Posts Tagged: Connectivism


18
Sep 09

CCK09 – Connectivism & Connective Knowledge 2009 Begins!

Just catching up on the start of Connectivism & Connective Knowledge 2009 – a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) being offered by George Siemens and Stephen Downes from the University of Manitoba.  (Search this blog for CCK08 to see posts from last year’s class.)

This year I am making a conscious effort to not feel pressured to participate in the synchronous components of the course.  If I can attend the synchronous meetings on the web or in Second Life, I will, but I want to experiment with taking full advantage of the flexibility of this kind of course format – can I get as much out of the class, and the connections with other course participants, in a mostly asynchronous way?  I think so!

This will be in contrast to the Second Life cohort I facilitated last year, we met weekly in Second Life to discuss the course readings and the mechanics of taking a MOOC, which was a new experience for most of us last year.  This year, Sharon Collingwood (SL: Ellie Brewster) from Ohio State University has taken over the SL Cohort, and she’s posted details on the course Moodle:

SECOND LIFE COHORT for CONNECTIVISM & CONNECTIVE KNOWLEDGE 2009

PRELIMINARY GET-TOGETHER & ORIENTATION SESSION, Sunday Sept 20
at 4pm Eastern U.S. time (1 pm Second Life time, as read at the top right-hand corner of the Second Life screen) This is bound to be inconvenient for some people, we’ll talk about meeting times then.

To get to the meeting, sign up for the Second Life group “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge”

– search menu, “groups” tab, find Connectivism & Connective Knowledge
– follow link, find group profile, click “join”
– be sure group is activated (>>edit >>groups)
– read previous messages (>>info >>notices)

IF YOU’RE NEW TO SECOND LIFE:

Check your system: http://secondlife.com/support/system-requirements/

sign up for Second Life: http://secondlife.com/

Become my friend big grin
>>>search menu >>people >>Ellie Brewster >>add friend

(Feel free to friend me in Second Life, too, my name there is Fleep Tuque of course.)  🙂

The introductory videos by George and Stephen are good starting points if you’re not sure what the course is, how it works, or what Connectivism is, and I’d highly encourage you to participate if you have any interest in education, learning theories, how technology is changing how we learn, or how large open distributed courses can be delivered on the web – it’s free after all and fun too!

George’s introduction video:

Stephen’s introduction video:


7
Jul 09

Reconnecting with Connectivism (CCK09)

Sign Up for Connectivism & Connective Knowledge 2009!

Faithful readers may remember a series of posts last year about a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) I took called Connectivism & Connective Knowledge, taught by George Siemens and Stephen Downes through the University of Manitoba’s Extended Education program.

George and Stephen are offering the course again this year, and just like last year, it is completely free and open access to any and all who want to participate.   Here’s a brief course description blurb:

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge is a twelve week course that will explore the concepts of connectivism and connective knowledge and explore their application as a framework for theories of teaching and learning. It will outline a connectivist understanding of educational systems of the future.  The course will begin on September 14, 2009.

I highly recommend the experience to anyone involved in education in any capacity.   George and Stephen utilize the web, RSS, blogs, wikis, podcasts, tagging, and crowd sourced teaching and learning in a way I’ve never experienced in any other course I’ve ever taken, and the experience last year had a tremendous impact on my understanding of what a “course” is, is not, and what it CAN be in the future.  Sign up here to receive course information in preparation for this year’s course!

Connectivism Cohort in Second Life

Last year I facilitated the Connectivism Cohort in Second Life, an experience that also taught me quite a lot about using virtual worlds as a site for meeting, discussing, sharing, and building in the context of a MOOC like Connectivism & Connective Knowledge.  You can read more about my conclusions and experience as a facilitator (in addition to some stats about participation) in this post from last year CCK08 – Off the Wagon, But Not Off My Mind.

While I won’t have the time to be a main facilitator for a Second Life Cohort of the class this year, if someone is interested in taking this on, the Chilbo Community in Second Life can host the cohort’s meetings and work in the re-purposed Education Village.   The Connectivism Reading Room is still available for holding discussions, and the sandbox and houses/offices can be used again this year for anyone who wants to participate.

Interested in facilitating or using Second Life as part of the CCK09 class?  Let me know at fleep.tuque@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to help!


