Visitors and residents

David White’s description of the way in which people use the internet as being like the behaviours of visitors or residents has captured my interest this week. A link to his blog and his video were posted in a CCK09 forum this week.  Roy in his post – Thursday, 22 October 2009, 05:29 AM – has suggested that there might also be a ‘traveller/gypsy’ mode. I probably have not understood this correctly – but I’m not sure that this is necessary. David White views visitors and residents at either end of a spectrum along which people can position themselves differently at different times and in different contexts.

The ‘resident’ description makes perfect sense to me;  it’s so easy to identify ‘residents’ amongst the people I know. I wonder what proportion of any given population you would expect to be residents. Would this be about 10% – a figure quoted by Nancy White as the percentage of people you might expect to be very active in an online course or community.

‘Visitor’ is also an interesting idea – but I’m not sure that I’ve got my head round exactly what visitor behaviour incorporates. In terms of online teaching and learning the ‘resident’ is probably easier to work with, because we can get a very good sense of the ‘resident’s’ personal learning environment. The visitor’s work is less transparent. I think we probably need to know more about how ‘visitors’ learn.

On Dave White’s blog a number of commenters have recalled Prensky’s ‘digital natives/digital immigrants’ description. I see Prensky’s and White’s descriptions as being on different issues. Prensky’s is more to do with technology and how technological skills affect behaviour and learning online, whereas White’s is more about attitudes and approaches to learning – personal learning organisation. In the latter the learner is more in control. For me this is interesting as I think it reflects the increasing shift away from focussing on technology towards online learner behaviours, attitudes and preferences.

Research and dissemination

In another meeting this week there was discussion about whether it was worth the time trying to publish in academic journals. A project I am working with at the moment has to meet a requirement to disseminate their work and developments. For academics, publication in an academic journal is not only important for personal advancement and career development, but is also important for the University’s research rating. But does this help dissemination?

I think many people would agree that most journal papers are very rarely read. Not only that but they take so long to be published that if you are working in the area of technology-enhanced learning, then by the time the paper is published its out of date.

So what are the alternatives? The web offers many alternatives. There are open e-journals, blogs, newsletters, press releases etc. But do these offer the peer/expert review offered by respected journals and colleagues? 

So what do you go for –  to have your paper accepted by a recognised/high status  journal, despite the fact that it might not be read by many people, or have your work widely disseminated on the web or elsewhere?

John, Roy and I – with our papers on researching the CCKO8 experience have tried to find the middle way – a respected conference in which to publish, but a conference that publishes papers online – for wider dissemination.

What is the future of research papers I wonder?

Group think

My online PGCert group (for which I am a facilitator)  is currently studying a module on the emotional intelligence of teams. Had I not worked on the connectivism course in 2008, I might not have even thought to question whether working in teams/groups is a good idea and also whether working in teams/groups leads to group think and stifles creativity.

As a result of CCK08 I have been able to play devil’s advocate with my teaching group and question these assumptions that they might carry with them into the workplace – i.e. that working in teams is  the way to go!

One thing I have learned from Stephen and George (and others such as Stephen Brookfield)  is that it’s worth surfacing  assumptions, even if it means challenging the assumptions of CCK08/09 – rightly or wrongly. Who’s to say?

CCK08 Research Papers

We – Sui Fai John Mak, Roy Williams and I – have finally completed work on 2 research papers following our participation in CCK08.

  • Blogs and Forums as Communication and Learning Tools in a MOOC
  • The ideals and Reality of Participating in a MOOC

On November 13th we will submit these papers to the Networked Learning Conference Steering Committee and hope that they will accept them for their 2010 conference in Denmark. The last time I went to Denmark I was 22 years old, quite a few decades ago. It would be great to go again!

Although we have not yet submitted our papers, we have been in touch with a member of the Conference Steering Committee who has encouraged us to share our papers with CCK09 before we submit them for the conference. So we have posted them (having first asked George and Stephen if that would be OK) in a variety of places including:

CCK09 Moodle site in Week 4 and General Discussion forums

Nellie’s CCK09 Ning site

John’s CCK08 Ning site

Roy has also invited discussion in his Google Groups Research site and John has invited discussion on his blog.

There is already some discussion about the papers. We will welcome feedback and are ready to amend the papers if necessary before we submit them.  There is still so much to learn!


Well, I have signed up again and have noted that quite a few people that engaged with CCK08 have done the same, or are still interested.

Viplav Baxi has just made an interesting post about collaboration and the notion of ‘courageous silence’ – something to think about in relation to connectivism.

Mike Bogle is getting all geared up and has posted a presentation he has done on CCK08 to keep us all up to speed.

Gina Minks has created a CCK09 Friendfeed which is attracting interest. 

There is probably a lot more going on that I am not aware of. There was last time, so no doubt there will be this time. Despite the fact that this blog is called Jenny Connected, I really am not that connected!

But because of the research I have been working on with Sui Fai John Mak and Roy Williams (CCK08 participants) I think that probably not a day has gone by since CCK08 that I haven’t thought about connectivism in one way or another. We have finished our data gathering and analysis and are now in the process of writing. We have at least 3 papers in mind and the first one has been drafted – the other two are still being discussed. The research has been a difficult and time-consuming process but immensely rewarding. I am hoping that as a result of this I will be in a better position to understand what is going on in CCK09, but maybe not!

If you are reading this and are not sure what CCK09 is then here’s the information