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Part 4 Draft 2

Page history last edited by Jenny Mackness 15 years, 2 months ago

Continuing with our discussion about how to group the Part 4 questions into categories. Matthias - you have suggested (and I was alredy coming to this conclusion) that our questions should be grouped into categories that relate to the principles of connectivism. This makes perfect sense to me and I am wondering whether we should use Stephen's 4 principles of connectivism - Autonomy, Diversity, Openess and Connectedness as our headings. Would your ideas Matthias (from your email of Feb 26th) fit into these categories. Would we be able to to come up with 5 or more key questions for each category (I don't think the questionnaire should be too long?) I'll just type in the 4 headings below and we can start adding statements. I need time to think about this and also go back and read what Stephen has said.

  • I have spent quite some time trying to move the questions around and connecting them to the 6 headings of Flynn or to the 4 headings of Stephen, but I have been unsuccessful for tonight. I struggled most with Flynn's "Differing perspectives", "Collaboration", "Dialogue", and with Stephen's "Openness" and "Diversity" (= "differing perspectives"?). I don't doubt that they are important concepts, but maybe they don't differ much with forums and blogs? For me, categories of personal vs. conceptual were easier to distinguish. 


I have just been reading some of your blog posts about cognitive styles Matthias, and I agree that we still have some work to do to sort out these categories of questions so that we get as much as we can from a questionnaire. I am just exploring Stephen's categories below - not because I am wedded to them. Simply to think about them a bit further and see where this thinking leads.



Autonomy - are the individual nodes of the networks autonomous. In a community, this means, do people make their own decisions about goals and objectives? Do they choose their own software, their own learning outcomes? If they are in the network, and function within the network, merely because they are managed - because they're told to be in the network and told what to do in the network - then they are merely proxies, and not autonomous agents. proxies do not produce new knowledge. Autonomous agents, however, do. http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2009/02/connectivist-dynamics-in-communities.html


(Also one of Soini and Flynn's categories). Questions arising from this might be - to what extent blogs/forums enable autonomy in determining personal learning outcomes. I think this relates also to technological affordances, in that people might have made a choice between blogs and forums, wishing for greater or lesser autonomy, based on their perceptions of what the different technologies can offer. And related to autonomy - can we also ask questions about preferred learning styles, in that people choose a blog or forum on the basis of perceived affordances of divergent/convergent learning, reflective/active learning and so on. Or is this contrived? Stephen's categories are characteristics of learning networks and this might be why they are difficult to use when we are focussing on peope's learning and their perceptions.



Diversity - are the members of the network significantly different from each other. Do they have distinct sets of connections? Do they enter into different states, or have different physical properties? Are they at different locations? In a community, this means, do people speak different languages, come from different cultures, have different point of view, make different software selections, access different resources? If everybody does the same thing, then nothing new is generated by their interacting with each oother; but if they are diverse, then their participation in the network produces new knowledge




(This relates to Soini and Flynn's differing perspectives and John's comments about cultural differences. It also takes account of technological affordances) 

 Questions here might relate to whether people feel more comfortable in blogs or forums, whether they are seeking to find people similar to themselves and their cultural understandings/values or whether they are looking for differences, and their perceptions of where it is easier to do this. 



Openness - does communication flow freely within and without the network, is there ease of joining (and leaving) the network? In a community, this means, are people able to communicate with each other, are they easily able to join the community, are they easily able to participate in community activities? In practice, what one will observe of an open community is that there are no clear boundaries between membership and non-membership, that there are different ranges of participation, from core group interaction through to occasional posting to reading and lurking behaviour. If a community is open, then it sustains a sufficient flow of information to generate new knowledge, but if it is closed, this flow stagnates, and no new information is generated.



(I don't think this relates to any of Soini and Flynn's categories, but does it relate to your category of conceptual connections Matthias?) Questions here might relate to people's perceptions of whether blogs or forums are more or less inclusive, whether new information is generated more effectively in blogs or forums. 



Interactivity and Connectedness - is the knowledge produced in the network produced as a result of the connectedness, as opposed to merely being propagated by the connectedness? If a signal is merely sent from one person to the next to the next, no new knowledge is generated. Rather, in a community that exhibits connectivist dynamics, knowledge is not merely distributed form one person to another, but is rather emergent from the communicative behaviour of the whole. The knowledge produced by the community is unique, it was possessed by no one person prior to the formation or interaction in the community. Such knowledge will very likely be complex, representing not simple statements of fact or principle, but rather, will reflect a community response to complex phenomena.



(This might relate to Soini and Flynn's categories of collaboration and Dialogue and your categories Matthias of connections between concepts and between people) Questions here whether it is easier to communicate, have a conversation, collaborate, learn, in a blog or a forum.


Having worked through these four categories, I'm not sure that they help as there seems to be overlap between them and because they were thought up by Stephen as characteristics of networks rather than characteristics of people within networks. I will have to think about this some more. Hope these musings help a little and don't just serve to confuse even further.

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