21
Nov 08

CCK08 – Off The Wagon, But Not Off My Mind

CCK08 Bandwagon goes on without me

Between the crazy workload for Fall Quarter, being out of town for conferences, and a bout with the Martian Death Flu, I confess to having fallen completely off the CCK08 and CCK08SL bandwagon. I didn’t just fall off, I think it ran me over on its way out of town. =)

Today is the first day in I can’t recall how long that I’ve had a moment to just sit down and think about CCK08 – and how woefully sad I am that I’ve ended up missing most of it. The first few weeks were a little overwhelming, but also very exciting, and the conversations we had at the synchronous meetings in Second Life were some of the best.. deep thinking I think I’ve ever truly done about “education” as a knowledge domain – what does it mean to “learn” something? What ways do we “learn”? How do we know when something is “known”? How do we “learn” best? Through the materials and readings in the course, the discussions and videos and podcasts, and the dialogue with colleagues and facilitators, I really enjoyed the experience.

Then life got in the way and the CCK08 bandwagon rolled on without me.

But it didn’t leave before leaving me with lots of interesting concepts, thoughts, conversations, and resources to think about and revisit. In spare moments making the rounds to check for litter in the Connectivism Village in Chilbo, I’ve stopped into the reading room and clicked the little TV screens or radios to listen to a recording of a session I didn’t get to attend. Or when triaging my ever-overflowing email, I take a second to scan The Daily newsletter to get a sense of what the wagon is talking about now.

And thinking about it, I really.. appreciate and admire the work and effort that has gone into this experiment. Even when my life is so truly busy that I don’t know which end is up, I am still “connected”. The technology implemented purposefully, in addition to the technology used and resources created ad hoc by the various participants, really enables you to “hook in” to this network in a multitude of different ways so that even when you aren’t paying attention – the currency of the web – you still are connected to these people, media, places, conversations, and readings. You have access to subject matter experts, a cohort to discuss and work with, and wide-ranging library of resources created by not just the instructors, but the participants themselves. You have peer review and feedback built into the system – every single time I contributed to CCK08 in any way, I _always_ got a response from another person – someone friending me back, or following me on Twitter, or leaving a comment on my blog, or responding to an email or question. I certainly did a lot of _CONNECTING_ when taking this class.

But I’ve been thinking it’s a real shame that I had such a hard time managing all of my other responsibilities and couldn’t fully participate, because it seems like under normal circumstances, this would be an almost perfect learning environment for me. When I did have the time, I wasn’t just “engaged” in that clinical sense (the “engagement” buzzword is starting to wear on me), I was really _into it_. It felt like learning, but it was _fun_. It was interesting, and thought provoking, and though I don’t know how much I “learned” if I had to take some standardized test about the course material, I can tell you I learned a heck of a lot.

CCK08 discussion in the Connectivism Reading Room

And in realizing that 1) I’m still connected to the people I formed bonds with in the beginning of the course (I’m imagining the lines between the boxes on my social network graph, and realizing that it wouldn’t work to model those lines with, say, thickness as an indicator of the strength of the bond, because in reality, the bond is mutable – at times I have weaker ties with nodes in my network, and when they become relevant, or needed, or reach out to me in some say, those ties become stronger – so the “lines” should be modeled more like energy flowing, with ebbs and tides), 2) I still have access to all of the archives, media, and readings from the course, and 3) I actually learned a tremendous amount of skills, information, concepts, technical tools, and other people in an extremely short period of time…

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not so ashamed to have fallen off the wagon, after all, because the metaphor of the wagon is all wrong.

It’s really puzzling to take a course about the course, that is to say, learning about connectivism and connective knowledge by putting into practice the theory of connectivism and connective knowledge. I can’t separate out in my mind which of my .. reactions, for want of a better word, are related to the course material – the theory – and which are related to the experience of taking the course – the implementation. I think for the moment I’ve given up worrying about it. In the end, I realized that I’d been thinking of this “course” as a “course”. And when I could no longer participate in the “class”, then it felt as if I’d dropped out, and the group traveled on without me. But I think what this class taught me most of all, is that my concept of what makes a “course” completely clouded my thinking about the experience. I don’t think I failed the course, nor do I think the course failed me. This was a voluntary effort, and when I had the spare brain cycles to attend to it, I learned one heckuva lot.

So now, all these weeks later, I’m finally getting around to writing my first paper about/for the course, even if the synchronous component of it is nearly over. And I hope that all the plethora of resources that people created will remain for as long as they can, so if others fell off the wagon, or want to refer back to them as they continue on with their learning, they will be available to everyone who comes after. I thank @arieliondotcom for bringing this to my attention.

