A Course Utilizing Connectivism Principles

September 16, 2008

Context: An introductory course to the web design & interactive media program at a design college
Rather than a lengthy description, I’ll focus on the concept of the course primarily to offer some specific pedagogy used in the course and hopefully attract discussion of classroom/e-learning practice.

Participants will each experience:
1. Understanding how to implement and manage a variety of social networking processes and tools including: weblogs, wikis, content aggregation, personal portals, social bookmarking, podcasting/vodcasting.
2. Reflective learning environment and collaborative learning with other class participants and the global web environment.
3. Focus on developing new learning skills (lifelong and self-directed learning) and implementing tools as an extension and expansion of learning and knowledge construction.

Assessments and ongoing processes:
1. Facilator introduces a topic of core value to the Interactive media industry each week (participants are involved in topic selection later in the course as well as what tools and processes they perfer to use)
2. Participants research the topic and locate a minimum of three resources that informs them about the topic.
3. Participants post a reflective response about the topic emphasing their understanding of the topic, and most important – their thoughts about how they are affected by the topic personally and professionally.
4. Participants comment on at least three other participants comments – reflecting, asking questions for clarification, and sharing how they understand the response.
5. Participants subscribe to a minimium of three RSS based resources about the topic and share these urls in delicious.com.
6. A weekly journal entry about what new processes/experiences they learned about how to learn
7. Participants also create a personal weblog on whatever topic most interests them and contribute at least weekly.
8. Participants are introduced to Personal Learning Environments as one the topics at the beginning of the course. They are introduced to several personal portal environments as a way of beginning their PLE and work on development of it throughout the course – they have the option of sharing aspects of their PLE with others (Netvibes Universe).

Currently this is a face-to-face classroom with extensive use of online activities. The classroom facilitates implementation and management of social software and personal productivity tools (cloud computing) and generates a collaborative process with discussions and sharing of experiences with various tools and topics.

Topics often are accompanied with specific tools that best implement the process related to the topic: Web 2.0 – blogs, aggregation; PLE – personal portals (Netvibes, Pageflakes, iGoogle); Communities of Practice – forums, wikis; collective intelligence – wiki, social bookmarking; podcasting/vodcasting – studio equipment to create podcasts/vodcasts; personal weblog – web hosting services.

The facilitator offers experience with a wide variety of tools and their related collaborative processes, technical details and support, and participates with the learners contributing as a participant, sharing reflectively about the topics with the learners.

Each learner implements and manages their learning environment and the variety of tools they choose to use in the learning process.

I would greatly appreciate your comments/questions and feedback!


On Teaching via Connectivism

September 12, 2008

I have been mostly lurking this week due to other responsibilities but find the course and the community fascinating and exciting! I am using connectivist principles in my teaching (college level) and would like to find others in this large community that are also currently designing courses and experiencing the process through teaching. I am totally open to how such a group can form, but if you are interested a comment here and link to your connection should get us started.

The discussion(s) about whether connectivism is a theory or not are interesting. I don’t sense a need to debate the issue although it is stimulating intellectual stuff. There are obvious philosophical and theoretical aspects to connectivism (in my opinion), but I am more concerned to develop practice with the concepts and what they mean in today’s complex learning environment. My experiences with my classes has helped me to facilitate a far reaching engagement among students as I see them becoming more self-directed and excited about their progress in learning how to learn. They are trying to be collaborative, though it is not a natural process for many (not everyone is a (digital native!) and they have to learn the skills of collaboration. As they begin to receive comments from outside our school and class community they suddenly realize there is more to learning than they thought, and this seems to get them charged up and moving positively.

I would like to share specific design as well as classroom experiences if others are interesting in sharing the same!

Author’s Introduction

September 3, 2008

I live in McKinney, Texas and I am a professor in the Web Design and Interactive Media program at The Art Institute of Dallas. I am currently working on my dissertation for a doctorate in Instruction Design for Online Learning through Capella University. My research is focused on social software tools and their potential for developing self-directed learning skills. As the world changes rapidly and most careers will be radically different from today, I am feel strongly that therefore the processes of learning to learn are significantly more vital than just domain content.

I am interested in the Connectivism course to further my experience with the prin- cipals of connectivism and to further strengthen my own role as a facilitator in a fast moving domain. Both George and Stephen have provided a lot of the connections that have given me new ideas and practices and I would not miss this opportunity to experience a group coming together to explore our next steps in the process.

To be a successful course for me, would mean engaging in conversations with participants, sharing my current course designs and being open to expanding my understanding of how to further engage my students and the stakeholders of our college systems. It also will depend on my choosing to be reflective with course content and to be open to others feedback and new ideas.

I am a web developer focused on web standards and semantic web construction. There is no end to the possibilities of this medium and its evolution to bring humanity together. I choose to help others develop skills in this arena as I feel the world needs strong, well-grounded designers who will touch us with their creativity and their connectiveness to the global community.

I became a self-directed learner in grad school and discovered the global community of bloggers who became the most important ecology for my studies. I have experienced the vital role of network connections in my personal growth and knowledge as a learning facilitator. The process of learning design is dynamic for me because of these experiences. The static rules of ID have been replaced with the more open framework of small pieces loosely joined.

[Identical content as my about page – so that it can be appropriately tagged for the cck08 course]

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge: course blog

September 1, 2008

I currently have a Netvibes tab set up for the course and now this blog to communicate with course participants. With 1400 + participants it will be a challenge to communicate, but as I am used to the blog format, I’ll try to respond to information and assignments through this blog, as well as the course wiki, google groups, and delicious accounts. Not sure how useful this will be, but it will help me to express myself and try and find others to work with as the course proceeds.