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Part 4 Draft 3

Page history last edited by suifaijohnmak 14 years, 11 months ago

I've had another go at this based on the following 4 categories


  • Affordances of technology
  • Personal connectivity
  • Conceptual connectivity
  • Learning 


I hope I'm not confusing everybody with all this brainstorming. My thinking is that if we can agree the categories and the sorts of topics that should be included in each of the categories, then the Likert Scale type statements will be much easier to write. These are my latest suggestions, which I hope you will free to reject if you don't like. The bulleted lists represent the topics for which we might want to write statements


Affordances of technology

  • Ease of posting
  • Speed of response
  • Technical expertise (of course participants)
  • Aggregation (distributed discussion, following discussion and comments)
  • Familiarity with the technology
  • Possibility of including links and images
  • Speed of accessibility
  • Ownership
  • Language
  • Number of possible connections


Personal connectivity

  • Sense of community
  • Strength of relationships (how lasting)
  • Proximity/closeness
  • Inclusive/exclusive relationships
  • Cultural issues
  • Establishing presence/voice
  • Tone of communication (calm, aggressive etc.)
  • Emotion/feelings
  • Collaboration


Conceptual connectivity

  • Location of ideas
  • Diversity of discussion/ideas
  • Speed of conversation
  • Sense of knowing
  • Knowledge creation
  • Quality of ideas



  • Autonomy/control
  • Reflection/action
  • Convergence/divergence
  • Theorist/pragmatist
  • Alternative perspectives
  • Pace
  • Self-expression
  • Freedom of choice
  • Challenge
  • Audience/feedback


That's as far as I've got. If this doesn't make sense to you, do say so. If it does make sense to you, then I still think it would make the questionnaire far too long - so what are the key things we need to find out? Please mess about with this or start a new draft with your ideas. No rush though!


I assembled a concept map visualizing the relationships between these groups and the part 4 questions. (You can also download the Cmap source file and edit it in your own Cmap program.)

From the picture, I see

  1. that some responses apply to more than one of the above property groups (visible by the number links),
  2. and that some responses provide for both the decision pro forum and pro blog (visible by mixed red and green numbers in or adjacent to a box).

(1) is not a problem if the two groups are akin (e. g. Establishing voice vs. Self expression, or Ownership vs. Autonomy, or Alternate Perspectives vs. Diversity. And (2) is not a problem, if the group was bipolar such as Convergence/divergence. But in other cases, does it prohibit the identification of causing factors, and should it be avoided to make the mapping of factors easier? I really don't know, and I am noticing that I suddenly start desiring very simple binary nothing or all structure of the allowed responses, although we have learnt in CCK08 that the world is much more complex than that...


After a while, I see that pro forum and pro blog responses are very unevenly distributed across the 4 categories: That Personal connectivity and Learning are currently more pro blogs, may result from our self-admitted bias which may stop when Roy starts to change the current question collection. But why is forum so strong with the Technological affordances and Conceptual connectivity categories? Have I assigned the groups so wrongly?


And I forgot to mention that I left some groups out of the Cmap because I could not yet match any questions to them: Possibility of including links and images, Language, Cultural issues, Sense of knowing, and Theorist/pragmatist. But my assignment decisions were very arbitrary, and I hope you can correct me.


Basic  Framework or Ontology (in the IS sense) for researching use of blogs/ moodle

I am looking for a connectivist methodology to research connectivism. 


If ... one of the core tenets of connectivism (I paraphrase) is that learning happens when people connect to other actors, nodes, networks, in a dynamic and complex way, which creates a set of dynamic, linked networks (between minds and objects)


Then ... we need to find out how and why people move around the networks, and open/ close/ resonate with/ create discordance with other minds, object and parts of the network (like blogs and moodle discussions).



This is a rough draft of an ontology that is implicit in my own thinking ...

  • Ontology: like John I am very thankful that you are enriching our framework by new aspects that have been previously neglected. This is in any case useful, no matter if we eventually use each of them in the questionnaire. And I like your wonderful wealth of expression that even a foreigner like me must notice!

1. Connectivism is an attempt to theorise, describe and model digital ecologies.


2. An affordance is the capacity for effective action within a dynamic and increasingly digital ecology. Affordances are the product of interactions between actors and their environment, which potentially change the actors and the environment in the process.  [actors = animate and inanimate].


  • Change: It is interesting that you are adding the longitudinal approach (expectations, change) to our current lateral cut (liking or not). We did temporarily think of examining the swappers but did not prosecute this approach.