CCK08 - Building in the sandbox

I did fail, however, in fulfilling my role as a _facilitator_ of the Second Life cohort, and I DO feel guilty about that. I apologize to all those who showed an interest in exploring how learning about Connectivism might be enhanced by using a virtual world. I did my best to provide the space, the tools, the initiative, the original organizing force to help make it happen, but I didn’t have the time to really _facilitate_ its use. I’m not sure what – other than time and personal attention – I could have done to improve making the tools available to whoever wanted to participate. If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears. Here is what I did try:

– I created a web form so that anyone with an interest in exploring the SL cohort could sign up

– I created a central information page about the SL cohort, on a wiki, that anyone who requested access got it, and included a few frame work pages to store transcripts, a place to plan activities, and a space to share cohort members’ web links (blogs, twitter, whatever) so we could connect with each other outside of SL.

– I created a CCK08SL Googlegroup and added everyone who signed up on the webform, so we could communicate asynchronously via email with each other

– I created a space in Second Life, with informational rooms linking back out to web resources (to provide a visual component to digital resources), offered anyone new to Second Life a personal home/office space, offered kiosk space for experienced SL participants to share their other work/projects in SL with members of the cohort, and left as large a blank canvass sandbox space for people to play with building/creation as much room as Chilbo could afford to provide (land costs money there too!). I tried to add some “fun” or “interactive” elements like an automated bike tour and visually pleasing spaces to make the SL component as attractive and functional as I could.

CCK08 - Connectivism Village in SL

Here are some stats on the results, as of November 20, 2008:

133 people initially signed up for the Second Life cohort on the web form.

94 of those people responded to the very first email inviting them to join the SL Cohort Googlegroup (email list)

46 people responded to an email and expressed a time preference for synchronous meetings on Doodle

– There were 72 messages posted to the email list (only members could post, 69 web views of the discussion (anyone/public could view)

16 people responded to the invitation to create an account on the wiki to edit it, and 4 people took the time to make any edits (highest rate of participation was those who responded in email or added their blog to the wiki:

SL Cohort Blogs

* BarDil Joyce: Dilip Barad’s Weblog http://dilipbarad.blogspot.com
* Claude Desmoulins An Education and Technology Blog http://connecteded.wordpress.com
* Fleep Tuque: Fleep’s Deep Thoughts – http://fleeptuque.com
* Graham Mills: TidalBlog – http://tidalblog.blogspot.com/
* Sia Vogel: World Wide Wiser – http://siavogel.edublogs.org
* WainBrave Bernal: Technology, Education, & the Future – http://hothousestrategies.com/tefblog/
* Yvonne Anthony: Making Connections http://fass.edublogs.org/

I’ve subscribed to them and thank those who made the effort to share.)

It generated 88 emails, IMs, tweets, or messages from Second Life that I would classify as “support requests” – these were not on one of the lists, they were personal messages to me asking for assistance. (I think I answered all of them, though sometimes not as quickly as I would have liked.)

In Second Life, a total of 808 unique avatars visited the Connectivism Village. These 808 visitors spent a total 14,652 minutes there. (244 hours total, a half an hour per person averaged across all 808 unique visitors, but my intuitive sense from getting a daily traffic report is that about 30 people spent the vast majority of time there, coming back repeatedly week over week. I have the data if anyone is crazy to do more analysis, but it’s in plain text form, a separate text file for each date.)

– The highest number of visitors together at the Connectivism village at the same time, throughout the whole period, was a max of 14 simultaneous avatars.

7 people in the “experienced SL’er” category created a kiosk to share info about their other SL projects.

5 people in the “new to SL” category took advantage of the free home/office and personalized their space.

8 people contributed some kind of object, build, or project in the cohort sandbox.

CCK08 - Sandbox

So. Coming out on the other side of my part in this experience, here are some things I think I’ve learned:

Facilitating a MOOC or even just a small part of one took an enormous investment of time. Ultimately, I couldn’t sustain it at this particular time in my life (crazy busy time at work, very ill family member requiring lots of care, up to my eyeballs in other volunteer projects/efforts). If I had more _time_, however, the mechanisms I used to communicate, get information, and share information, seemed to work pretty darn well for me on my side of the facilitation equation. The googledoc sign up form worked perfectly, the googlegroup invitations were kind of a pain, but once it got going, it worked with no additional tinkering. It is definitely possible to organize larger-scale coordination using free or nearly free web-based tools with a moderate level of tech savvy-ness. It wasn’t the technology implementation that required so much time, but rather the _social_ investment required. I could have increased or sustained more participation, I think, if I had spent more time poking, prodding, emailing, twittering, meeting, asking for help, teaching.

