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Connectivist Questionnaire Draft

Page history last edited by suifaijohnmak 13 years, 6 months ago

 

 

 

Connectivist Questionnaire

 

 

Here is a draft of a process-based, ‘connectivist’ questionnaire, which I have started to think through from the point of view of my own experience, and the experience of some of the people on the course that I interacted with most.  There is an implicit focus on ‘presence’ and ‘modes of presence’, or you can call it ‘different types of voice’, or becoming a member of a community (and sub-communities), or finding the right kind of ‘space’ for what you want or need to do at a particular time- all of which are affordances, and all of  which can be realised through a variety of types of interaction and writing, interactions and media.

 

 

The questions have been formulated so that we can elicit responses that will enable us to say something about which affordances were explored, benchmarked and mastered (or ‘realised’), and where and how the participants did that. I like the idea of cross-tabulating what we are asking to cognitive/ learning/interactive styles, as different people develop, realise and master different kinds of affordances, depending on what they want to do, what they want to become, and what kinds of roles suit them best. 

 

 

The questions include considerable overlap, with many of the affordances to be found in more than one medium (forums, blogs, etc). This research wiki is an interesting example of this – we are using it for blogging, wiki-ing and discussing, as well as cross-posing to some ning-ing, and we are also inter-lacing it with other blogs and wikis and emails: the borders and distinctions of ‘blogs’ and ‘discussions’ are subject to what we want to achieve, which is primarily affordance driven, not technology driven, no? 

 

 

This requires that most of the statements in the ‘blogs and discussions’ parts of the questions (e.g. 2.1 to 2.13) should be ‘affordance-type’ statements.  

 

 

This “connectivist” research design aims to explore and describe the way participants

 

  • Engaged with ideas, people, networks, and became part of a community or communities of inquiry/ intellectual practice, or the way they
  • Engaged, assembled, disassembled, and configured their ‘presence’, their ‘voice’, or their thoughts onscreen and off screen, as well as the way they moulded and re/configured the spaces in which they did this: public discussions, private emails, inside blogs, outside blogs, wikis, etc, etc.
  • Explored, benchmarked, consolidated, expanded, their capacity and confidence (i.e.  ‘affordances’) during this process …

 

 

All of which should provide some answers to the “connectivist” questions:

 

 

Did participants progress

 

 

  • Intellectually – in their understanding of connectivism and digital learning ecologies?
  • Ontologically – in their capacity to participate in a connectivist environment / digital learning ecology/ complex adaptive network, and in their roles in supporting others to do so?
  • What roles did blogs and discussions (in particular) play in these processes?
  • Are some people ‘bloggers’ or ‘discussants’ by nature or cognitive style?

 

 

So its an attempt for us to find out how they used blogs and discussions, but it is alsoan attempt to collaboratively explore with the respondents to the questionnaire, how they think they have shifted, progressed, changed, re-configured the way they engage in these kinds of environments.

 

Note: each statement should have a scale for responses, from disagree [1] to agree [5] – I would use a 7 point scale, as I think a 5 point scale doesn’t require enough thinking, but I am happy to go with the consensus, which seems to be 5, and it might make it more user friendly.  I would also just use numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) without categorising them as ‘strongly’ etc. There are an awful lot of statements here. If we went with as many statements as this then I think we may need the 7 point scale to keep people thinking.

  

Comment:

1. I have done a rough edit, merge and consolidation job on all the position and process issues, in an attempt to integrate them into a coherent whole.  I have also done some gardening, or pruning, on the material in section 3 (en route), but this section in particular could do with more work. I have put in some comments - but I haven't yet checked back against aby of Matthias and John's work on this. I have used similar or the same items in the blogs and discussion statements, quite deliberately. 

 

 

2. I have included the personal style / disposition just as is, in section 6 – I haven’t given it much thought, but it looks good to me so far, and I presume other people have looked at it in more detail.         

