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Part 4 Draft 4

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

This is not a Daft 4 as such, but my thinking towards a possible Daft 4. I am very excited by Matthias' concept map (is this the emotional element of online communciation?)


It seems to me that we are really getting there now. I think the concept map could be regarded as the first stage of our analysis. I think we may need to revise this concept map slightly as I think 2 stages are missing.


1. We need Roy's perspective from the point of view of a person who communicated mainly through the forums. What do you think of our statements Roy? What would you dispute or add?


2. We need to go through the blogs and look for reference to preferences between blogging and posting to forums. All the statements I have drawn up are from my reading of the forums and my own personal perspectives (how biased is that :-))


Once we have this data, then we can amend the concept map to give us 4 hypotheses. I think (if I have understood Matthias correctly) the hypotheses are likely to be something like:


1. Bloggers are more concerned with personal connections (and all that entails)  than moodlers

2. Bloggers are more explicitly concerned with learning  (and all that entails) than moodlers

3. Moodlers are more concerned with making conceptual connections (and all that entails) than bloggers

4. Moodlers  are more likely to make decisions on the basis of technological affordances than bloggers


We can refine these hypotheses as we go along - But once we have our hypotheses (which I don't think is very far off now), we can design our Likert Style Questionnaire.


Thinking about the questionnaire - I am now beginning to think that we maybe don't need Parts 1 and 2. I am very concerned about putting people off with a questionnaire that is too long. A short questionnaire that gives us both qualitative and quantitative data, would probably be enough. I'm now not sure that the data from Parts 1 and 2 would add anything to the research - What do you think?


Within the questionnaire we could also ask for permission to quote from the forums and blogs and that might be enough to produce a good research paper. I am keen not to get swamped by data (so much so that we 'lose the plot' and 'can't see the wood for the trees'). This has been my experience on a recent research project which was a bit of a nightmare!


If you agree with this thinking then this is the action we need to take.


1. Roy to check the bias in our current thinking

2. John and me (or all) to hunt through blogs to see if there's any reference to preferences for blogging or forums

3. All of us to feedback to Matthias who can update the concept map?

4. All to work on drafting the questionnaire


What do you think? Is this too bossy? I have to hold my own as the only woman on this team! :-)


(At this point, see the first 9 comments below.)


I uploaded a Cmap showing the Jenny's above hypothesis candidates ("...concerned with..."), plus John's and my additions, as far as I have understood them. Click here.




I hope we don't have red-green-blind people among us since the map heavily depends on the color coding of the various aspects, and I think it is now more evident that the lower left and upper right are not entirely pro bloggers and pro moodlers, resp.


Matthias, I just love what you have done.  This is an excellent Concept Map.  It clearly articulates the concepts.  I must learn to do one....  Thanks, I'l try to write down some tricks soon (done).


I am still confused about the category of conceptual connections. For example in John's number 3, I am struggling with "analyse" and "holistc" (..."classifying the different parts of it to analyse the constituents. The Moodlers are expecting a "holistic" concept maps"...). I see holistic more as a contrast to analytic.

I think the bloggers would like to classify the different parts of it (connections with readers or information sources), (just like what we are doing now) and then analyse the constituents (ideas behind the readers and information sources) and check these constituents through critical thinking - are these based on facts or opinions, are these logical or irrational etc.).  The Moodlers would like to consolidate the different information sources (views of individual posters or commenters and links to other blogs or articles, etc.) to form holistic concept maps, trying to relate these in their mind in one picture - similar to pattern recognition - that knowledge based on the formation of the parts.

  • Holistic vs. analyzer: Great that you had so much patience with me. I just did not want to admit that the polarity can be seen this way, as well, because I am a blogger and I think I am more holistc than analyzer. Now I come to understand that you cannot be non-holistic and a stubbornly focussed analyzer if you like to engage in any social knowledge environment.

