Critical Literacies

I have signed up for Stephen Downes and Rita Kop’s Critical Literacies online course. This has not come at a good time for me. Not only am I going trekking in Kashmir between 10th and 21st June (no internet access in the foothills of the Himalayas!), but this in itself has meant that all sorts of work deadlines have piled up in front of me to be met by next Thursday – June 10th. I will not be able to meet all my commitments – not a nice feeling.

So – you may ask – why add the Critical Literacies online course to an already overloaded workload. Two reasons.

1. I am very interested in open courses and how they are designed and run. This seems to me the way of the future, if we can just overcome the hurdle of assessment – so I am exploring this and online communication in as many ways possible (with some wonderful online colleagues) . I have already noted that in the introduction to this online course, expectations of online working have been made much more explicit than they were in CCK08.

2. I have been interested in reflective learning and critical thinking for a number of years, so feel I can’t miss this opportunity to explore further how critical literacies link with this. When Stephen talks about Critical Literacies, he seems to definitely be linking these to technology – which is a thought provoker in itself as I  know many people who are not in the least interested in technology.

For myself – I can align myself with Heli. I don’t know how old Heli is, but I suspect we are a very similar age. Is age an issue? Yes and No. No because as Heli points out in her blog post we are increasingly seeing post retirement people setting up personal learning environments. Yes because we are the people that can remember a time when there were no computers!

So I will apologise in advance for not being able to contribute to this course as much as I would like to, but also to point out that the nature of these open online courses is that it is likely to attract at least some people like me, and also to thank Stephen once again for his generosity in freely providing an open course, with all the associated materials.

I will try and engage as much as I can – very likely to the exasperation of others who may feel that my time would be better devoted to my commitments to them!  The management of time, workload and prioritising of these must surely be critical to Critical Literacies.

6 thoughts on “Critical Literacies

  1. Mike Bogle June 4, 2010 / 2:18 am

    Hi Jenny,

    Great to hear your keeping an eye out on this course. I am as well, though like you I am plagued by the feeling that I’ve over committed myself.

    Then again I think flexibility is one of the strengths of open courses and the open course model in general. It let’s people derive their own value from the opportunity based on the conditions that work best for them and the objectives they have.

    One of the key outcomes for me has been the development of ties to students from various online courses than continue to this day – for instance you, John, Lisa Lane, Ed Webb and a variety of others. The ties that the courses created have almost become more significant than the courses themselves.

    In some ways for me it makes open courses feel more part of a continuous process of learning than closed courses do; the social construction of knowledge and realisation of meaning or relevance to me personally – they’re all very inspiring. So even if we don’t manage to engage heavily I think coming together still serves a distinct purpose.

  2. suifaijohnmak June 4, 2010 / 5:41 am

    Hi Jenny and Mike,
    So excited to learn your views, a source of inspiration that reinforces the importance of establishing, refreshing and renewing connections and relationships with each other, the networks, and the community at large, and at times. Jenny, I love your question: Is age an issue? It is a hard one for me to answer, as I have kept on thinking about the “treasure” we have when we grow older – and whether we become wiser or not both mentally and spiritually? Are the wisest great connectors? Would literacies help us in becoming wiser? How about the critical literacies of “relationship building and development”? Is it similar to EQ?
    What I treasure most is the relationships we have, that could last for a life time, rather than the mere knowledge we “possess”, which is often ephemeral in “currency”.
    We are just a “click” from each other, with internet & web 2.0, so I would take the opportunity in connecting with you, and the closest 4-6 degrees of separators (new networkers) in this course.
    Mike: Your view on the significance of ties make me think deeper into the notion of social construction of knowledge. How do we represent such “social” knowledge in our “mind”?

    Jenny: Enjoy your trekking, and hope you won’t be too stressed out with the deadlines this month.

    See you soon.

  3. Heli Nurmi June 4, 2010 / 11:28 am

    Nice to meet you all again. This is our continuous learning all the time but courses can support us .. and we can support each other.
    Reflection and critical thinking are my interests, too. This time I try to think seriously 🙂
    Summer has just come to Finland and we are summer-cottage people (with saunas you know) .. it depends on the weather what I ‘ll do – just now it is cool enough to work with my computer
    Let’s comment each other and try discussions in Moodle
    Regards Heli

  4. jennymackness June 4, 2010 / 8:00 pm

    Hi Mike, Heli and John – welcome to my ‘front porch’ as my friend Matthias would call it. Quite like old times!

    Many thanks for your visit and your thoughts and comments. I’m not sure how much I am going to be able to venture away from my front porch and visit yours, as I am very pushed for time at the moment – but I hope to have more time later on in the course.

    Great to make contact with you all.


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