 

 

3. I realise that some of the material in section 1 (engagement) duplicates some of the statements in the ‘pre-amble/ profile material at the head of the questionnaire.  I think it makes sense to include it here, as it makes the questionnaire more coherent, in terms of a ‘connectivist’ questionnaire, but you might like to change it.  If we leave it here, we will have to edit and prune the ‘pre-amble’ section. I don't think that's a problem

 

 

4. I have tried, as I said in a comment on the wiki very recently, to keep the blogs/discussion distinction foregrounded, but to put it in a more flexible, dynamic, ‘ecological’/ ‘connectivist’ context, partly by using a fairly ‘iterative’ design.  You need to see if this is successful, or if it shifts the research too far from what you might have had in mind originally.  I will not be offended if the consensus is to revert to a less explicitly ‘connectivist’ approach – this has been a very interesting and challenging exercise for me, and quite instructive.  And it still needs quite a bit of editing, changing, tightening up, and clarification in term of language.

 

 

5. I am not sure that I have included all of the relevant affordances in the list that Jenny (I think) did in the wiki – it might be useful to go back to that list too.

 

 

1. Engagement this section seems fine to me

 

 

When I started on the course I spent a lot of time and effort in…

1. The discussion forums started by other people  1…………..5

2  Discussion forums that I started. 1…………..5

3  Reading the background material for that week of the course 1 ………..5

4  Starting and writing a blog inside the course 1…………5

5  Keeping up my blog/s outside the course 1………5

6  Keeping up my wiki/s outside the course. 1………5

7  Participating on other wikis  1………5

8  Joining and participating in Facebook inside the course 1………5

9  In the 2nd life site of the course.  1………5

10  In other 2nd life sites  1………5

11   Other (please state in 5 words or less) 1………5

 

 

 

 

2.  Settling in

 

 

In the first few weeks of the course … do we need to say how many weeks?  3

In discussions, I found the following interesting and satisfying …… by 'discussions' do you mean Moodle forums - or just anywhere?   Sure, this needs a Moodle forums 'search and replace', unless you want to use the CCK08 format that was used elsewhere.      

 

 

12  Exchange of views amongst peers in discussions                1…………5  

13  Engaging with ‘loud voices’                                                          1………….5

14  Meeting people I knew previously                                                 1 …………5

15  Meeting new people                                                            1………5 (etc)

16  Formulating and thinking about my own tentative views  

17  Clearly stating well thought through views and ideas  

18  Getting feedback and critique from others  

19  Developing a micro-community of inquiry / community of practice  

20  Other (please state in 5 words or less)  For someone as verbose as me I couldn't cope with just 5 words :-)  The dicipline is good for you!  This can be adjusted - 10 max! 'Discipline' Is that a word I'm supposed to understand? Whatever does it mean? :-)

 

 

In the first few weeks of the course … (how many weeks is a few weeks?)  3.0

 

 

In blogs linked to the course, I found the following interesting and satisfying ….

21  Formulating and thinking about my own tentative views     1………..5

22  Clearly stating well thought through views and ideas                   1……….5

23  Developing my own ideas in my own space                         1………….5 (etc)

24  Getting comment from others

25  Making my thoughts available to others

26  Developing a micro-community of inquiry / community of practice

27 Other (please state in 5 words or less) as above

 

 

 

 

3. En route Matthias - how does this fit with your findings from your concept mapping?

  • This is hard to say since I don't know where/ when this collection of questions branched off from the collaboratively edited versions before. Thanks, Roy, for the offer in your 11:04 pm comment to reference the previous numbering and include the previous headings here, but I think we cannot afford two diverged branches of the live page being edited. So I will try to merge back #31 though 96, inluding Jenny's comments, to the active page Part 4 Grouping Draft 2 and consider the below copy of this question range (31-96) as locked or frozen, please.
  • (2009-03-19 Matthias:) I am not sure which ones of the various steps of tightening and discarding/ pruning were regarded that I tried to document and identify via the various summarizing Cmap steps. Many of the dropped items came up again and it is unclear if the pruning is being objected or if it was merely missed.

 

Once the course was up and running (from about week 2 or 3), I spent a lot of time and effort on the following aspects of the course: how much time is a lot of time?

 

 

21  The discussion forums started by other people                    1…………..5 (etc)

22  Discussion forums that I started.  

23  Reading the background material for that week of the course  

24  Starting a blog inside the course  

25  Keeping up my blog/s outside the course

26  Keeping up my wiki/s outside the course.

27  Participating in other wikis 

28  Joining and participating in Facebook inside the course

29  In the 2nd life site of the course.

30  In other 2nd life sites

31 Other (please state in 5 words or less)

 

 

Please don't comment on 31-96 here but in Part 4 Grouping Draft 2 !