    If you suppose that people changed their mind during the course and swapped forums for blogs or vice versa, they might be identified by looking closer at posting dates. I uploaded a list of the known cck08 bloggers (cck08bloggers.xls) and identified 82 out of 582 who dropped out of blooging during the 12 weeks, I think it would suffice to look them up in moodle whether they intensified their forums activity then, or if they entirely dropped from the course. Such cases did not catch my eye, but I did not really watch out for them, either.

    It is also interesting that you are asking for the actors' expectations. I had the impression that they were very low with the great majority of the 2000+ participants, I think most of them were like "just see what happens".

  • Like Matthias, I have thought about the switching of the 4 categories: Lurkers (LPP or Legitimate Peripheral Participants, Bloggers, Moodlers, Bloggers and Moodlers.  We could use a Concept Map or Social Network Diagram to trace the changes (if we could "identify" them) throughout the whole course, and see how people 'morph' through. 

  • For me, I started as Moodlers (though I have my private blog before the course started, but wasn't sure what the course was about).  After the serious debate and seeming competition amongst participants, I turned into Moodlers & Bloggers (with more focus), then stay on with this mode until the end of the course.  After the course, I turned back to Blogger and developed into the existing (Ning, Wiki, Facebook and Community & other Web2.0 tools).

  • For other participants, there are various possibilities, and so a trend history may reveal the HOW such changes occur, whereas if we like, we could include this HOW to complement the questions on WHY (survey - on the reasons for preference between Moodler versus Blogger).  Don't know if this is OVERLOADING the survey or not.  So, for active participants (the 3 categories -  excludining the lurkers?), it may be interesting to see the dynamics of changes (the digital ecology under constant CHANGES) of these participants (or ACTORS).  And I think we could only trace the pattern (out of the ontology), just like capturing the pictue in a video, and thus only be able to describe the CHANGES that relate to the WHY AND HOW patterns.


3. A digital ecology is, importantly, more than just a virtual ecology, as although it is substantially shaped by global digital networks, it is equally shaped by whats 'on the ground': digital actors - people, tools, machines, architecture, which also operate off-line.


4. Identity: your identity is a repertoire of affordances, and its part of what intelligent actors maintain for themselves.


5. Affordances: Examples of affordances offered by social software in various technologies (or digital niches in which to practice or prosecute them) might include all the above (top of page) and ... thoughts in progress, recorded conversations, communities of inquiry and practice, knowledge building, networking, fun, entertainment, etc. 


6. Concepts: Connectivism is not only about connections between people or minds but also between the concepts in their minds. And this is not "between minds and objects" because concepts and knowledge in connectivism are explicitly not to be treated as things. I think this aspect of concepts, although now and then shortly affirmed in George's presentations, has been too much neglected due to the fascination and novelty of the "pipes more important than content" approach which was vastly mistaken for the corridors and capillars between people/ actors and other actors and objects.


I resonate with Matthias on this.  I think when it comes to "deep learning", there must be CROSS POLLINATION (a metaphor that I just like to use) (or the crossing of the concepts in our minds AND understanding the overlapping and distinct areas) to bear fruits (NEW KNOWLEDGE AND DEEP LEARNING).  This is similar to what we are trying to do here and our research into the topics. 

To treat learning as equating to knowledge may lead to the notion that it is between minds and objects or knowledge source only (and it sounds contradictory to the saying that it is not about the acquisition of knowledge as mentioned by George and Stephen).  So, at the later part of the course, George asserted that it was about ONTOLOGY (LEARNING TO BE).  But, again this must be defined precisely what it means - the pipe again?

 I have highlighted that in my blog post: http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com What is New about Connectivism - that it is about the connection of our brain with other's brain or information sources (i.e.  What's in our Mind,our concepts THAT NEEDS to connect with others' etc.).  But that it really must be related back to us individually about what happens to OUR BRAIN in terms of connections and changes (the neuroscience or Connectionism approach), when we say we have learnt.  Otherwise, such learning may be short lived, (like the dog which could salivate when stimulated - or the stimulus - response based on behavourism - which is manipulated learning, or rote learning only)  Also, I am not sure whether the pipes are more important than content in this regard.  The pipe (may be the stimulate - all these Web2.0, technology) or the thinking of thinking (metacognition skills).  For me of course it should be the metacognition skills, but for some others, would they be thinking of Web 2.0?  I am not sure!  Roy, you may have insights on this from ACT view. John



Some ideas on the phases we might use to structure the research 


1. Pre-MOOC: your default set of affordances ...

Which affordances were important parts of your repertoire before the course?

