Saturday, October 29, 2011

at long last: hello #multiliteracies, #POTcert11, #CMC11 & #change11

Finally! Today is the day I break the block, stop procrastinating and MOOC blog. So long, too much territory to cover.  I won't even try. Even so, it is still long enough to invite procrastination. 

I started impressions in 750words, an online writing application to develop the habit of daily writing. The purpose is just to write, get started writing and keep writing, with no other purpose ~ certainly not create blog posts, create documents, answer mail and so on, but the morning word dump gets me started.

Quick take on current state of my mooc activity at this point: if I had a compelling reason (i.e. credit, professional development, to add to CV) to or cared about optimum keeping up, I'd be in a drowning panic. I'm not though. Each mooc is a different gem, a view through a different lens that I'd rather not set aside in order to meet recommendations set by someone else.

Sure, I'd like to be getting more done but this is not all I am doing, not even all I am doing online. Try six+ blogs, four Facebook pages (in addition to profile and a number of groups), a bulging feed reader (even the filters have filters), four pages, three Pinterest boards, four Twitter lines (unsuccessfully trying to hand off local farmers market one), a NetVibes aggregation page and a static web page. No surprise that neither of the last get enough maintenance time. Moocs enrich and inform the lot.

That aside why am here? Orient, declare, network, cluster, focus and all that jazz?
Accompanied by a scattering of related, yet not quite connected notions, I am here to learn, meet new ideas and stretch my mind, all of which is happening, but there is no way to know what I am getting out of a course or be sure how I will use a new app until after and a ways down the road. Remember William James on learning? "We learn to swim in the winter and ice skate in the summer." There are, of course, the connections and network building. MOOCs are, after all, about connectivism and distributed networks. 

Nothing new there. Just one early example among many: 50 years and more back, my mother taught swimming, ran the summer swimming lessons program and was Waterfront Director at Girl Scout camp. Some summers, she attended Red Cross Aquatic School. She told me that the program recharged her teaching, the workshops were always interesting but she learned the most from comparing notes and teaching ideas with other experienced WSI's (Water Safety Instructors) and also from reflecting on teaching practices to explain points and answer questions from less experienced and new WSI's). Mostly though, I remember getting a charge out of saying she was "on the waterfront." 

So what do expect to get out of this round of MOOCs?  What's a realistic takeaway? Allow that any answer will be just an early speculation. How do you expect to use it anyway? Not everyone is here for the same purpose. Baseline considerations of writing and rhetoric are not out of order: audience and purpose. Both are audience related: you as current audience; your once and future audience. Give same or different content, audience and purpose shape what you do with content ~ voice, medium, writing strategies, organization, style, etc. 

I'm satisfied if my takeaway consists of a couple of tools I can use without investing time I don't have, more links (you can never be too, too thin or have too many links ~ the last is my only truly feasible option). 

What I got out of Multiliteracies: meeting (Vance always sets good examples) and using it for non academic / teaching related curating; taking another look at Posterous, which I was already using and seeing more ways to use it; early and productive but inconclusive reflection on course and mooc directives; reviewing my own online beginnings and trajectory. The workshop endpoint was to create a PLE. I have one. Or several. They need make-overs, maybe consolidation. I haven't decided what or how. So I didn't. When the other courses started, Multiliteracies participation was a casualty of the deluge. No problem, I'll pick it back up when EVOmlit, the EVO iteration, starts. 

As for the others, too soon to tell, more to come on future blogs. I can tell them apart and am getting a feel for each, its particular focus and unique culture as well as for natural overlaps (networks connecting!). Nor am I the only multi-moocquer.  A number of POTcert11 and CMC11 participants follow Change 11, which seems to be the baseline, 'large loose baggy monster'  (Henry James on the 19th novel, Dickens in particular) but not to be missed MOOC of the season. 

I started out planning to blog regularly, alternating longer multiple mooc tagged posts with shorter mooc specific ones. You can see how well that's working for me ~ less a matter of being "homeless" on the net  (a Juana sin bloga) than having too many. Instead, I have been participating more in group interactions and commenting on blogs. Not a conscious decisions, it just turned out that way. Some longer comments might have made stand alone blog posts, which some responders, posting the link as their comment. I am bookmarking more diligently than I used to but possibly too much when subscribing to feeds. This time I am tweeting and retweeting less. Does everyone else's pattern of social media change from mooc to mooc? If so, why? (I have ideas about my own but won't assume about yours). Is it even possible, even app'd up, to direct adequate attention to all participation modes?


Jeffrey Keefer said...

Great post, especially as you stated you have not posted or even participated much in this MOOC.

I struggle with the networking and connecting in a MOOC; have you had success in this in previous ones?


Vanessa said...

I thank you but must point out that I made neither statement as attributed. Which MOOC of the four mentioned does "this MOOC" refer to?

