Starting Our PLN Journey: Week 1 – Orientation

We have arrived at the official start of our online seminar! The introductions and conversations in our Exploring PLNs Google+ Community have been engaging. If you have not yet joined our learning community, you first need to register for the seminar and then submit your request to join us in Google Plus. We will keep registration open until Oct. 7.

Schedule for Week 1

This week we focus on making introductions and helping those of us who are new to open, online learning understand the flow of the seminar. We want everyone to participate right off the bat, even if it’s just lurking and adding a reply to someone’s post. We have tried to make it easy for everyone to participate in our first exercise, setting learning goals, by creating an online tool to gather and share goals. We are calling this our Open Goal-Setting Forum. Registered participants have (or will) receive an email invitation and link to the goal-setting tool. If you have not received an invitation or if you would like to submit more than one form, please let us know by replying in the Goal Setting Forum section in our Google+ Community.

In addition to the ongoing discussions within our Google+ Community, here is our schedule of learning activities for the week:

  • First virtual Google+ Hangout on Air (video broadcast) session at 8 pm Central Time (Chicago) Tuesday, Oct. 8
  • #xplnchat Twitter Chat at 8 pm Central Time (Chicago) Wednesday, Oct. 9 and 1 pm Central Time (Chicago) Thursday, Oct. 10. (Note that we have added a second Twitter chat time to accommodate different time zones)

Resources for Week 1

With our focus on setting everyone up for a successful learning experience, the main resources for this week are the collaboration tools and instructions for participation in the seminar. See:

We also have shared supplemental resources for those of you who would like to learn more about open online learning design, self-directed learning and other related topics. We’ll be updating this page with new resources throughout the seminar:

Activities for Week 1

  1. If you have not done so already, join our Google+ Community and introduce yourself. Post it to the Introductions category.
  2. Use our goal-setting tool to help focus your learning goals for the seminar. Then keep an eye the Open Goal-Setting Forum to see what types of goals our community is creating.
  3. Most important: Try something new. If you are new to blogging, write a blog post and then share the link in our Google+ Community. Join one of our Twitter chats. Or follow the  on-going Twitter conversation by monitoring the #xplrpln hashtag. Add photos or video to your Google+ introduction to help us visualize where you live or work.

Our Reflections on Week 1

This week we’ll begin building the connections and relationships that may help us all create or expand our own (online) personal learning networks. We’ll do this by participating in the activities – and especially, by trying something new, together. Sharing goals. Experimenting with new tools. Reaching out to people we don’t really know very well and sharing our thoughts about a topic of interest.

But what does it mean, really, to connect like this?

Howard Rheingold (the author of Net Smart) wrote a short blog post in which he interviews Shelly Terrell, an educator who is credited with really accelerating the PLN movement among teachers. Terrell defines PLNs simply as “the people you choose to connect with and learn from” but also refers to them as “passionate learning networks” to get at the pull that draws us into making and maintaining our connections.

We know there are participants in this seminar who span the experience curve on PLNs – learning from an online network of “people we choose to connect with.”

So – what are our stories? As prompts for blog posts, community discussions, Twitter conversations or resource sharing during the week, let’s explore our stories:

  • How has having a PLN (if we do have one) changed the way we learn and practice in our professional fields? What does it mean to us?
  • If we don’t have a PLN – what’s the attraction of it? What pulls us into wanting to make the effort to create one? Or simply just to explore the idea by joining this seminar?

As you post or Tweet – remember please to use the #xplrpln hashtag.

Next Week

Next week is our formal “Introduction to PLNs.” We will share additional readings and references to help us build a broader understanding of PLNs.

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3 thoughts on “Starting Our PLN Journey: Week 1 – Orientation”

  1. Rat, distracted elsewhere, I missed the cutoff. So I decided that if connectivist mooc not for course credit means I get to decide what constitutes course goals, participation level, satisfactory completion, etc, then I can also follow/participate without the sacrament of registration. Would that be mooc crashing or moocing in sin?

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