Wikis, in this experience, and with other projects I work on, continue to be one of the hardest tools to get people to use. I don’t know why this is, but people who otherwise sign up, contribute, join.. they really fall off the wiki wagon quickly. Maybe it’s because I don’t know how to facilitate wiki participation, but I must be missing a really big clue bus on this one, cause I’ve tried everything, and participation on wikis (vs blogs, email lists, even SL itself!) is always lowest.

Virtual worlds platforms offer two really key affordances to education – 1) the sense of co-presence that enriches synchronous interactions (the sensation that you are really “there” and the other people you’re with are also really “there” and you are all “there” together) and 2) the ability to model, create, simulate, build, share, and collaborate on projects, environments, symbols, data visualization, and other elements that make up the shared environment. In my judgment, except for in the beginning, and even then by a smaller number of participants than I anticipated (only 14 at the height of it), the Connectivism Cohort in Second Life failed to really leverage either. That isn’t to say that those who did participate didn’t get some value out of it, but out of 133 people who originally signed up, I would guess that maybe 20-some people out of the SL Cohort got _some_ substantial value out of their participation (either talking with other class members, or creating something in the space, or learning more about Second Life/virtual worlds).

We simply didn’t have enough participation with enough skilled SL content creators to really explore the medium together in a substantive way, particularly in how a virtual world platform could be used most effectively for _this specific course_. I imagined people collaboratively building together, modeling things we read about or saw in the course content in a 3D form, exploring how concepts might be best represented in 3D versus text, video, image, or 2D. Except with a few minor exceptions, that just didn’t happen. We were more successful in leveraging affordance #1 – I don’t think I am the only one who came away from our synchronous discussions feeling that it had been a very valuable way to spend my time, and that I learned a lot from them – but these remained very small discussions, usually with between 3 – 6 participants.

CCK08 - Fleep and Arielion discussing the readings

As I said, I think I made some mistakes along the way, in how I framed the cohort, or implemented the various technologies I used. For example, we scheduled the synchronous meetings at several different times to accommodate different time zones, but I think having many different meeting times just diluted the initial momentum and fractured what could have been a stronger, more connected group. Now I’m thinking, if you’re going to commit to the synchronous participation of using a virtual world, then you have to really commit and pick a day and a time and stick with it – unless you have a much larger starting group, more passionate participants, or more people to facilitate the meetings. It seemed like as soon as I stopped being able to make the synchronous meetings, everyone stopped going, even though I had hoped people would just continue on without me, as I’d tried to “crowd source” all the tools needed to do so.

Or perhaps I incorporated _too many_ technologies in trying to empower the crowd. Maybe if I’d just had people sign up for the cohort and then invited them to the group in Second Life and done ALL of the communication through Second Life, maybe more people would have participated… I’m skeptical, though, since SL’s built in communication tools are suboptimal and often don’t work. I dunno.

I’m not entirely sure what all I could or should have done differently, and I do regret “falling off the wagon” – but I don’t regret for one second any of the time I spent on this endeavor. I feel like I got quite a lot out of the experience, and I hope that at least some of what I contributed made the experience better for others taking the class. It was an active, engaging learning experience for me, and I think I will continue to ponder over and learn about connectivism and connective knowledge well into the future, helped by the multitude of resources created by others and shared with me.

So, in conclusion, my thanks to everyone who participated, helped, encouraged, or otherwise took part. My apologies to anyone I let down by not being there enough. I hope this information is helpful to you in some way, even if the rest of it was not. And mega-great thanks to George Siemens and Stephen Downes, who did their own part to encourage me and the SL Cohort, and who gave us all the opportunity to learn together through the Connectivism & Connective Knowledge course. It was one of the singularly most interesting classes I’ve ever taken and I hope I’ll get a pass. =)

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19
Sep 08

CCK08 – Suggested Reading & Collage About Education in Second Life

(This post is about the Massively Online Open Course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge being taught by George Siemens and Stephen Downes from September to December 2008. Over 2000 participants have signed up, and I am facilitating the Second Life cohort for the course. Over the following months, I will be posting about the experience, home work assignments, and other materials related to our activities.)

