#CCK11 Any Questions? (part 1)
I think I commented somewhere before that if the participants of the CCK11 MOOC are accountable for anything, it may be towards the future use of this remarkable form of networked learning. So, for the sake of future research and posterity, I’ve followed the connectivist DIY way to create, answer and record my very own CCK11 questionnaire. I hope this is a useful exercise – if anyone else wants to base their own questionnaire on my questions I have absolutely no objections.
What is your background?
I’m a retired academic. I worked in an Engineering Department at Leeds University (UK) and was involved in teaching, research and administration.
What were your learning objectives for CCK11?
(a) Since retiring I’ve studied a number of topics via internet sources but never indulged much in networked learning. I saw CCK11 as a means of furthering my knowledge of education theory while gaining personal experience of networked learning itself.
(b) I was looking for ideas in connection with my website (iBerry, ‘The Academic Porthole’). This is a non-profit I’ve run (with a little help from my friends) for more than 11 years. Although now attracting around 1,000 page hits a day, collecting feedback and connecting with users has always been difficult and a critical mass of interested users / facilitators has never been achieved. I felt that some understanding of connectivism and its practice in a MOOC might help in addressing this issue.
Did you achieve these objectives?
(a) I now have reams of interesting-looking but unread references and a much better knowledge of what I should know were I inclined to study education theory seriously. On the whole, my learning has been more in the nature of RPI (Removal of Pig Ignorance) than anything else!
(b) I’ve connected with CCK11 participants in various ways – blogging, comments on blogs, FB page etc. I believe that the insights I’ve gained into social networking and interaction will certainly be useful. As an example, in contrast with my earlier blog pontifications, I was astounded and flattered by the impact my MOOC infographic made! I should make much greater use of the visual – and pontificate less!
What do you see as the advantages of a MOOC?
Connectivist MOOCs seem to perform well in an ‘orientation’ mode where high drop-out rates and assessment are not very relevant (I blogged on this here). With a free-wheeling approach to learner autonomy and engagement, a MOOC can provide an enjoyable introduction to a topic while side-stepping much of the angst (assignments, deadlines, exams etc) associated with formal learning.
What do you see as the disadvantages of a MOOC?
It’s unclear what a Connectivist MOOC can offer in roles other than orientation, particularly when learning objectives are quite specific. I doubt whether a Connectivist MOOC can ever be very effective or efficient where time is limited and mastering a skill or understanding an issue is critical. Setting learning objectives with no commitment to anyone but yourself and then interacting with like-minded interesting people with different backgrounds and learning objectives may be engaging, enjoyable and an excellent approach in some circumstances but not in others. As far as ‘deep learning’ is concerned, I think a balance must be struck between the social support offered by learning networks and the need for private study where learners reflect, practice and nurture learning as individuals, in a space of their own and without distraction. (This can be Hard Work and not such fun – as many research students find out!) The concept of isolated study sits uneasily with Connectivism where knowledge itself is somehow identified with network connections.