As happened in CCK08 (the first MOOC in 2008), it seems that ‘the kids have taken control of the classroom’ in this second week of Dave Cormier’s open online course Rhizomatic Learning – The Community is the Curriculum . The topic this week is ‘enforced independence’ and here is Dave’s introduction:
I have been standing back, observing, watching, waiting, to see what directions people take in response to the idea of ‘enforcing independence’.
Simon Ensor summed up how I feel this week, when he posted this on Twitter:
I particularly like the line ‘So long as the mists envelop you, be still’. On the whole, for me, there isn’t enough ‘stillness’ in social media environments. And I can also relate to the first line. My own expression has always been ‘When in doubt, don’t!’ So rushing off down rhizomatic paths isn’t really my style – but it has been fascinating to watch the paths that are being created and followed this week.
Unlike ‘cheating is learning’ (last week’s topic), ‘enforcing independence’ has been summarily dismissed as a viable idea by some. Arca says “Independence cannot be enforced. End.” There is obviously a discussion to be had around independence as an important idea in association with pedagogy, but I’m not sure about the possibility of ‘enforcing’ independence. I might come back to that discussion in another post.
For now I am reflecting on Dave’s introductory video where he said that the word ‘course’ in association with #rhizo14 does have meaning, i.e. it is a course (not a free for all), that he is directing, not in the sense of a conductor with a set sheet of music, but in the sense of directing towards a certain type of conversation. I wonder what type of conversation Dave envisaged for this week – because it is going all over the place. For example:
Sarah HoneyChurch organised a live synchronous session last night for European/African participants – but I’m not sure if the session was about social bonding or something more substantial.
Cath Ellis has tried to steer discussion towards actually reading Deleuze and Guattari’s work and bemoans the fact that many of us are engaging in discussion without having read the seminal text. She suggests reading the first 25 pages/introduction and has posted some links to documents in Facebook, to get us going. Not everyone is keen to do this reading. Maha Bali presents an alternative perspective.
Maha Bali is also interested in researching the different forms of community interaction and its effects on learning in#rhizo14 and has put out a call for collaborators in the Facebook group.
Penny Bentley is interested in the question ‘How does Rhizomatic Learning add to/enhance Connectivism? (also on Facebook).
The discussion around ‘cheating as learning’ continues, with a number of people still concerned about the ethics of rhizomatic learning.
Frances Bell thinks we are in danger of “Falling into the tendency to think about rhizomatic learning within formal educational contexts” and is interested in power in rhizomatic learning environments
Keith Hamon is interested in the relationship between ethical behaviour and boundaries in rhizomatic learning environments.
A number of participants are creating badges for the course and awarding them as and when they feel appropriate.
Many people are interested in how the ideas behind rhizomatic learning relate to their teaching practice.
And there’s more….
All this would suggest that ‘The community is the curriculum’, i.e. the curriculum this week, is being created more by the community than in relation to the week’s topic – which I assume was the intention behind the course design.
But where does that leave Dave as the ‘director’ of conversation? What are the implications for his and our ‘power’ in the course?
And I’m wondering about the word ‘community’ and whether everyone going off along their own rhizomatic paths is conducive to community. For example, will there be a break away ‘theory group’ and if there is would this militate against community? Is it reasonable to talk about rhizomatic learning in relation to community?
I feel the mists descending again!