[This might translate into a hypothetical qustion like ...Would you agree with the statement: "I can't do without blogging every day"?]

How and where did you practice them? [practice as in ‘professional practice’]

Which if any of these affordances were specific to particular platforms, forums, practices, networks, spaces (human, ICT, meta-networks: blogs, MOOCs, forums, etc)?

And how and why?


2. On arrival

Which affordances did you expect to be able to practice on the MOOC?

Which if any specific platforms, forums, practices, networks, spaces (human, informatics, meta-networks) did you expect would enable you to practice/ extend these affordances, or explore and master new affordances?

And how and why?


3. In the MOOC

What platforms, forums, practices, networks did you use at the start, for which affordances?

Were these useful, successful, disastrous, frustrating, challenging?  

Did you change strategy?

What did you change to?

And how and why?



4. Post-MOOC

What affordances are now important in your repertoire?

What’s changed – additions, deletions, parked, created, mastered affordances?

And how and why did these changes happen?



We could scrap all the phases except #3, but I think part of what 'connectivist' research needs to capture and describe is how participants' capacity changes as they engage with the MOOC, and with the capillaries and corridors within, and linked to the MOOC - it would be interesting to track 'inside' and 'outside' traffic too, although that might be restricted to just knowing 'that' people went 'off-screen' at specific times. 



In the real world of getting this research done, it might be possible to use a framework as broad as this, but nevertheless to emphasise that we are particularly interested in  'shifts between blogs and forums'.



Comments (15)

x28de said

at 5:06 am on Mar 4, 2009

I like it more than all previous ones. In fact, I like it very much. It's a pity that on Tuesday night I am out (I can't miss the choir rehearsal since the other bass is on vacation and we are only 2.)

suifaijohnmak said

at 8:53 am on Mar 4, 2009

Jenny, this is great. I like it too. I am thinking about: Personal Connection - communication - listening (as cited by Heli), and Learning - will Audience/feedback be covering responsiveness (under feedback) and reciprocity (especially in blog) (as you mentioned). How about in learning - relationship with instructors and others?
How about the assessment component? Do we need to include it under Learning? I notice that most bloggers (nearly all credit learners plus some non credit learners (Ken, Jenny, Matthias, Adrian, Frances) have posted their assessment on blog), not on Forum. Only one credit learner (Sia) posted her assignment on Forum. Can we conclude that Formal Assessment would be based on bloggers? Would this may be implied in the course assessment requirements? George mentioned that participants could post it on any platforms they prefer.

Jenny Mackness said

at 9:03 pm on Mar 5, 2009

I think the concept map is amazing Matthias - thanks so much - it looks like a lot of hard work. I need some time to study it and will get back to you later.

Jenny Mackness said

at 6:59 am on Mar 6, 2009

Hi John
Assessment - I forgot abou that - definitely worht thinking about :-)

Jenny Mackness said

at 6:59 am on Mar 6, 2009

Sorry about the awful typing!

suifaijohnmak said

at 8:09 pm on Mar 6, 2009

Matthias, your concept map is fabulous. I could open it but couldn't edit, and it requires downloading of some programs from Window for edit. I won't download those programs from internet, as I am afraid of any virus from unknown source. Your concept map could be used as the framework on a "Connectivism model" towards the use of Blog/Moodle. I need some time to study how the various parts work. I may need to draw up a concept myself to visualise the relationships amongst those categories and topics as well if time permits.

I remember that there has been numerous posts on the General Forum on Moodle that discuss Blog/Forum, I will re-visit and analyse the Moodle forum there. Jenny and Matthias, have you checked them out already?
Also, there were some discussion in the Facebook of CCK08 and other means or platforms - such as the students assignments, the last projects developed that might also have covered some of the points we raised here in this research (explicitly and implicitly). May be better to linked them to our references.
A Concept Map (that traces all these source of information) and the related category may also help. I thought Matthias and I could concentrate on this area, but Jenny and Roy would you please let us know if that is important or not.

x28de said

at 9:15 pm on Mar 6, 2009

Thanks! Perhaps I should emphasize that this Cmap does not yet contain any of my own ideas or judgements but merely summarize the question and topic texts.

