Sunday, August 24, 2008

CCK08: Getting in a tizz about the connectivism course

I am planning to be an informal student in a course that explores the learning theory: Connectivism. The course is being run by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. This course is being offered as an online open access course that anyone can join either as an informal student (free) for the fun of it, or formally enroll (and pay fees) with the aim of taking assessments and gaining the qualification.

Learning needs
I do not expect that I'll have time to be the star 'pupil' or formally enroll so my plans are to dip in and out of the course, picking up information to suit my particular needs.
  • My interest in the theory of connectivism as a learning and 'teaching' theory has grown as a result of my increasing interest in the notion of community mentoring.
  • I have been subpoenaed into a course at work which deals with constructing online courses. One of the assignments is to look at learning theory in relation to course design, so joining the connectivisim course should inform my studies for the construction course I am doing - gosh, that's confusing!
  • My learning will underpin a postgraduate midwifery online course about reflective practice that I am designing, in which I am hoping to introduce midwives to learning by networking at a very basic level.
  • Being a student will hopefully afford me further insights into the practicalities and experiences of developing, implementing and facilitating an open access course.
Panic attack
I have had a look at the course wiki and blog, and joined the course email group. But I am already getting into a bit of a panic about how I am going to follow what everyone is up to. The course has about attracted 1400 participants so the amount of activity in terms of emails, blog posts, synchronous meetings in forums like Second Life will be huge. And I feel dizzy with the thought that I might miss some thing important.

The truth of the matter is that it will be totally impossible to follow everything. So I am going to follow Derek Chirnside's advice and set up this Netvibes page that monitors key resources and blogs - this idea came from Joao Alves who is a student in a similar course: Facilitating Online Communities.

I am also going to join groups of people doing the course with the same fundamental educational interests as myself, such as health. So if you are planning to do the course and you have a health background, please let me know if you'd like to form a 'health group'. I think it will be useful to break into small groups so that we can apply the connectivism theory to a specific context. I am thinking that spontaneous meetings using tools such as Skype will be really useful.

It has also been really useful to listen to Siemens and Downes talk about their aims for the course, how they have organised it and what their expectations (if any) of the students are. This background information has given a context to the course that I was missing before.

I am really looking forward to learning more about connectivism and open access education. Please drop me a line if you are joining the course and want someone's hand to hold in the online playground.

Image: 'Recess 1' visual.dichotomy


mireille massue said...

Hi Sarah

I too have registered for this course. I have also taken a look at the blog, wiki and joined the course email group. I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to fit all of this in. I'm getting a bit overwhelmed and I have even started yet.

I like the strategy that Derek Chimside suggested. I'm so glad you shared that. I think I will be smart and set up a Netvibes page. What a wonderful suggestion

If you are looking for support, perhaps we can support one another. If any other people are reading your Musings, we can more people

thank you for mentioning all of this. At least when I start I will be organized (I hope)


Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Mireillem, I was just re-reading this post and thinking I sounded like a real plonker, so I am glad I'm not the only one feeling overwhelmed.

I have started my netvibes page which you can look at.

How about this as an idea: I collect all the blogs of people who contact me through this blog, and we self-organize into our own small group? I wanted to join the Second Life group, but have decided that that would just add another pressure.

Do you have a blog?