    Obviously, holistic means different things to different types of people (and that is probably also the reason why the early cognitive styles research was not so successful): John made plausibly the case for multi-domain interests being holistic, and I still have problems to describe the "big picture" how bloggers like it, and to articulate what I mean by the wide contexts and long-distance connections I mentioned in my 11:56 pm on Mar 1, 2009 comment on Part 4: questionnaire

    • "moodlers are more CONvergent thinkers who love to bring numerous topics to the table that are strongly tied and obviously related, and love to have all the aspects in one spatio-temporal place.
    • Bloggers, OTOH, are IMO DIVergent thinkers, who like to relate to more distantly related, distributed ideas, and the conceptual connections are initially weak getting stronger by reflection."

(emphasis added). I think I must also give up the divergent/convergent polarity and admit that people engaged in social media probably all have both traits?


  • Matthias, I agree with your comment that
    • "moodlers are more CONvergent thinkers who love to bring numerous topics to the table that are strongly tied and obviously related, and love to have all the aspects in on spatio-temporal place.
    • Bloggers, OTOH, are IMO DIVergent thinkers, who like to relate to more distantly related, distributed ideas, and the conceptual connections are initially weak getting stronger by reflection."
    • You think you are more holistic than an analyser.  I think you are excellent both in the holistic integration, based on your drawing of the concept maps (a holistic integration) and in analysing (through this reflective analysis) of each of the ideas presented. 
    • I think we have many common interesting concepts: both you, Jenny? Roy? and me (as bloggers) are divergent thinkers, and at the start, each of us have our own conceptual maps but they are not fully connected to each others as yet in this research (am I correct?).  
    • Based on this "forum type discussion and sharing" and Blogger type of "comments" style of connections, we reflected on our concept maps and gradually found the common and different concepts (i.e. those overlapping areas and our distinct differing concepts or thoughts).  These emerged out of your developed concept map here in the pbwiki (which incorporated those suggested ideas/concepts found in Forum, Blogs, and other information sources). 
    • EUREKA! I think we have found the emergent knowledge that unless we connect, and explore together what's in our mind (our own concept maps - perceptions, knowldege, attitudes, feelings, emotions, etc. ), and share it with others, we may not be able to understand what's in each other's mind (i.e. other's concept maps - perceptions, knowledge, attitudes, feelings, emotions etc.). 
    • This sound easy in concept, but exceptionally difficult given that people (even educators) on the internet are coming from different backgrounds, and not everyone is willing to share their concept maps to that degree (due to limited openness and information and technology issues such as communication (language barriers), and access to technology and skills level in the use of tools etc.)).  But we could do it here because we have developed from a "weak" to a "strong" connection based on CCK08 experience and we have carried over this to our research here.  Comment?
    • We are also exhibiting the traits of DIVIGENT thinkers in this Forum type of discussion, where we share our ideas and concepts more fully, but are also looking at the overall pattern emerged as a result of connections and discussion.  Surely, in this pbwiki, we love to bring numerous topics to the table that are strongly tied and related, and love to have all the aspects in one spatial - temporal space - Are we MOODLERS too? 
    • I would like to learn the views of Roy and Jenny on CONVERGENCE AND DIVERGENCE
    • I would also like to explore if people in social media have both traits of divergent/convergent polarity.  8/3/09 John

For the last sentence in #3, I have difficulties with my English:  ..."through sieving through "logics" from "intuition" in the concept build up."

I mean using a logical basis instead of an intuitive basis (the gut feeling) in the reflection process.  The blogger may draft his/her post based on intuition & logic, but it's the whole process of reflection in writing (or thinking) (with or without conversation with others) that could help the blogger to differentiate what is logical from those intuitive ones.  I am not sure if I have made it clearer. Yes, thanks,


And "passive": I don't think bloggers are not actively concerned with conceptual connections. Just with a different type. If passive is meant as reflective, it is ok.

I mean passive for bloggers as compared with Moodlers. 