Suggested Reading for CCK08 & CCK08SL

Not that those of us in the CCK08 course don’t have plenty to read and keep up with already, but I’ve received quite a number of questions about the Second Life cohort of the Connectivism class. If you aren’t sure what Second Life is, what virtual worlds are, or why they might be applicable in a connectivist context, I think Sarah Robbins-Bell‘s article Higher Education as Virtual Conversation might be a good text to read.

She writes:

We know that the demographics of Facebook, Digg, Fark, and World of Warcraft are the same as the general demographics of college/university students. So, why don’t we see the same levels of participation in the social media that are used in the classroom (typically, learning management systems) as are evident in the social media that students engage in voluntarily? I think the problem is that our pedagogy often isn’t ready for an increase in conversation.

She goes on to examine the specific characteristics of virtual worlds and how they are manifested in the Second Life platform, a good primer for those who aren’t familiar with it, and continues with an analysis of how these platforms can facilitate an increase in conversation and dialogue – between and among students, students and instructors, and students and the world. More than just conversation, she demonstrates how they can be used to facilitate active and participatory knowledge making (and some things we SHOULDN’T do in virtual worlds that can shut down that kind of knowledge making).

A persistent world offers persistent learning opportunities. It is up to the instructor and the student to define and explore what kind of activities will be useful for the learning goals of a particular course, but it’s possible that many of those goals can be accomplished in the community at large rather than in a delineated space intended for “learning.”

Second Life Education Multimedia

If it’s still hard to imagine what kinds of educational projects are taking place in Second Life, Claudia L’Amoreaux (SL: Claudia Linden) gave a keynote yesterday at the Holland Open 2008 conference in Amsterdam, accompanied by this beautiful and rich Vuvox collage called “Open Mind”. Take the time to explore it, it contains many types of embedded media.

Hopefully a few minutes with these resources will give some sense of what the Second Life cohort is on about in the Connectivism course.

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17
Sep 08

CCK08 – Disconnected

(This post is about the Massively Online Open Course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge being taught by George Siemens and Stephen Downes from September to December 2008. Over 1900 participants have signed up, and I am facilitating the Second Life cohort for the course. Over the following months, I will be posting about the experience, home work assignments, and other materials related to our activities.)


Storm damage in Cincinnati, photo by elycefeliz used under CC licensing.

On Sunday, the remnants of Hurricane Ike traveled all the way up to Indiana and Ohio, and though I’ve certainly seen my fair share of weird weather phenomena, I have never seen a wind storm like that! I lost my biggest shade tree in the back yard and have a little roof damage, but other than property damage, all my friends, family, and coworkers are ok. Being so far inland, this part of the country is certainly not prepared for hurricane or tropical force winds, and it caused a massive blackout in the region, shortages of gas and food, school closings, and a new understanding and sympathy for those in Texas who took the brunt of the storm.


And suddenly, in the middle of the Connectivism course, I found myself forcefully Disconnected.

I’ve had brief power outages before, but not for so long and never for so long in the summer. When you get a big winter storm, there’s a snowy white visual barrier between you and the rest of the world and you know it will melt and things will get back to normal. This time, there was no visual, nothing but the hanging powerlines and broken telephone poles to remind you that our modern society and all of our connections are really quite tenuous. Without the juice that those cables provide, and the pipes that transmit all of those 01010101011110001’s, those of us who are hyperconnected online may be more isolated and disconnected locally than ever before. It was a sobering thought.

It wasn’t until sometime on Monday when I began to worry that the power might not be back by Tuesday’s Connectivism course meeting in Second Life that I remembered my Utterz account. I have Utterz set up in such a way that I can call Utterz from my cell phone and record a message. Utterz then creates a post automatically on my blog, and WordPress is set up with a plug-in to automatically send a message to Twitter whenever something is posted on my blog. This means that when I was stranded with no electricity, internet, or landline phone, I could flip open my cell phone, record a message, and within a few minutes my voice was online and my network of twitter friends were notified. Chilbo residents Malburns Writer and Tara Yeats noticed it, and Tara is also in the Connectivism course, so she very kindly sent an email out to the Second Life Cohort to let folks know I was offline. (Thanks Tara!)