 

If I was spending substantially more time in blogs during this part of the course, this was because: so presumably people who didn't do this would skip this section? Which would help to make it a bit shorter.

 

 

31 There was less mutual respect between the CCK08 forum participants than between the CCK08 bloggers could we drop the CCK08?)

32 The CCK08 Moodle forum posts elicited stronger emotions than the CCK08 blog posts

33  Posting to the CCK08 Moodle forums generated greater feelings of anxiety than posting to a CCK08 blog

34  There was a greater sense of community between CCK08 bloggers than between forum participants CCK08

35  It was harder to form relationships that lasted beyond the end of the course in the CCK08 forums than it was in the CCK08 blogs I'm not sure that this one fits here

36 It's not very important for me that in forums, all the relevant aspects and ideas are collected in one place. I think this one needs rephrasing - but I'll need to come back to it 

37  I don't want to be distracted by ever more links I'm not sure that this one fits here

38  When new aspects and ideas come up, I like to explore their source and author, and sometimes they resonate with me when I learn more about their background This statement may need splitting - it has two parts

39  The CCK08 forum discussions were less reflective than the CCK08 blog discussions

40  The CCK08 forum discussions were so fast that they prohibited reflection

41  The CCK08 discussion forums were more teacher-controlled than the CCK08 blogs

42  There are fewer opportunities for self- expression in forums

43  I was already familiar with blogging

44  There was more mutual respect between CCK08 bloggers than in the Moodle forums

45  I was less likely to be heavily criticised on my blog

46  I could avoid the ‘loud forum voices’

47  I felt less anxious when blogging than when posting to the Moodle forums

48  Blogging allowed me more control over my own learning

49  I could work at my own pace

50  I liked the ‘slowness’ of blogging

51  Blogging allowed me to have a voice on the CCK08 course

52  Writing for my blog gave me more pleasure than writing in the Moodle discussion forums

53  Blogging allowed me more personal space

54  I found it easier to understand the CCK08 blog posts than the Moodle forum posts

55  I didn’t feel I had anything to contribute to the Moodle forum discussions

56  I could not make my voice heard in the Moodle forum discussions

57  The CCk08 bloggers often provided summaries of the weekly topics and this helped my learning

58  I preferred the linear style of blogs Is this statement accurate?

59  I was able to make more meaningful connections with a greater number of people in the blogs

60  The quality of posts in the blogs was higher than in the forums

61  Blogs are more distributed, among different people and different opinions, and don’t tend to force consensus.

62   There is greater opportunity for self-assessment

63  There is more crafting of writing

64  There is a greater sense of freedom and autonomy Can freedom and autonomy be put together in one statement?

 

 

 

 

If I was spending substantially more time in discussion forums during this part of the course, this was because …

65  Posting to the forums required less effort than posting to a blog.

66  Posting to the forums enabled faster response and communication than a blog. 

67  There was a greater sense of community between forum participants than between bloggers

68  Relationships between the CCK08 Moodle forum participants were stronger than between CCK08 bloggers

69  The CCK08 Moodle forum posts elicited stronger emotions than the CCK08 blog posts

70  Posting to the CCK09 Moodle forums generated greater feelings of excitement than posting to a CCK08 blog

71  It was easier to form relationships with other course participants in the CCK08 forums than in the CCK08 blogs

72  There was a greater sense of community between CCK08 forum participants than between CCK08 bloggers

73  I find it more convenient in forums that all the relevant aspects and ideas are collected in one place

74  I am excited when people bring lots of obviously related aspects to the table

75  I don't want to be distracted by ever more links

76  I am fascinated that forums discussions rapidly connect to more aspects would topics be a better word/ while the previous aspects are still lively present in mind (needs re-phrasing?)

