Week 1: Exploring technology, networks and communities in the service of learning

Time to start. This is the opening post for the full open section of #msloc430 as well as for the two-week exploration of networked learning innovations. Let’s cover a few things:

  • How we’ll organize throughout the six weeks
  • Some tips for success
  • An introduction to Weeks 1-2
  • Readings and resources for Weeks 1-2

These same items (except readings and resources) are addressed in the video in a bit more detail.

How we’ll organize during #msloc430

How to Participate and Topics and Schedule offer an overview. But keep in mind that we are generally organizing around a few tools and spaces – both for course updates and to help guide our learning.

Updates and general organizing

We’ll use this blog, the MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking Google+ Community and Twitter for course logistics, updates, suggesting recommended readings and topics for discussion.

On Monday (U.S.) at the start of each week we’ll post an update on this blog with guidance, suggested activities, updated schedules and references. The blog post will be cross-posted to MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking and shared on Twitter using the #msloc40 hashtag.

During the week we’ll use both Twitter and MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking to share resources and discussions.

The basic tools for participating

We’re starting out by focusing on four tools: Your own blog, MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking, a shared, open Google document and Twitter.

Use your own blog (assuming you have one) to explore the topics of #msloc430. We’ll post questions at the start of each week to help prompt some writing ideas.

Please also share your blog posts in MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking (simply sharing a link to your post is fine) and/or by sharing a link on Twitter (use #msloc430 hashtag).

If you do not have a blog you may wish to contribute to discussions via MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking.

We’re also asking participants to collaborate to create two shared Google documents – one summarizing what we’ll learn after weeks 1-2 and one summarizing weeks 2-4. Anyone may contribute to the document.

Twitter will be used throughout the week for on-going conversation and sharing. We currently have two planned Twitter chats. The first is on Thursday, Feb. 5. (8-9 pm Central Time). More chat dates and times may be added.

Tips for success

These tips apply for the entire six weeks.

Find your own path through the six weeks. And be comfortable with it. It’s ok to jump in and jump out. Or lurk for awhile. Come to the whole event with a key question or two in mind and let those questions guide you to a path.

Make one commitment: Comment on someone’s blog or discussion post. And make that someone a someone you do not currently know. This is one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned in doing events like this. It all starts by igniting new conversations and relationships.

Try something new. Even a small something.

Introduction to Weeks 1-2

In the first two weeks, we’ll explore different models of learning in networked environments. By “models” we mean something that has a clear enough definition to provide us with an example that we might replicate or follow.

Our starting point is by no means comprehensive. We’ve chosen a few models that will help us compare and contrast defining features and thereby understand each model more clearly. The models include:

  • Networked learning
  • Personal learning networks
  • MOOCs
  • Communities of inquiry

By the end of this two-week segment – Feb. 7 – our goal is to have created our first collaborative Google document. The document will include a brief description of each model and its key defining features as well as a list of references and resources to help all of us dive deeper into each model.

Where to begin

Begin by scanning the topics and our starter kit of readings and resources (listed below) to see what might be new territory for you and what might be more familiar territory. Note: You do not need to read all of the recommendations. None are compulsory. These are recommendations to help you get started along one of two options for blogging and discussion.

Option 1: Explore a model that is new to you. Write a post or start a discussion about what you see as the defining features of that model. For example: What makes a MOOC a MOOC? A personal learning network a personal learning network?

Option 2: This is for participants who have experience with one or more of these models. Based on your experience, what are the subtleties that novices overlook or under appreciate about any one (or more) of these models? For example: What is the magic behind a great cMOOC? Or – where are there blindspots in cMOOCs? The subtleties might deal with either positive or negative aspects of the model.

Post your thoughts on either option during the next 7-10 days on your blog and/or MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking and/or via Twitter.

Contribute to the shared Google Document

You may contribute to creating the shared document at any time. Starting Feb. 5, we’ll start to put more energy into completing a good first version by Feb. 10.

Join the Twitter chat

Thursday, 8-9 pm Central Time (U.S.) at hashtag #msloc430

Schedule Summary

For weeks 1-2:

  • Jan. 25 – Feb. 5 – Blogging and discussion to explore models of learning in networked environments. What are the defining features of each? What subtleties might novices miss?
  • Feb. 2 – Next weekly update (via this blog)
  • Feb 5 – Twitter chat 8-9 pm Central Time (U.S.) Hashtag #msloc430
  • Feb. 5 – Feb. 10 – Final effort to complete the shared document.

References and resources

The references and resources listed here are not compulsory readings. They are a starter kit. Browse through and find something that helps you get started on your own preferred path. Let it lead you someplace.

You may know of other great references or resources. Add them to the shared document covering the topics for weeks 1-2. We sincerely hope to build out an open list of resources that have helped all of us wrap our minds around these topics.