Hmm, so maybe not so disconnected after all. But it was quite strange to be standing in the dark and sending out what felt like an SOS of sorts into the ether. What to say when you’re talking to.. well, anyone? Should I direct the message to my blog readers, to the Connectivism course? Without access to my online calendar, I wasn’t even sure who else I was supposed to be meeting with, so maybe it should be as general as possible? I realized I am quite weirded out by posting a voicemail to anyone who happens to hear it!

Mobile post sent by fleep using Utterzreply-count Replies.  mp3

And then a few days later I ran across a post by fellow Connectivism student Janet Clarey, who writes about my Utterz post, saying:

Chris Collins (a/k/a Fleep) sends a mobile post to her blog because she has no power and no Internet connection. She’s letting her ~2,000 online course mates (in the CCK08 course) know that she won’t be in attendance today. No biggee right? It’s no different than a voice mail sent to a group. Or is it? I think it’s significant. She’s communicating with anyone.

I’m not sure I could be as creative if I found myself without power or a connection. Perhaps that’s because Fleep seems to have several less wrinkles than I do and doesn’t carry the weight of my prior telecommunication experiences. Or maybe I’m just not cool.

See, I’d call someone even though anyone would be the better choice for learning (e.g., what was covered during her absence). She’s inviting dialogue over monologue.

Janet gives me too much credit. =) I am actually old enough to remember shared phonelines, dialing telephones, and pressing 9 to get an outside line. I’m old enough to feel awkward speaking to just anyone who happens to hear, and I’m still experimenting with and feeling out my own boundaries about what is and isn’t appropriate to broadcast out to the whole wide world. The only difference, perhaps, between Janet and myself, is that I had previously played with Utterz, had taken the time to set up the cascading automated linkages that would make that audiopost > blog > twitter chain happen, and remembered it during the blackout. But on the inside, I’m still uncomfortable both with my connectedness and disconnectedness, I still feel unsure, strangely vulnerable talking to anyone and yet discomfited when the lights were out and the PC buzz was palpably absent.

I think we’re all still learning how to be connected, how to cope with disconnection, and where our comfort level begins to stray into uncomfortable territory. One of the lessons I took from this (besides the fact that I really should have a bigger store of batteries and non-perishable food!) is that there turned out to be great value in the hour or so I spent playing with Utterz.. what a year ago when I set that up? It turned out that by connecting my blog and twitter to some new service I wasn’t even sure how to use or what to use it for would eventually come in handy. That the few minutes I spend from time to time listening to my friends’ Utterz was back there in my memory, recalled in the moment of need. Setting up connections is time consuming, and sometimes I don’t know what value, if any, it will have, but in this case, it turned out to be very handy indeed.

And it wasn’t just the technology connection that made this work, it was also the people connection. Malburns and Tara are good online friends, good citizens of our community, and good hyperconnected netizens. Who knows how many people saw/heard that post and did nothing, but Tara took the time to not only listen to the message, but then to compose a message and forward it on my behalf, completing a circuit in the chain that was NOT automated (notifying the Connectivism SL cohort) – and it was our personal relationship and connection that made that part happen, not the technology itself.

Lesson: Need batteries and better emergency stores at home – you must plan for the unexpected.

Lesson: Our electronic connections are more tenuous than they sometimes appear. The energy crisis and degrading infrastructure in the US is a Serious Issue that we need to pay more attention to.

Lesson: Keeping abreast of and playing with new online tools and ways to connect can have big payoff in the future, even if you don’t see value in it now.

Lesson: Technology facilitates many things, but it’s the people connections that ultimately save the day.

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14
Sep 08

CCK08 – Connectivism Village in Chilbo

(This post is about the Massively Online Open Course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge being taught by George Siemens and Stephen Downes from September to December 2008. Over 1900 participants have signed up, and I am facilitating the Second Life cohort for the course. Over the following months, I will be posting about the experience, home work assignments, and other materials related to our activities.)

Cross posted from the Chilbo Community Blog:

Following the end of the very successful Chilbo Summer Fair, we said goodbye to the Ferris Wheel and fabulous rides, artworks, and projects and made way for a new three month project in Chilbo.

Connectivism Village in Chilbo

Connectivism Village - Main Gate

The Main Gate of the Connectivism Village down in the south Madhupak area of Chilbo.