77  When new aspects and ideas come up, I like to explore their source and author, and sometimes they resonate with me when I learn more about their background see comment above

78  Writing my forum posts gave me more pleasure than writing in blogs

79  I was already familiar with posting to discussion forums

80  Blogging requires more effort than I wanted to make

81  I enjoyed the fast pace of the Moodle forums

82  I enjoyed the challenging discussion that took place in the Moodle forums

83  There was more lively debate in the Moodle forums

84  I felt more of a sense of community in the Moodle forums

85  I had a greater number of readers in the Moodle forums than I would have had on a blog

86  I preferred the linear style of the Moodle forum discussions

87  I was able to connect with a greater number of people in the Moodle forums

88  There was more knowledge creation in the Moodle forums

89  The quality of posts in the Moodle forums was higher than on the blogs

90  It was easier to track back and locate information in the Moodle forums

91  I was able to establish a presence in the Moodle forums

92  I was able to make a greater contributions to the Moodle forums

93  Forums are more like a conversation

94  There is more sparring/challenge

95  There is less ‘navel gazing’ are there any cultural issues with this statement?

96  I don't want to be urged to follow the author through his linear assembly of digressions. will this statement be understood

 

Please don't comment on above 31-96 here but in Part 4 Grouping Draft 2 !

 

 

 

  

4.  Absence

 

 

I didn’t contribute to the discussions or blogs during (approximately) the following weeks

 

 

97 Week 1 (with name of the week)

98 -108 etc

 

 

I also stopped reading the discussions or blogs during (approximately) the following weeks

109  Week 1 (with name of the week)

110 -121 etc 

 

If I stopped contributing it was because …

 

I wanted or needed to do something else:

122  I had to attend to other priorities

123  I was bored

124  Other (please specify in less than 5 words)

 

 

I was fed up with (the space for interaction closed down) do we need this line - can it not just run on from the previous section - in which case some of the statements need slightly rephrasing

125  Too much noise (extraneous issues)

126  The power ‘game’ by the facilitator was infuriating

127  Rudeness on the part of other participants

128 The topic that week was not relevant to me

129 I wanted some quiet time, it was getting too hectic

130  I wanted to blog/ reflect in private

131  I couldn’t find a space for my views amongst the experts

132  Everything was happening too fast

133  Other (please specify in less than 5 words)

 

 

I wanted to continue what I was doing on the course, but in another setting or context by 

134  Taking off on another track in a private email conversation with another participant or two

135  Taking of on similar issues, but in an ‘outside’ space/ forum/ wiki etc.

136  Other (please specify in less than 5 words)

 

 

I was happy to follow …

137  … the discussions and blogs that others were writing without participating myself

 

 

 

 

5. On reflection now, a few months after the course …  

 

In discussions, I realise that I developed my capacity for

138  Exchange of views amongst peers in discussions 1…………5 (etc)

139  Engaging with ‘loud voices’ 1………….5

140  Engaging with people I knew previously 1 …………5

141  Engaging with new people

142  Formulating and thinking about my own tentative views 1 ……..5

143  Clearly stating well thought through views and ideas 1……….5

144  Getting feedback and critique from others 1………5

145  Developing one or more micro-community of inquiry / community of practice

146  Providing a challenging-and-supportive space for a community of inquiry.

147  Exposing / challenging indefensible ideas.   

148  Other (please state in 5 words or less)

 

And I found the following aspects of discussions most interesting and satisfying …… Are you saying that I now realise (a few months later, that I found the following aspects of forum discussions most interesting and satisfying

149  Exchange of views amongst peers in discussions 1…………5 (etc)

150  Engaging with ‘loud voices’ 1………….5

151  Engaging with people I knew previously 1 …………5

152  Engaging with new people

153  Formulating and thinking about my own tentative views 1 ……..5

154  Clearly stating well thought through views and ideas 1……….5

155 Getting feedback and critique from others 1………5

156  Developing one or more micro-community of inquiry / community of practice

157  Other (please state in 5 words or less)

 

 

In blogs linked to the course, I realise that I developed my capacity for …. comment as above

158 Formulating and thinking about my own tentative views 1………..5

159  Clearly stating well thought through views and ideas 1……….5

160  Developing my own ideas in my own space 1………….5 (etc)

161  Getting comment from others

162  Making my thoughts available to others

163  Developing one or more micro-community of inquiry / community of practice

164  Other (please state in 5 words or less)

 

 

And I found the following aspects of blogs most interesting and satisfying ……

165  Exchange of views amongst peers in discussions 1…………5

166  Engaging with ‘loud voices’ 1………….5

167  Engaging with people I knew previously 1 …………5

168  Engaging with new people 1……5

169  Formulating and thinking about my own tentative views 1 ……..5

170  Clearly stating well thought through views and ideas 1……….5

171  Getting feedback and critique from others 1………5

172  Developing one or more micro-community of inquiry / community of practice  1……..5

173  Other (please state in 5 words or less) 1………..5

 

 

6. Personal Style / Disposition I need time to come back to this. John can you explain how you came to your judgements about where bloggers and Moodlers fit?