Technically, I only used the Cmap tool of http://ihmc.us/ which is certainly trustworthy and was recommended and used in CCK08, as well.

If you want to make annotations to the JPG file, do it in any manner that suits you, for instance, open it in Paint (Start > Programs > Accessoriies) and scribble into it. We could also try a collaborative mindmanager toool such as Mindmeister, but I am not sure if this would make the collaboration environment unnecessarily complex.

suifaijohnmak said

at 9:27 pm on Mar 6, 2009

Thanks Matthias, I will try your suggestions.

suifaijohnmak said

at 10:12 pm on Mar 6, 2009

You may also find these from Nardi etal (2004a) See add reference on Ethnographic Study of bloggin..
How several objects motivated bloggers to blog:
- updating others on their activities or whereabouts
- expressing opinion to influence or persuade others
- seeking outside opinions and feedback
- thinking by writing
- relasing emotional tension

suifaijohnmak said

at 10:14 pm on Mar 6, 2009

You may also find these from Nardi etal (2004a) See added reference on Ethnographic Study of bloggin..http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/261227.html
How several objects motivated bloggers to blog:
- updating others on their activities or whereabouts
- expressing opinion to influence or persuade others
- seeking outside opinions and feedback
- thinking by writing
- releasing emotional tension

suifaijohnmak said

at 10:22 pm on Mar 6, 2009

More from Nardi:
Thinking as writing
Limited blogging interactivity
-weblog served as a "refuge from the intense interaction of other forms of communication"
- Blog post - likened to a "monologue" where other voices cannot intrude
Blogging as a social activity
- friends urging friends to blog (I remember Jenny was urged by Keith, Mike and others to continue blogging :-) and even I was encouraged by Keith and others to continue...:-), and Matthias - I think you are just a long time blogger, an inspiration for me!
- readers letting bloggers know that they are ready for a post (I did let forum members know that when I first started my own blog in CCK08)
- bloggers crafted posts with their audience in mind (Lisa mentioned the importance of crafting, Jenny has discussed this in your blog, I have also written posts on blogging - using fishing as an analogy)
- bloggers continuing conversations across multiple media platforms, outside their weblog (Mike mentioned that in his latest response to Jenny)

suifaijohnmak said

at 10:26 pm on Mar 6, 2009

And last on Nardi again.
The blog is not a closed world, but part of a larger communication space in which diverse media and face to face communication, may be brough to bear.

Our research leads us to speculate that blogging is as much about reading as writing, as much about listening as talking. (This relates to our focus on those research topics on writing and listening)

dustcube said

at 9:12 pm on Mar 9, 2009

Hi, I am coming at this late in the day, so this might not be helpful, but see what you think.

I think the interesting questions are about the interaction betweeen the participants and the CCK08 environment / micro-ecology, and about the process of engagement in this micro-ecology as a whole. So I dont know if we can divide the participants, as variables, into blogger and moodlers, for no other reason than I think people move between blogs, forums, wikis, emails, etc, depending on wha they are or are not achieving in whatever domain they happen to be in.

The only way I can make sens of the research question is to
1. Try to make explicit my tacit ontology (in the IS sense) of the research domain.
2. Find a way to first ask participants what they were trying to DO, and only then ask them what they were using to do this.

So what follows is a (possibly overtheorised) attemp to outline an ontology for CCK08 as a research domain, with some examples of affordances. I must say that the list of affordances at the top of the page looks better and more systematic, and I will come back to the list to see if I can interact and add to it, usefully. And the concept map is a very useful way to explore the affordances, and organise them.

Following that, I would be interested in what changed during CCK08, and there is a before/on arrival/ in / post-MOOC outline of process which might be able to inform the questions we ask the participants. In each case I have tried to start with questions which are amenable to Likert/ multiple choice type questions, so that the answers can be aggregated. But I have also included in each of the four process phases one more open ended question, about how and why.

See the document which I am going to try to attach or post in some way (watch this space).

suifaijohnmak said

at 11:01 pm on Mar 9, 2009

It's wonderful to learn your views. I found your insights really helpful, adding new dimensions to our learning. I greatly appreciate all these thoughtful discussion with us.

x28de said

at 5:55 am on Mar 10, 2009

once again thank you for enriching our the discussion1 On a technical note, if you need help to include the document you mentioned: You might expect to find an attachment feature like in forums. Here, you may use the "Upload files" button in the upper right instead. It is not too important to craft a hyperlink referencing the file, because we see it as a new activity in the lower right.

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