This month marks the start of the Connectivism & Connective Knowledge course, a Massively Online Open Course.  From the course info:

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge is a twelve week course that will explore the concepts of connectivism and connective knowledge and explore their application as a framework for theories of teaching and learning. It will outline a connectivist understanding of educational systems of the future. George Siemens (SL: Whatever Russel) and Stephen Downes – the two leading figures on connectivism and connective knowledge – will co-facilitate this innovative and timely course. The course will run from September 7, 2008 to November 29, 2008 and will be fully delivered online.

Over 2000 participants from around the world have signed on to take part, and several members of the Chilbo community are fellow students, including Gann McGann,  Olando7 Decosta, Samuel Sputnik, Sine Rennahan, Tara Yeats, and Wainbrave Bernal.  The Chilbo Community is hosting the Second Life cohort of the class, and Cosimo Urbanowicz has also joined some of the early discussions and helped with the construction of the Connectivism Village down in Madhupak.

SL Cohort Wiki: http://chilbo.wikispaces.com/Connectivism+Course+in+Chilbo
SL Cohort Googlegroup: http://groups.google.com/group/connectivismSL
SL Cohort Tag: CCK08SL

Second Life Cohort Weekly Meeting Times:
Tuesdays at 11AM SLT (-7GMT)
Thursdays at 6PM SLT (-7GMT)
Sundays at 5PM SLT (-7GMT)

Purpose of the Connectivism Village

Initially, the impulse was simply to see if other students in the course who also had Second Life accounts were interested in meeting weekly in-world to discuss the Connectivism course.  Though there are many communications tools used as part of the course structure, I’ve begun to feel I haven’t really “met” someone until I’ve “seen” them – even if that meeting and seeing takes place in avatar form.  Psychologically, it seems as if I don’t feel the same level of engagement with another person through their blogs, tweets, or discussion board posts unless I’ve “met” them first, and I was interested in meeting other students in the class.

Connect - Week 1

Thursday is ladies night?  Members of the Connectivism course discuss the first week in Chilbo’s Shrubbery Amphitheatre.

But as I began to read more about Connectivism, I started to think that it might contain concepts that could be better visualized in 3D, and for SL building, the Second Life cohort would need land and prims.  After talking with folks in the community, we cleared up the Fairgrounds area and made room for a temporary Connectivism Village project that would last three months and house members of the course who needed a home base in Second Life.

Connectivism Village - Homes and Offices

Small mini-homes and offices are available for members of the Second Life Cohort of the Connectivism course for the duration of the class time.  Some students are interested in finding roomates!

The Fairgrounds area is also large enough to host some central facilities and resources for the course, to help make sense of the plethora of web based feeds, tools, readings, and course media.  The Connectivism Second Life Cohort Office will simplify the process of folks joining the cohort, and the Connectivism Reading Room contains all of the assigned weekly readings and some introductory materials for the course.

Connectivism Village - Reading Room

The Connectivism Reading Room can help students visualize course readings and discussion archives, as well as provide a place to discuss readings ad hoc through the week.

The Connectivism Course Tools Sundae Shop is a whimsical take on the somewhat overwhelming nature of the course structure.  With several websites, communication mediums, RSS feeds, and course emails, Moodle forums, Facebook, and on and on, it’s a little rough trying to figure out which tools will work for your particular needs.  The Sundae Shop is a metaphor for taking the flavors you like and sampling some of the others, not putting every choice on the sundae!

Connectivism Village - Course Tools Sundae Shop

The “Menu” of various course tools in the Connectivism Sundae Shop.

Beyond the few buildings near the plaza, however, I think it will be the Connectivism Sandbox that will hold the most interesting content of the course.  Here we can play with models, particles, sets, artwork, media.. whatever strikes our fancy as we play with the concepts of the course and learn more about Connectivism.  For those who are new to building in Second Life, visit the Ivory Tower of Primitives for a walk through, self-paced building tutorial.  The Ivory Tower is a cultural institution of Second Life and shouldn’t be missed even if you’ve learned on your own!

Connectivism Village - Overhead Map

An overhead view of the Connectivism Village in the Chilbo Community (Madhupak sim).

I look forward to seeing how the Second Life cohort of the course progresses, and I encourage anyone from Chilbo to participate or check it out!   If you have time to wander down, please say hi to any students you see too!   They are members of the Chilbo Community Building Project group and have the group tag “Chilbo Connect!”   ~  Fleep

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10
Sep 08

CCK08/CCK08SL – Pre-Week 1

(This post is about the Massively Multiuser Online Course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge being taught by George Siemens and Stephen Downes from September to December 2008. Over 1900 participants have signed up, and I am facilitating the Second Life cohort for the course. Over the following months, I will be posting about the experience, home work assignments, and other materials related to our activities.)