[Activists statements (Bloggers mainly) (primary)]

174  I like to become involved in experiencing situations

175  I like new opportunities in learning

176  I like to maintain high profiles

177  I learn best when there is an element of risk in learning

178  I learn best when I could 'bounce off' and become energised by others (I would suggest that this is common in Blogger and Moodler)

 

Reflectors statements [(Bloggers (primary) and Rare Moodlers (secondary)]

179  I like to think things through

180  I like to listen, watch and gather data before committing myself to a decision or conclusion (mostly Blogger, could also be Moodler, if it is about discussion in a forum)

181  I tend to be cautious and conservative in the face of new knowledge and experience (mostly Blogger, could be first time Moodler))

182  I learn best when given time to think or mull things over (mostly Blogger, could be Moodler in discussion forum) 

183  I learn best when I am given access to all available information to guide my decisions

184  I learn best when I am not pressured by deadlines or hasty decision-making processes

 

Theorists statements [(Bloggers (primary) and occasional Moodlers (secondary)]

185  I like to assimilate and synthesise new information

186  I like to fit new information into theories and explanation of how the world works

186  I learn best when I can use models and systems that make sense to me

187  I learn best when I can understand links and connections between facts and ideas

188  I learn best when I can explore links and connections between facts and ideas

189  I learn best when the subject matter is objective

190  I learn best when the subject matter is based on rational principles

 

Pragmatists statements [(Mainly Moodlers (primary) and some Bloggers (secondary) (educators, instruction designers, education practitioners))]

191  I am interested in ideas to see if they work

192  I think abstract ideas have little meaning for me

193  I like to solve practical problems

194  I want to put new knowledge to use (Bloggers and Moodlers)

195  I learn best when I can link ideas to real life situations (Bloggers, Moodlers and Lurkers)

196  I learn best when I can try out strategies (Bloggers)

197  I learn best when I can try out ideas

198  I learn best when I can deal with practical situations

 

Jenny, My judgements where about where Bloggers and Moodlers fit are base primarily on (a) my observations, (b) claims of bloggers being reflectors (most bloggers are claiming reflection - thinking aloud, critical thinking, rational thinking - based on reasons rather than passion etc.) and claims of moodlers being pragmatists as revealed by requests from participants on experience or proof or evidence of uses/application or case studies in connectivism) - may need to check on the number or percentage of such claims in the MOODLE forum.  Various posts that relate to the uses of tools and discussions of practical applications are also further evidence.  As there seems not to have any prior studies categorising the blogger/Moodler, those judgements were my speculation.  We need to set up the hypothesis - as shown below to test them.  22/3/2009 John

I copied the above from The Complete Guide to Coaching at Work by Perry Zeus & Suzanne Skiffington 2003.  By John.

 These were based on the 4 identified learning styles: activists, reflectors, theorists and pragmatists.  I understand that it's very difficult to generalise even through this survey.  My suggested assumptions (or the hypothesis) is that (a) most bloggers would be activists (putting theories into practice by setting up one's blog), reflectors (like to develop strategies/answers based on one's own thinking and reflecting about the problems or issues), theorists (like to assimilate and synthesise new information and fit into one's theories and explanation of how the world works).  The above three learning styles (being activists, reflectors, and theorists) may also be adopted by Moodlers, but MAY BE to a lesser extent.  Jenny, Matthias, and even Roy: Is it true that you are the ones that adopt those styles?  Though Roy you mentioned that you have now switched to wiki - may be if you don't mind, I would like to learn the main reasons for such switching.

 

For Moodlers, they are more interested in ideas to see if they work. Ideas in the abstract have little meaning for them,  Moodlers would like to clarify the ideas and concepts with MORE people, to ensure that such ideas are practical.  They also want to put new knowledge to use.  We are here functioning in a similar way of that of Moodlers (within this Research Team), though we don't mind considering abstract ideas in the brainstorming and initial research.  We would like to tease out the questions and ensure that the research survey works (the practical use of any theory, or the scientific empirical research methodology).  It is not confined to putting theory into practice, nor the reflection or thinking through, nor the fittting into theories, but the co-creation of "new or refined" model. 