(Many thanks to Ess Garland and Maureen Crawford for their significant contributions to this list)

Networked learning

Downes, S. (2014, Sept 5. The Challenges and Future of Networked Learning (Slideshare). Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/Downes/2014-09-05-the-challenges-and-future-of-networked
Synopsis: Useful overview of meaning and how Networked Learning works with further references (a few don’t link) as well as challenges ahead and useful questions for reflection at the end.

Gorbis, M. (2013, March). The future of education eliminates the classroom, because the world is your class.

Connected learning: Reimagining the experience of education in the information age. http://connectedlearning.tv/connected-learning-principles

International Conference on Networked Learning – Conference Proceedings 2014 http://www.networkedlearningconference.org.uk/info/confpapers.htm
Synopsis: The International Conference on Networked Learning is a gathering of academic researchers that began in 1998. The link is to the latest conference proceedings. The site also includes past proceedings. This is shared more as a general resource than as a specific “reading” for #msloc430.

Personal learning networks

Howard Rheingold interview with Shelly Terrell re: PLNs: http://dmlcentral.net/blog/howard-rheingold/shelly-terrell-global-netweaver-curator-pln-builder
LaLonde, C. (2009, October).
Synopsis: Both of these articles provide history of usage of the term, basic definitions, and examples.

Couros, A. (2010). Developing personal learning networks for open and social learning. Emerging Technologies in Distance Education. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120177/ebook/06_Veletsianos_2010-Emerging_Technologies_in_Distance_Education.pdf
Synopsis: Illustration from the author’s experience of a PLN in a learning environment, definitions and history of PLN’s from a theoretical perspective and practical pointers to establishing your own.

Rajagopal, K., Brinke, D. J., Bruggen, J. V., & Sloep, P. B. (2011). Understanding personal learning networks: Their structure, content and the networking skills needed to optimally use them. First Monday, 17(1). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3559/3131
Synopsis: Provides an overview of research into PLNs and proposes a model to define personal learning networks.

Seaman, A. (2013). Knowledge sharing as a democracy. Hybrid Pedagogy. (Blog). Retrieved from http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/personal-learning-networks-knowledge-sharing-democracy/
Synopsis: Makes a case for PLN’s, defines them with a brief history and describes them ending with a useful way to start to build one.


Bates, T. (2014, October 12). What is a MOOC? http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/10/12/what-is-a-mooc/
Bates, T. (2014, October 12). Comparing xMOOCs and cMOOCs: Philosophy and Practice. http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/10/13/comparing-xmoocs-and-cmoocs-philosophy-and-practice/
Bates, T. (2014, November 21). A ‘starter’ bibliography on MOOC’s. Retrieved from http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/11/21/a-starter-bibliography-on-moocs/
Synopsis: Each of these blog posts is a chapter-in-progress for Bates’ open book “Teaching in a Digital Age” http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Cormier (2010) Success in a MOOC video. http://youtu.be/r8avYQ5ZqM0
Synopsis: Short video outlining how to participate in a MOOC by one of the originators of the model.

Jacoby, J. (2014). The disruptive potential of Massive Open Online Courses: A literature review. Retrieved from http://journals.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/index.php/JOFDL/article/viewFile/214/168
Synopsis: Interesting from a higher education perspective. Particularly helpful from “Key Issues” in identifying further emergent classifications of MOOCs and history.

Seimens, G. (2012, June 3). What is the theory that underpins our MOOCs. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2012/06/03/what-is-the-theory-that-underpins-our-moocs/
Synopsis: Developer of first MOOCs discusses differences between Connectivist MOOCs and MOOC’s promoted by learning platforms such as Coursera. Outlines theory underpinning Connectivist MOOC’s,.

Vetting Wolf, T. (2014, April). The growing potential of MOOCs. http://traceevettingwolf.weebly.com/blog/the-growing-potential-of-moocs
Synopsis: Some thoughts on the design of a cMOOC.

Community of Inquiry

Anderson, A. , Butler, R., Kyle, N., & Wess, Y. (2014). Community of Inquiry (Video file). Retreived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7MHPxIU27E
Synopsis: Simple presentation based upon referenced research outlines Community of Inquiry model and how it works in a learning environment. (Cartoon in the middle was bit jumpy for me?)

Community of Inquiry: https://coi.athabascau.ca/coi-model/
Synopsis: Website providing a reference point for description and research on the model.

Swan, K., Garrison, D & Richardson J. (2009). A constructivist approach to online learning: The community of inquiry framework. In Payne, C. (Ed.) Information Technology and Constructivism in Higher Education: Progressive Learning Frameworks. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/398997/A_Constructivist_Approach_to_Online_Learning_The_Community_of_Inquiry_Framework
Synopsis: Downloadable chapter presents the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework of online learning as the interaction between and amongst three presences: social, cognitive and teaching.


5 thoughts on “Week 1: Exploring technology, networks and communities in the service of learning”

  1. Nice Intro, loved the IRL class waving to us at 0.55. Loved also the soft tone, and clear voice you are using Jeff. I can listen to it and understand very easily. If every podcast was inspired by such attention to auditors it would be a great step for ESL learners. I started to read already so my next step will be to work on a blog post.

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