Weeks 1-2: Technology, networks and communities in the service of learning

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.