 

In summary, the above "findings" are based on my observations and experience, and the initial studies from research articles on learning styles.  I could quote them here if you want me to, apart from that book.  However, I don't think there are lots of research done that relate particularly on bloggers versus learning style, as it could be inconclusive due to the shifting "learning style" as one develops.  So, my suggestions above could be an "ontology" (learning to be) study of the learning style.

 

Our research so far are based on (1) reflection of the CCK08 experience both individually and collectively, (2) re-examination and review of the principles of Connectivism, ANT (to certain degree by Roy), Learning Styles Model (Honey and Mumford basic Learning Styles) (Jenny, Matthias and me), and the various other learning theories and metaphors, (3) Concept Mapping developed by Matthias - conceptualised through findings from Forum and Blogs voices and collections, our research team's conversation and previous research (articles, blogs other than CCK08), and (4) continuing literature and action research - on reference list and current blog posts

 

I think the learning style could be a research topic by itself, and could be used to validate some of the hypothesis I suggest if a survey is done.  Again, I don't mind if we are to drop out in this survey research.  

I would, however,  like to learn if the hypothesis set up could stand up to a critical analysis or not (proven or disproven in a survey or blog/Ning postings in discussion).

If the people are interested in developing a refined or new model in "Connectivism", I think they will be willing to participate in a "lengthy survey" rather than a short one.  Also, we could drop the "over the phone" interview if our questionnaire is structered with both quantitative and qualitative sort of questions.  We could use an email type of interview - i.e. asking more questions to further probe into the core questions - e.g. for all "others" reasons, we could ask for elaboration using examples in the follow up survey.

John 19/03/2009

 

 

Roy - many thanks for this - which I have enjoyed reading.  I'm not sure what  John or Matthias think - but I think this would work well. I would enjoy filling it in. Some thoughts:

 

  • I also would like to thank you very much. There are already multiple valuable improvement to the view of forums that we would have forgotten to consider, such as: 
    • the "meeting" aspect in 14f,
    • identifying that the "voice" aspect is actually already beyond our preferences scope and goes into the process dimension (our P010/ P011 and, to a lesser degree, also P013,
    • or your entirely new 147 "Exposing / challenging indefensible ideas"
  • So you enriched not only your new (longitudinal) dimension but also the originally intended (lateral) one. However, I would prefer to keep these two separate, as I want to argue next. 

 

1. There are a lot of statements. How long do you think this would take to complete? Would people be prepared to give the time? Actually I think it might not take as long as it appears, particularly since some sections won't be applicable to everyone.

  • I am also afraid that the questionnaire would become too long and cumbersome. And this might not only negatively affect the return rate, but even worse, it might skew the outcome towards respondents of a special style -- which one is hard to tell but probably those who are more inclined to reflective, patient work rather than to rapid-fire style. This directly affects our divider line between forums and bloggers

    So I would like to compare the load of questions with the weight of experiment apparatuses to be carried on a space capsule: every few gramms matter, and the scientists have to decide how many kilograms they can afford for each of their experiments.

    For the intriguing longitudinal research project, I think the final weight is not yet estimable, because the current process model does not yet cover many of the factors that might skew the forums vs. blog balance to either side depending on the more precise delimitation of the questions.

    (This may sound as a DEsctructive critique, but rather it should be understood as a CONstructive continuation of our discussion about HOW much ambition our project can afford, and also constructive for a potential branched second project.)

    First, the two sections of 4 "Absence", after 125, seems to focus on those who totally stopped forum participation. People who stopped blogging would probably find no response to agree with, and an even more complicated but observable case is not yet covered, at all: People who did not quit but fell behind and opted to work on their own on the topics of previous weeks.

    Next, in chapter 5, only reflections AFTER a long time are addressed (as Jenny observed in her comment above 149). Either we would have to include yet more question variations for the "en route" reflection and perhaps for the immediate after reflection, or we are again in danger to skew the outcome towards a certain one of the reflective type.

    In chapter 1 and 3, questions like 1/2 and 21/22 about who started the forums disussions, would need to consider the special role of the discussions started by the facilitators. I think the difference between these and others is larger than between replying to a thread whose ancester posting was written by the respondent or replying to someone else's. I think some people regarded George's initial opening questions as something similarly obliging as the background material of questions 3 and 23.