I have posted, just not recently (the procrastination referred to). That clarification was in my 750 notes but somehow did not make it to the blog.

"Sure, I'd like to be getting more done but this is not all I am doing, not even all I am doing online" is not the same as not "even participated much in this MOOC."

My message, which I should have made more explicit, is that I am participating on my own terms, not according to an imaginary ideal over-determined by tradition classroom and course work practices.

Reading, bookmarking, tweeting - if only occasionally, commenting and being active in group discussions is participation. What if anything privileges one mode over another.

Should we ~ figuratively speaking ~ scrapbook every utterance, bundle them together and publish the link in order to create an artifact labeled "my participation"?

My advice: trim your sails and, unless taking a mooc for credit and thus bound to requirements, set your own terms for "success" or better yet, come up with another, less loaded term. "Success" does not have to refer to the knowledge-as-commodity exchange world of assignments, grades and credits. Yet connotation connects them.

Limit and select networks according to your interests and purposes. Looking does not commit you to getting engaged or even being in a relationship

Anonymous said...

Hi Vanessa

"1812 Overture with the speakers reversed"? OK, just make sure the canons are pointing in the right direction.

The 750 words idea sounds like a good one. As it happens, I have to complete a three-page abstract for a symposium by last Wednesday. Too bad I didn't find your site sooner.

I, too, an a MOOC spotter. I'm flitting around so much that I've mixed up the presenters, participants' blogs, and scheduled video-to-video meeting times. I only have one blog, but I keep starting draft (and sometimes daft) posts that I never publish. By the time I come back to them, I want to say something else anyway. I have tried to engage in a focussed way with change11, cmc11, eci831 and sd106 on the few occasions that I've managed to "attend" and attend to what is going on.

I understand that National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow (the day after for you - New Zealand is way ahead of the rest of the world). I'm going to spend the month writing a "novel" using Twitter. I don't expect to get very far, maybe three tweets a day (sort of equivalent to 3 pages the way we used to do things, don't you think?). Anyway, like you, I am interested in what happens when digital technology reconfigures writing, reading, and messing around.

I'd follow your blog, but I'm not sure which one to pick. Your distributed presence makes you hard to pin down. perhaps that's the point. A moving target, and all that.

Thanks for the thoughtful post.

Twitter: @mark_mcguire, @marksnovel

Vanessa said...

@ Mark ~ "mak[ing] sure the canons are pointing in the right direction" depends on who's pointing them and at whom...whether canons or cannons.

Among south Louisiana Cajuns, Creoles and other Francophiles, cannon reversing is to rewrite history with Napoleon defeating Wellington. No doubt the goals of "canon reversing" are similar if less extreme. Culture wars, Orwell's winners writing the history and all that.

I'm finding it a comfort of sorts to learn I'm not the only one having a problem keeping moocs straight ~ perhaps less a misery than confusion loving company. The confusion also reminds me of trying to remember which Borges essay a quote is from.

If you think the blogs are confusing, you should see my feed reader...

I have problems keeping track of my own blogs and have been thinking about ways to address that, especially with interest areas overlapping and refusing to remain tucked neatly in silos. Subscribing to label feeds and then bundling them comes to mind, maybe using bookmark tag feeds too. but I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning to carry the notion further.

Ditto drafts and post notes now past sell dates. Maybe there a series there: "Past Due Reflections" or "Belated Blogging" (Blog Bleating?)

Ooh I do like the twitter novel notion. Checking it out now... but which twitter acct/s to follow from?


Scott J said...

Hey Vanessa,

Don't toss away any of your belated blogs. All of us MOOC'ers are so far ahead of the curve we can flog all our thoughts on speaking tours when the rest of the world catches up to us. Alternately, should it turn out we made the curve, it was the wrong one, and we are way down the wrong road we can base a whole new civilization on our sage observations. (EEEK!)

I too am torn between which MOOC to follow. Or if "following" is even the correct term. The more intense the pressure to keep up the more I'm pushed back to Ivan Illich and Alan Watts on Zen Buddhism. There seems to be so much worry over what a MOOC can be "used for" or where it fits into the tiny box of one-true-teaching strategies we call education that simply experiencing the MOOC Moment is never discussed. I like the idea of just feeling what learning is when it isn't attached to a strict purpose or goal.

My wife worked for years in Aquatics as a Master WSI. There's something very elemental in teaching people to master what could be a very dangerous environment. Something real and obvious.


Vanessa said...

The Traveling MOOC Dog and Pony Show?

I've been thinking about a new verb for what we do with a mooc. None of the usual course and even social media verbs follow, take, participate, fan, friend, etc quite fit.

Mark came up with "mooc spotting," which I rather like. Instead of hitting the lecture circuit, there's the movie.

Thanks for the WSI comment about teaching people to master dangerous environments. I taught riding for years and get tired of hearing academics brush it off as not "real" teaching.

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