(1)  For bloggers, they may have to wait for others (that is not "controlled by the bloggers) to provide comments or feedback.  So, when it comes to cross domain knowledge acquisition, the blogger may not be aware of the perspectives from another angle until someone from a social/political perspectives have commented on their blogs.  Moodlers, however, could approach the particular post/thread in the forum which deal with the social/political perspectives, in which they could associate with other Moodlers who have common interests.  That's what I would relate to with an active role in seeking conceptual connection. 

(2) Examples: When I joined in the Moodle forum discussion, I selected those posts which relate to my interests (may or may not be outside my domain).  I was expecting some conceptual connections in certain domains which I have/haven't known much (i.e. may be outside my areas or comfort zone).  As a Moodler, I would take an active role in building those connections outside my domain (as my specialisation is in vocational education and training and supply chain, I would like to know more about liberal arts subjects such as history, politics and sociology.  I think this would widen my knowledge horizon, and that's why I participated in the history of networks forum. 

(3) As a Blogger, I would write up a post that may normally be within my domain, and based on my knowledge and experience.  As I have limited knowledge in history, politics and sociology, I would only create posts on those subjects after learning and researching through other posts or information sources.  In this respect, the bloggers may be active in learning through such a research process, but may be passive in building up the cross domain concept maps due to their limited knowledge.  So they may have to "wait" for the feedback of those having perspectives in history, politics and sociology to comment on their posts, or to carrying out extensive research on other bloggers in order to gain new insights - this to me is the passive role for the comment and active role for the extensive research.  I might have used active and passive literally, but in both cases, the Bloggers and Moodlers are learning.  Thanks for reminding me of the roles.

(4) I agree that passive is reflective too.  

  • You convinced me that there is something to the blogger behaviour that suggests the term "passive" even beyond "reflective". One aspect is the "wait". (Recently in a presentation about Web2.0 I was looking for a picture for the "front porch" metaphore of blogs and selected this one http://www.flickr.com/photos/9998561@N04/2905439101/ where the blogger obviously waits for comments). But the impression of more waiting is not only due to conceptual differences but also due to our recurring theme of pace and speed.

    Another aspect is that Moodler actively "associate with other Moodlers who have common interests",  but this also goes beyond conceptual connections and affects personal ones. When you combine all these effects, the "front porch" blogger is indeed more passive than the forum/ market place/ shopping mall Moodler.  Yes, fully agreed John 8/3/09

    When analyzing the cycle of active and passive postings and replies/ comments, we must not forget that in most cases the initial blog post is also a reply of some sort that connects to some thought in some distant web page or article. Perhaps this initial connection is also characteristc for blogs, which is initially a weak connection that strengthenes through reflections and comments. In contrast, Moodlers perhaps prefer to multiplicate (? accumulate, increase the number of) connections?

  • I agree with all of your points above.  "This initial connection is also characteristic for blogs, which is initially a weak connection that strengthens through reflections, and comments".  That is how you, Jenny and I have developed into strong connections.  Moodlers prefer to multiplicate connections ,or increase the number of connections, and looking for diverse perspectives.  That's how Roy and I were/are connected.  Roy - is it?  That's also what I was trying to do in the forum, to learn from different people their perspectives apart from those of George and Stephen.  Learning about their concept maps and relating them to mine as discussed earlier.  John 8/3/2009 


For the moodlers forming conceptual connections actively, from "multi-faceted" "contexts", this suggests convergent thinking, right? Yes


Some of the characteristics attributed to bloggers by Nardy and Glenn don't convince me since I think they equally apply to other social software users (social activity, diverse audience) or apply even more to forums (persuade, release emotional tensions), and these articles don't contrast blogging against specific other ones.

I agree.  This is just a comparison of the blogger versus forum posters.  There are common themes amongst bloggers and Moodlers.  And sometimes it is not possible to generalise even from analysis, as each of us perceive them differently under different situations, and contexts.  For example, is the course a social activity?  We seldom discuss this, but it could be, if someone is looking for friendship or relationship as well in the forum or in the blog.   This is especially true for bloggers, where they are actively engaged as part of the social blogosphere (or even the ecology).  Let's look at Nancy White, I think she has more interests in building up the social aspects through the Community of Practice.


