Not feeling able to participate in the Moodle forums. I didn’t feel that I had anything to contribute.

Things to try out in the future

  • Mike style video chats.
  • Digital storytelling – Lisa style presentation, although I currently don’t have the technical skills
  • Youtube video a la Wendy
  • Matthias style Flash presentation – this would be a huge technical jump for me. Not sure if I would ever get there.
  • Keith style blogging

…. and more – too much to mention

Surprises

Trolls. A new word for me. The first comment I received on my blog was from Catherine Fitzpatrick.  I was delighted and naively didn’t know what I was getting into. Within the blink of an eye I was being accused of ‘grooming’ which I always associate with paedophiles so that came as a bit of a shock!

The amount of emotion in the network. Despite protestations that connectivism and networks are about reason rather than emotion, many people seemed very emotional- even Stephen himself. Interesting that in this blog the posts that attracted the most attention were the ones about the affective side of learning in networks, e.g. the post about my mother’s connections.

The amount of posturing, hot air and pontification there has sometimes been in the Moodle forums. I appreciate that this is a very personal perspective and may simply be that a lot of it went over my head, but given that I don’t think that connectivism is fundamentally a difficult idea, why did so many people seem to want to make it incompresensible?

The reactions to Stephen’s demonstration of power. It really upset some people.

Stephen’s slapdown of Lisa in one live session, where he practically told her that if she couldn’t ‘hack it’ she should get another job. An amazing thing to say to someone who was arguably the ‘best’ student, or at  least the one that the ‘tutors’ seemed most intent on listening to.

A tendency towards evangelism in some parts and from some on the course.

Things I want to explore further

  • The implications of learner autonomy
  • To what extent students can negotiate their own curriculum
  • What open assessment means
  • Criteria for finding and working out who is worth listening to in a network
  • The relationship between identity and learning
  • Meaning making in a network
  • Whether a course could ever really be true to the principles of connectivism as I understand them
  • Aggregation. It was rather assumed that we would all know how to do this. I didn’t and I’m sure I missed a lot as a result.

Things that intrigue me

How many people were there on the periphery. Were they learning? How did they learn?

What implication does this have for the teacher, i.e. teaching ‘invisible’ people?

I think the evidence from this course is that for a lot of people being connected to the concepts alone is not enough. For many people learning is about being connected to people that they feel they know and can recognise, along with the reciprocity and responsiblity that that entails.

Things I have appreciated

George’s ability to explain things so clearly and his masterly presentations

Stephen and George’s huge generosity of spirit in making their materials freely available and opening up their course to the world

Dave’s moderating skills

Some excellent presentations – Valdis Krebs, Terry Anderson, Howard Rheingold, Nancy White

The generosity and kindness of many who have visited my blog and encouraged me with their comments. I have also received emails of encouragement. I don’t need to name people. I think you know who you are.

A big thank you to Stephen and George for the opportunity.  This post and these sentiments seem inadequate.  I’m sure there is a lot I have missed and I know there is a lot more I could say.

7 thoughts on “Jenny connected? -yes I think so

  1. Mike Bogle November 30, 2008 / 7:21 pm

    Hi Jenny,

    Running late for work at the moment so just checking in briefly…

    I think this is a great reflection on the course and I share many of your sentiments. I hadn’t engaged in a course of this nature before and there were many nuances that I hadn’t been expecting. The aggressiveness is one aspect in particular. I also learned a valuable lesson about not singling out people over whose behaviour I objected – it’s essentially poking the bear. Seems that some people look for arguments as opposed to trying to diffuse them. In my case keeping a wide berth worked much more effectively.

    I had the same problems on following up on comments that you did – in fact I continue to have them. Especially in this course, there were so many different blogs I just couldn’t remember what I said where, and to whom. There are online tools like http://co.mments.com/ and http://www.cocomment.com/ that help you keep track of this, but I didn’t discover them until long into the session.

    Like you I continued to be amazed by the depth and extent of expertise that students brought to the course. All in all it was a truly amazing experience that I’ve benefited from greatly.

    For me personally, coming out of the course there are many questions I have as to how Connectivism can be used in courses. Sarah Steward and I have been discussing this on one of my posts, and the consensus that I’m getting between the two of us so far is much discussion and experimentation is still required before we’ll realise its effectiveness. In light of a post George said the workload for the instructor is pretty substantial – so that’s another consideration (can’t have teachers working themselves to the point of exhaustion).

    Nonetheless I find the whole subject exiting and look forward to delving into this more deeply as time passes. Thanks very much for all of your contributions to this course, I’ve really appreciated your insight into things and hope you will continue to blog!

    Cheers,

    MIke

  2. Heli November 30, 2008 / 8:24 pm

    What a fabulous feedback you wrote, I admire greatly. I had written this if only I could 🙂 I will read this many times, keep it here please! Many thougts came back to my mind while reading this, I had already forgotten.
    This was a journey, really.

    I hope that you keep your blog open in the future..
    Heli

  3. suifaijohnmak November 30, 2008 / 10:11 pm

    Hi Jenny,
    I read your post with great interest. Thank you so much for posting and responding to my post throughout the course.
    Are “we” connected?
    Cheers.

  4. Keith Lyons December 4, 2008 / 1:00 am

    Jenny

    It is interesting that your posts draw comments from some very empathetic people. I think this is a delightful post.

    I do hope that we will stay connected. I am very interested in your learning journey (symbolised by the removal of ‘?’ in you blog). I was wondering if you will become ‘Jenny Connected!’.

    You have taught me a great deal in twelve weeks.

    Keith

  5. Zemina Hasham December 4, 2008 / 7:27 am

    Hi Jenny,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I noted that you had some problems with connecting to Elluminate. Please let me know a few more details and I’ll have our support team contact you and help you resolve the issues. I’ll provide my contact information below.

    Thanks!

    Zemina Hasham
    Senior Director, Client Services
    Elluminate Inc.
    Email: ZeminaH@elluminate.com

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