Connective Learning: Challenges for Learners, Teachers, and Educational Institutions

Claude AlmansiBy Claude Almansi
Editor, Accessibility Issues
ETCJ Associate Administrator

The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) has dedicated a special issue to “Connectivism: Design and Delivery of Social Networked Learning” (March 2011), edited by George Siemens (Athabasca University, Canada) and Grainne Canole (Open University, UK).

This special issue is not meant as a definitive sum on connectivism but rather, as Terry Anderson, editor of IRRODL, put it in his announcement on the Instructional Technology Forum mailing list:

… a challenge and request that we spend more effort into trying to understand if connectivism has approaches and delivers important insights and practical designs into the increasing networked learning context in which we function.

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PLENK 2010: Just Like ‘Watching Football’

Stefanie PankeBy Stefanie Panke
Editor, Social Software in Education

This week marked the start of  PLENK 2010, a seven week online course on personal learning networks (PLNs) and personal learning environments (PLEs). The “Massive Open Online Course“ (MOOC) is sponsored and organized by the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI) of the Canadian Athabasca University. George Siemens (TEKRI), Stephen Downes (National Research Council of Canada), Dave Cormier (University of Prince Edward Island), and Rita Kop (National Research Council of Canada) serve as facilitators. In addition, several invited speakers will attend the weekly live sessions. More than 1300 participants have registered in the Moodle platform so far.

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Learnings from a MOOC

By Jan Schwartz

In fall 2008, I participated in a semester long MOOC — Massive Open Online Course — through the University of Manitoba. The name of the course was Connectivism and Connected Knowledge; Stephen Downes and George Seimens facilitated it. Of the over 2000 enrollees from all over the world, I think fewer than 30 took it for credit. It was one of the most fascinating educational experiences I’ve ever had, and by the way it was free. For those interested, there is a short explanatory slide deck.

I admit to being primarily a lurker in the early part of this course because I had no idea what connectivism and connected knowledge meant, but by the end of the course I had a pretty good idea. A lurker in this instance is similar to an auditor in a face-to-face class; she is there to soak it all up, but not really to participate. There were published readings each week, but most of the learning came from other participants. We posted on Twitter, blogs, wikis, social bookmarks, and Moodle, which was the “home” platform for the course. There were even some discussions happening in Second Life. (Yes, eventually I started to participate.) In addition there was a once a week synchronous discussion on Elluminate. Continue reading