That may be the reason why some participants left, as their intention might be for sociable, rather than educational or learning reasons.  I think there are many other participants who didn't continue due to lack of time, or might have found this course too theoretical, not practical, or a lack of interest, or not meeting their social needs etc.  This is just my speculation. A different survey might reveal this.  This is outside our scope.


I am amongst the one in favour of both forum and blogging.  So, we could draw up our own views, in addition to those found from previous researches. Also, it's good to test the hypothesis using a survey as a validation tool. 


I realise that I could explain in greater detail here, though I hope you could bear with me on my lengthy clarification.  Is it too much explanation? Have I explained my points appropriately?

Comments (11)

Jenny Mackness said

at 7:24 am on Mar 6, 2009

Matthias - if I've completely misunderstood your concept map - then you must say!

x28de said

at 8:54 am on Mar 6, 2009

I am afraid that you understood my map MORE correctly than I did ! I am realizing only now that the green/ red dominance in the four corners really suggest what you are summarizing. But I don't want to believe hypothesis candidates #1 and #3, and my intention was not yet to find hypotheses but to ask how the different factors could be better isolated.

I think the current predominance of red/ green in the Personal/ Conceptual connections corners, is a result of the current selection of questions which is still incomplete, or/and my misassignment of the questions to the topic boxes. I expect that we will end up with nearly as many red boxes as green boxes in both of these corners.

Today I had another look at the statements in the table of Jenny's public blog posting http://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/blogs-and-forums-2/ and I think there are three statement that already challenge the current weights:
- "There is more crafting of writing" and "There is less posturing and pontification" (in blogs) which belongs to the upper right Quality topic,
- and "There is more sparring/challenge" that belongs somewhere to the lower left "Personal" relationships, even though there is not yet a suitable separate box. If we find the appropriate heading, then I would also add questions 72-74 and 24 there, because IMO this enjoying of sparring is more personal than conceptual.

x28de said

at 10:38 am on Mar 6, 2009

I have to correct myself, questions 72 and 24 have something in common with sparring/lively/challenging but are nor personal. For "challenging", I may misunderstand the English word http://dict.leo.org/ende?lp=ende&lang=de&searchLoc=0&cmpType=relaxed&sectHdr=on&spellToler=on&chinese=both&pinyin=diacritic&search=herausfordern&relink=on .
I suspect that both personal and conceptual connections are important for both moodlers and bloggers, but bloggers prefer more "long-distance", wide-context connections while moodlers prefer spatio-temporally closer, close-context, rapd-fire connetions.

suifaijohnmak said

at 1:28 pm on Mar 6, 2009

Relating Jenny's hypotheses
1. Bloggers have little control over who would like to be connected with when they start posting on blog - target audience or connections may be anyone in or out of the course (except when they response to comments or comment on other blogs). Moodlers have more control over who they would like to be connected with, once they post them on th e Moodle forum (in form of question and/or comment), as the target audience or connections would be within the "interest groups", and for all responses, Moodlers would be responding to the thread and would like to connect with the previous thread Moodler (poster) or connect to that group in forum via comments (in response to the initial posts)
Would Bloggers be more focussed on their personal needs? Moodlers be more focussed on others needs (based on personal experience and reflections) and thus provide feedback?
2. Blogger are more concerned about personal learning - through reflection and practice. Based on other people's comment and feedback, bloggers may "argue" or "accept" others views and redefine the meaning & knowledge, but it is many to one (blogger). Moodlers are more concerned about learning with others - how others' perceptions are different from theirs, and could add value to one's and group's learning. It is many perspectives exposed to the Moodler and the Moodler response to either one other Moodler or many Moodlers - ie. many to one (in terms of perspectives) and one to many (feedback on ones' perspectives)

