Saturday 29 December 2012

Anticipating edcMOOC

There is a lot going on with eLearning and Digital Cultures. First twitter, then the map, flikr, blogger, facebook and google. Exchanging papers about eLearning. Trying out new online tools. Writing, thinking, reading, creating, buying (yes, bought two books and two movies) communicating, sharing, helping, being helped, imagining. This is digital culture.

So maybe we're not all learning online, but for those of us who are, in the here and now, it can be as big a mind space as we choose to make it. I've moved on from the tools, I'll get back to my google exploration later. For now, I've gone all existential, exploring thoughts of simulation hypothesis, and what it means to immerse oneself in the virtual realm. I watched the Matrix and found it catapulted me even further into the headspace.

It pays to understand Simulation Hypothesis. Such questions, about the nature of knowledge and reality,  well and truly predate cyberspace, and it can give us not only some deeply interesting thoughts on which to perform mental gymnastics, but perhaps may give us cause for reflection on the online reality, the space in which we wish to engage with others to learn. Not everyone wants to embrace this place. People create their own realities where they are comfortable. Social constructivism may not be something people want to "knowingly" participate in.

Anyhow, this is just a short post in which I want to embed a Prezi: "Anticipating the Mooc".  A few questions that are arising for me as we come closer to our official start date. Would love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Angela, I am honored to be a member of your Quad Blog. This Prezi is outstanding!...well thought out and presented. Your online segment is what I will comment upon first. You're right, it's all about balance. When I'm learning something from a textbook, I spend less time. I'll get up out of the armchair and do something else. Later I'll get back to studying. But when I'm online, I'm interacting with others, there's visual stimuli, videos to watch..or I'm just surfing and searching...I get lost in the virtual and hours have passed. I NEED to spend time with my husband, get some fresh air, clean the house.. DO something in the real world. Now I see why being "online" can become addictive.
    There are so many points in your blog that I love. I am sure I am more of a SMOOC than a MOOC
    I've made several wonderful connections so far, I find myself gravitating to those few rather than add more people to my circle. I'm sure some of the newer members are as helpful and as knowledgeable as the ones I've met so far, but I'm not reaching out like I did a month ago. I'm satisfied. Maybe once the course starts that will change, time will tell.
    Thanks for this post

  2. Why thank you Willa, I'm honoured to be in your quadblog too! (notice how we spell honoured differently? We lean towards the English versions down under). I'm not sure about Prezi, I posted about it in fb, wondering if there is a better way to do this kind of stuff. I'm not sure I like it, but I'm glad you do.

    I still read a lot of books and for the most part, prefer them to online, which tends to be bite size snippets. There's something about a book that is a complete exploration of an idea, which I am attracted to. However, like you, I can get totally absorbed online and it has so many other dimensions to offer. I try to read everything people have posted on fb, google and twitter, and try to read as many of our blogs as I can. But the volume is growing and soon it will not be possible to read everyone's contributions. Which is a pity. I think we have reached the magic number, Dunbar's Number, the "suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships". About 150, and I don't think I can manage more than that. Makes me a SMOOCer too! Nothing wrong with sticking with the connections we have made thus far. Everyone will find their niche, and if ours is with the early starters, those who found the same window of opportunity to connect, then so be it.

    Tomorrow I'm cleaning the house......!

  3. I like the idea of a "Smooc!" I have found the small group experience very beneficial. I tend to spend an extraordinary amount of time thinking about what I will blog about rather than simply writing. Michael Wesch's Ethnography of YouTube comes to mind when I consider what is happening with our Mooc experience. This is where I will go with my first blog. I was exhausted after my semester with digital media, although I loved every moment of it. Sometimes it's useful to "intentionally" unplug and do something that will give you something to write about.
    I just finished watching "Ruby Sparks." The idea that we create individuals that meet our needs is an interesting idea for conversation.
    Today I will sculpt time for human interaction as I am FINALLY going to see Anna Karenina with a friend. I'll go back in time and immerse myself in a time without internet and network communications!
    Enjoy your Sunday/Monday!

  4. Thanks Laurie, I'm gardening today, and maybe a bt of cleaning, my laptop is about to tun out of battery and right now, that is a GOOD thing. However I snuck a look at the Michael Wesch video
    and it is great, sent it on to my son who is doing media in sociology this upcoming semester. I will investigate Ruby Sparks tonight. I'm trying to keep these blogs mentally manageable, if I get too fully into the writing, I'm worried I might not do it.
    Enjoy Anna Karenina!

  5. Hi Angela,
    I am not a member of you quad but am enjoying reading your blog and fb posts. Being a firm believer in there being no stupid questions, just stupid answers, I am drawn to ask what another might consider a stupid question. What is meant by the term social constructivism?
    Looking forward to more learning...
    Helen Hodson

    1. Oops - your quad not you quad

    2. Hi Helen,

      I just go to everyone's blogs too. We have such interesting people in our course, how lucky are we! A question is just a question. Stupid NOT to ask them!

      I first encountered "social constructivism" in the post graduate course I studied and now tutor in. Before that, I had no real reason to have known what it was. Here's the paragraph from our study guide:

      "School and University learning is gradually breaking away from traditional methods where information and skills were often imparted top down by lecturers to be absorbed by students and regurgitated for assessment. Here the approach is different; we follow the more progressive and effective social constructivist model. The social component simply means that students and their lecturers work together to help each other understand and acquire skills. They collaborate as a team in the learning/teaching process. The constructivist component simply means that students reflect on and synthesise course materials and activities to create their own deeper understanding of the topics examined and the ability to use their learning directly in their professional and personal lives. In this way, IHS can become more than just another subject, it can become part of the way you think and live.
      IHS students bring a range of backgrounds, perspectives and skills to the program and are themselves, a vital resource. Past and present students include artists, lawyers, public servants, scientists, students, teachers, academics, doctors, people from the business sector, writers and others from the arts. As you embark on your own personal journey in IHS, we encourage you to become an active participant and openly share your understandings and opinions as part of the collaborative learning process."

      For a broader definition that takes in more than the institutional educational context, wikipedia is pretty good:

      But I discovered something new about this when I was reading about simulated reality. You know, stuff of the Matrix. When I checked out Simulation Hypothesis in wikipedia, I was surprised to see social constructivism in there:
      "Social constructivism (or constructionism) attempts to uncover how individuals and groups participate and negotiate their perceived reality, and shared understanding; in this way reality is socially constructed. Paul Ernest (1991) summarises the main foundations of social constructivism as follows:
      "Knowledge is not passively received but actively built up by the cognizing subject. The personal theories which result from the organization of the experiential world must fit the constraints imposed by physical and social reality. This is achieved by a cycle of theory - prediction - test - failure - accommodation - new theory. This gives rise to socially agreed theories of the world."

      So I'm off on a bit of a tangent, but I am interested to understand more about it as the current main teaching pedagogy in online learning as it is not something I have studied, but something I really should know!

      Wow, that was long...... ! Happy New Year!

    3. Thanks Angela, Way more than I expected and certainly answered my question.

  6. Hi Angela, not one of your quad either - but loved your post - excellent thoughts - inspirational and spot on! Best, Sandra

    1. Hi Sandra, thanks, very kind of you. I'm not sure what we are meant to be blogging about, so good to know there is something in here that someone enjoys reading!