Catching Up!

Because I was so busy with SLEDcc 2008 and SLCC 2008, I have already gotten behind in the Connectivism course! I’m trying to play catch up now, and so far I’ve done some Connecting but not much Learning.

1. The Second Life Cohort of the Connectivism course held their first meeting yesterday, where I discovered I’m not the only one who is feeling behind and a bit overwhelmed and confused. Transcript here.

2. I added myself to the Googlemap for the course.. wow, people from all over the world! Sadly absent is much participation in Africa, I find that depressing.


View Larger Map

3. I added myself to the TwitterPacks wiki for the Connectivism Cohort.

4. I registered and added my profile to the CCK08 Moodle site, and scanned some of the introductory posts. I don’t feel like adding to the din in there though, I think I’ll just stick to my blog for now unless there’s a compelling reason or requirement to participate in the Moodle? (I’ve become anti-course-management-system these days.)

Pre-Week 1 Homework: Introduction

I’m currently located in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I work at the University of Cincinnati in the UCit Instructional & Research Computing department, focusing on teaching and learning about emerging technologies, social networks, and virtual worlds (particularly Second Life). I’m interested in the Connectivism course for several reasons – I want to see a MMOC in action, learn where a mass participation learning experience works and where it fails, and because I am intrigued by the concept of knowledge existing in external networks. I don’t feel I have a very good grounding in many of the other learning theories that came before, and I don’t know where the boundaries of Connectivism exist, but I want to know more.

The course will be a success for me if I a) connect on a deeper level with the members of the Second Life cohort of the course, b) gain a better understanding of the connectivist theory of learning and understand clearly how it is different than behavioralist/constructivist theories, and c) learn to navigate the complex network of websites, blogs, discussions, videos, and other web and virtual world artifacts I see forming in this course without feeling lost or overwhelmed. I hope by the end that I adjust without feeling left behind.

Random information about me: I logged onto my first online social network in 1994 fresh out of high school, and though I quickly moved from ISCABBS to many different BBS systems, I’ve been participating in and moderating online communities for all of my adult life. I believe the online communities, forums, and social networks I have participated in has made up the bulk of my “real” education – my university experience, even in the best of classes, simply doesn’t compare with all of the learning, sharing, and knowledge acquisition that happened for me on the net. It has been a transformative experience, one I want to share and extend to others.

In other words, I’m curious to see if I may be part of the first generation who could be learning in a connectivist way. It certainly seems – at first blush – to resonate with my experience more than other learning theories have. I guess we’ll see!

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3
Aug 08

Educators: CCK08 – Connectivism & Connective Knowledge Course

In about a month, the Connectivism & Connective Knowledge Course will begin. From the course wiki:

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge is a twelve week course that will explore the concepts of connectivism and connective knowledge and explore their application as a framework for theories of teaching and learning. It will outline a connectivist understanding of educational systems of the future. George Siemens and Stephen Downes – the two leading figures on connectivism and connective knowledge – will co-facilitate this innovative and timely course. The course will run from September 7, 2008 to November 29, 2008 and will be fully delivered online.

Course Wiki: http://ltc.umanitoba.ca:83/wiki/Connectivism
Course Blog: http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/connectivism/
Course Tag: CCK08

I don’t know why, but I’m really excited about this. If you have any interest at all in the future of education, and how the internet and open courseware and social media is changing what education might potentially be (higher education in particular?), I’d invite you to sign up. It’s free, it’s completely up to you how much or how little you participate or connect, and I have a feeling that this will generate some really interesting conversations.

I don’t have formal training in learning theory, I’ve only taken a few grad level courses, and I’m a bit worried that it will be over my head, but I’m hopeful that there will be room in the course for people like me who have a sincere interest but haven’t yet gone through the grad school process or haven’t taken formal classes in some of the background concepts that will be used.

Here’s a podcast where the course facilitators talk about what led to the course being offered and what they expect/think/hope will happen.

If we can work it out, the Chilbo community will host and I’ll help facilitate a Second Life cohort of the course for synchronous weekly meetings. This will probably be limited to 50 participants or so, but if you’re really interested, let me know.

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