    Similarly, if we want to track the actual behavior details rather than more generally distinguish blogs vs. forums, we also need to consider finer distinctions of the various greyscale zones, such as blog posts copied to the forums or vice-versa, posts that were cross-linked from blogs to forums or vice-versa, the special role of the links in the facilitators' Daily, or the special role of time spent with reading the long blog posts that carried the three assignment essays.

    In question 137 ("happy to follow [others'] discussions AND blogs") we would need to distinguish between these two (as they are our study objects), and additionally consider those who were just reading the Daily via email (and this is the greatest Unknown where we have no idea if these were almost all of the 2200 registered people, or just a handful of wackos who did not find the send button).

    If we want to do the longitudinal process study thouroughly we need to address many more such complexities, and I would plead that this should be a separate step. Also, if it is not a quantitaive study (Jenny's question 2. below) that aims at validating a given hypothesis, there would probably be no need to keep the question ideas secret for such a long time, either.

    Here are the options I could conceive:
  • 1. Go with the original research (first) and conduct survey, see what the responses are, followed by further research to explore the big picture (easier to manage, but may not be able to derive the model of big picture after the first survey)
  • 2. Go with Roy's suggestions with modifications (Jenny and Roy would consider this approach OK, Matthias thinks this is difficult due to too many questions, and the longitudinal study needs more information for qualification of model)  I am happy to consider Roy's AND Matthias suggestions, as they are both CONSTRUCTIVE.  How about further pruning of questions SIGNIFICANTLY to allow a practical survey to be conducted?  An effective way for checking this is to pilot with people, and see if the questionnaire is working.  Normally if the questionnaire could be answered within 15 - 20 minutes, that would be acceptable.  Other detailed information could be obtained by (a) requesting interested respondents to post a reflective answers on blog or discuss them in our Ning Forum, (b) an email responding to the questions, (c) a Skype of similar type of interview, or a podcast, recordings using any systems, like chats etc.) (d) a response to central questionnaire we could post on our Ning or the Pbwiki i.e. http://connectivismeducationlearning.pbwiki.com
    • Futher pruning: IMHO, meaningful pruning is only possible with a specific hypothesis in mind, and I am not sure if we lost the hypotheses out of sight and are heading towards an investigation that would unearth new ideas rather than a clear answer to a clear research question.
  • 3. Go with an alternative third approach - you suggest if there is a better way.
  • I think the number of returns in survey could be easily monitored and controlled.  If people are not willing to participate in the survey, we should still appreciate their wish.  If the number of returns is too low (say within 30, we could still use it to write paper(s).  We would have to state the limitations of the surveys, and could report on the analysis of various findings using other assignments and reports.  There are still plenty of other avenues to collect information and conduct research using means other than surveys.  Incident analysis by studying the blog posts and analysis of our Ning discussion could also reveal great results. 
  • Finally, would you like to focus on one topic (blog versus forum) or the total picture approach?  I am not too sure if it would be better off not to be too ambitious of having meta-meta research that is too overarching, as I could sense from Matthias feedback.  Matthias, have I interpreted your feedback correctly? 
    • Well, I don't object the ambitious approach in a second project.
  • I love the system approach towards research.  In my previous project research at work, it took me (us) around 2 years to complete.  It was rewarding but challenging.  It also requires patience and conversation, just like what we are doing here.  I think a staged approach to research may be easier to manage.  Any of the 2 approaches fits me! 

John 18/3/2009

2. Are you seeing this as a quantitative study or were you thinking of following this up with interviews? There would be such a lot of data from this if a good number of people responded. Would we still need to interview? What are your thoughts on how the results could be analysed?

 

 

3. If we  are all agreed to go with this - then I think we need to do the following:

 

  • Rewrite the preamble taking into account all John's work on ethical considerations
  • Agree a 5 or 7 point scale
  • Check section 3 carefully against Matthias' work on the concept maps
  • Check section 6 - that the statements will give us the information we need and are not in any way biased. Learning styles is a notoriously difficult area in research
  • Check the wording of every statement for bias etc.
  • Pilot with friends, family members etc.
  • Get all the email addresses we need
  • Type up into Survey Monkey
  • What else?