suifaijohnmak said

at 1:29 pm on Mar 6, 2009

3. Moodlers are more interested and ACTIVE in "sensing" via hearing, seeing, and feeling the patterns of knowledge out of the context, and build up conceptual maps in minds that cross check with their experiences. These will be like viewing a photo or picture and classifying the different parts of it to analyse the constituents. The Moodlers are expecting a "holistic" concept maps be built based on those connections in a forum, with addition of knowledge and skills (if there are links to other blogs or information sources). So, the concept maps developed by Moodlers could be more multi-faceted and across domain for Moodlers.
Bloggers may be taking a more PASSIVE role in the building up of such concept maps, and the formation of the maps may be linear. Bloggers might prefer to construct concept maps based on the "critical thinking & reflection" through sieving through "logics" from "intuition" in the concept build up.
4. Moodlers tend to trust groups' views and may prefer to make decisions AFTER consideration of others view (more democratic oriented). Bloggers tend to trust their own 'intuition" and may be more confident in making their own decisions, with others' views for refinement only.

suifaijohnmak said

at 4:40 pm on Mar 6, 2009

Reference to Blogging to Learn by Anne Bartlett-Brag
Academic blogs - Glenn (2003) comments that some of the arguments in favour of blogging, cited by academics are
- freedom of tone
- opportunity to interact with diverse audience
- speed of feedback
Learning journal
Reflective learning can be inferred as a process to achieve deep learning in which learners stand back from an experience, seek out connections between concepts, and contextualise meaning (Rosie 2000)
Boud (2001:9) journal writing for learning can be used to
- capture an experience
- record an event
- explore our feelings
- make sense of what we know
Primarily intended for our own use, but sometimes for others to read, the journal is a tool for creating meaning and context from events and experiences - leading the learner towards creating new meanings and further enhancing their ability to contextualise and progress towards self-directed and deep learning.
Should we include the above statements into our research questionnaire for validation?

x28de said

at 9:02 pm on Mar 6, 2009

John, what a wealth of great new aspects, distinctions, and question phrasings! Although they blur our current category borders, I am confident that they eventually help sharpen the emerging new boundaries. I'll try to integrate them in another map during the weekend.

suifaijohnmak said

at 10:33 pm on Mar 6, 2009

Please refer to some points highlighted in part 3 - I mentioned about the key points in Ethnographic Study of Blogging - http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/261227.html
How several ojects motivated bloggers to blog: (I repeat these below)
- 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
These could be used as part of the questionnaire (and Cmaps)
I am sure lots of blog posts have mentione the above using various ways (I am sure my blog posts on reasons for blogging have covered all the five points - just in different wordings) How about you Matthias and Jenny?

suifaijohnmak said

at 10:48 pm on Mar 6, 2009

Jenny, I love your approach. I think we are all passionate "leaders" and 'motivators".

Roy: I must admit that we have become close friends in the forum, so much to share there! And that we have taken up a lot of "space"....And when it was the end of the CCK08, I was wondering whether we would have another opportunity to collaborate or not. What a great connection here again! Don't know how you feel about it! :-)

Jenny, we have this shared leadership, and I will work extra hard to ensure this research to achieve great success and a sure win for us all. As I have discussed with Jenny, I am even confident in starting to write up paper NOW. I am used to writing papers. One of the main papers for a Quality Award was written within a few days, and we got the Achievement of Quality Award. I have to work until 3:00 am to meet the deadlines on that occasion. But for this project, I will do it progressively. If you like me to start drafting the paper, please advise. Quite a fun!
How about you: Jenny, Matthias and Roy? Are we "too pushy"? I like to know if it is OK for us.

x28de said

at 7:20 am on Mar 7, 2009

> Are we "too pushy":
Well, I think we should not yet start writing up. Frankly I thought of suggesting the opposite and asking Roy if we should pause a lttle to give him a chance to catch up.

suifaijohnmak said

at 10:57 am on Mar 7, 2009

Matthias, Many thanks for your feedback. I agree. I think what we have done so far has already paved the way towards the writing of the paper, but we should not start writing up. We would like to pause a little to give Roy a chance to catch up. Good.

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