Wednesday, 23 January 2013

#oldsmooc #digilit still a bit misty

Image: Jane Challinor

I can't believe this is only the end of week 2. I feel as if I have been at it for weeks already. Spent the whole weekend grappling with force maps and personas and clearly haven't really got the hang of it.

I could see how if the force map were to be generated by a design team and involve users, a rich picture of the context could well emerge. But I feel all I have done is drawn a picture of what I already knew and reconfirmed my own beliefs.

So my sense is that I am not really doing this properly.... the discussion forums and reading others' scenarios highlights similar concerns, so that is a relief.


In other news... some synchronicity. I attended the VLE Steering group at my University this week and the discussion was all about teaching digital literacy skills to staff, the advent of MOOCs and setting up an interest group to look at distance learning options. I got so excited I nearly fell off my chair!

This morning, en route to my office, a colleague stopped me to tell me with great enthusiasm that she was setting up wikis for her PG students as collaborative and reflective spaces and was using a "how to do wikis" wiki I had designed a year ago.

Other things I have enjoyed this week: Helen Crump sharing her dissertation with me about academic staff and Twitter (excellent!);reading Dave Cormier on Rhizomatic Learning; joining the FB groups for this and the edcmooc;discussing the MOOC with my Spanish tutor, (on Skype).

Helen's work articulated for me the different attitudes of staff towards social media and helped me write another persona.

In Dave Cormier I found reassurance about my lack of engagement with the context mapping. Too neat for my head possibly?:
The rhizome is, in a manner of speaking, a kind of network. It’s just a very messy, unpredictable network that isn’t bounded and grows and spreads in strange ways. As a model for knowledge, our computer idea of networks, all tidy dots connected to tidy lines, gives us a false sense of completeness.
The Facebook groups and Twitter streams for the moocs have that organic, serendipitous, rhizomatic, nomadic feel to them that makes me feel at home. Lots of links (hyper and personal!) to be harvested here.

My Spanish learning journey is deeply nomadic (to quote Cormier again)
The nomads make decisions for themselves. They gather what they need for their own path.
I have attended f2f classes, listened to teach yourself CDs, read grammar texts - but what I do now is pay a teacher to talk with me (about anything...)  so I can listen to her and she can listen to me as I practise. I also read lots of novels and articles and tweets in Spanish, listen to podcasts, and somehow just get the feel of the language. On Monday night I was frankly dreading my session as I was exhausted from work, the mooc experience and the gym, but in fact it was the best I have had - flowing and fun. Maybe because I was tired and not too inhibited.... the point is, I have been on this Spanish learning journey for 8 years, gathering what I need, online and off, to the point where I am beginning to feel pleasure and at-home-ness in the expression and understanding of the language.

I don't know how to teach others how to be learning nomads. Maybe that's not the point. Maybe I just need to get out of their way and let them "become".


  1. Great post Jane! The #oldsmooc daily brought me here and I'm glad for that, especially for the last sentence: "Maybe I just need to get out of their way and let them 'become'" - That's kind of what I feel about sharing knowledge with my colleagues. We do it in so many different ways, and it doesn't seem one size fits all, so yeah - probably I should just continue being a learning nomad myself, and if other asks me, I'll gladly tell them what I do.

    Another thing was: "But I feel all I have done is drawn a picture of what I already knew and reconfirmed my own beliefs" - I wrote a post about that today:

  2. Thanks Morten - I appreciate both your feedback and the link to your post: you have put into words my discomfort but also shown how this can be overcome! I am learning I need to do more talking to my students and less trying to second guess what would work.