 

A note on terminology: "Discussion" instead of Forums suggests that the exchange on blogs does not have traits of a discussion.  "Discussion forums" (21 ff): the hierarchy is moodle platform > course > forum > discussion (thread in the wider sense) > [subthread > ] posting; I don't see how the affordances view can change this technical basic concepts. And the use of the term "connectivist" in a sense totally different than the coiners meant it, is  very confusing. There was already a connectivist intention of this project in the original sense of the term (e. g. considering the connections among people and among concepts, not only among people and between people and concepts).

 

And a note on the technical organisation of our texts: The quickest way to run into struggles with technology is too rapidly copying and pasting rather than cutting and pasting, or moving the text snippets elsewhere that are currently edited. We should separate content-related controversies from text-organising collaboration, because diverging text variants are very hard to reconcile.

 

 

Comments (6)

suifaijohnmak said

at 9:58 pm on Mar 18, 2009

Hi Roy, Jenny and Matthias,
(1) I found Roy's approach capturing the spirit of both connectivism and ontology of the digital ecology or adaptive digital system:"So its an attempt for us to find out how they used blogs and discussions, but it is alsoan attempt to collaboratively explore with the respondents to the questionnaire, how they think they have shifted, progressed, changed, re-configured the way they engage in these kinds of environments." This is the big picture approach, and could be a well founded empirical research towards a New Theory of Learning based on both "Connectivism" and "Technology Affordance". I think there is a need to reformulate the research questions and hypothesis - or this may be actually a big research consisting of 2 researches - one on the Technology Affordance and Connectivism (big picture) and the other the original research design.
(2) The original research on the comparison between blogs and forum discussion has its own merits in revealing the specific connectivism model that could be based on that part of PLN (Personal Learning Networks) - the blog versus the dicussion part of LMS Moodle Forum). It has its limitation in that it hasn't been able to trace the "ontology" if the questions are not tracking the development throughout and after the course. Also, we need to decide whether personal style (i.e cognitive or learning style) would have a significant impact on whether to use blog or forum (I still think this is critical to the whole exercise). And this learning style preference is reinforced by Stephen's latest video on PLN - i.e. visual learner would prefer to visual aids, and audio learner would prefer podcast etc.
For me, both proposals are worthwhile and really fantastic way to explore in this research. I would like to learn from Jenny and Matthias so as to come up with a consensus

dustcube said

at 11:04 pm on Mar 18, 2009

Hi John, thanks for the comments. As I said, I dont mind if we use this approach, or revert to the earlier one.

I have not referenced the numbering of the earlier version here, as it would just take too long, but I can do so if anyone would like to have that information.

Also, section 3, which is the most substantial, could do with some editing, but also with the reinstatement of the section hearding. That too I can do, but it depends on whether the consensus is to go with this bigger picture approach, which includes the blog/discussion issues, or not.

Any thoughts?

Jenny Mackness said

at 2:18 am on Mar 19, 2009

I am happy to go with this approach as it seems to offer the best of both worlds, but tell me Matthias and John if I have failed to understand something here.

suifaijohnmak said

at 7:42 am on Mar 19, 2009

I am happy to go with this approach too. I agree with what Jenny's comments and suggested actions, and would like to hear from Matthias. I could go with what we have come up with as a consensus, and that our research is based on both consolidation of our preliminary literature research (over the blogs, forums), our action research and conversations. We could refine the research focus and overall questions to align with those developed in Matthias' conceptual map - incorporating Roy and Matthias, Jenny and my conceptual mapping, as we finalise the questionnaire. These also form the basis of the hypothesis.
Thanks Roy, Jenny and Matthias for all the hard work. I will continue to "data mine" through the literature research and our blogs/forum to explore our model of work and what has been done by others.

dustcube said

at 9:10 pm on Mar 19, 2009

In brief, I really appreciate the team's tolerance of a rather 'disruptive' intervention on my part. Thanks for taking it in the constructive sense in which it was intended, I think it is all really coming togethe. I will look at the detail of where everyone has got to in the last 12/24 hours, and add to what you have already done.

The draft here was something I needed to do, to see if it would 'work' as a whole (in principle). It does seems to work, and it seems that we are all OK with that in principle. The detail on how we do the fine editing and structuring is what we need to attend to, and I am more than happy to go with your suggestions, as to which version we should be working on.

I will be in meetings till this evening, and then I'll get back to the task!

Many thanks

x28de said

at 9:43 pm on Mar 19, 2009

If you mean "whole" as conceptual unity, I agree. If you mean it as a single questionnare, I don't.

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