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CCK08 Failing?

October 31, 2008


I wonder how many are left actively participating and/or monitoring the CCK08 course.  Some 2100+ allegedly originally registered, with 18 seeking credit. The Moodle forums have been drying up over the last 3 weeks, and the reported blogs trickle to a few postings during the week and some repetitious posting of the same in the Daily.  Elluminate sessions run at less than 30 participants, down to the teens on one occasion.  I don’t know the status of the 2nd Life group nor whether there is participation in any other areas.

A forced moodle subscription attracted less than 80 participants (several posted more than once) and the forced subscription was removed in less than 24 hours after very mixed reviews.

The 18 credit learners, to be expected, are still quite active.  What I wonder is, did 2000 original particpants leave the course or are some still involved?  Does someone have a handle on this?  What is the feeling about the success or failure of this course?


From → Uncategorized

  1. Thank you for the question. It makes me feel safe to reveal both my ignorance and my interest. I work at a private nonprofit online university. I see this course as professional development that supports an interest I have had since the CBT days of the 1980s. I have been absorbing what I can when I can, and I have found myself interested in many angles from philosophical and pedagogical theories to concept maps and internet tools. I listen to meetings and videos after the fact for the most part.

    There could be quite a few lurkers like myself on the periphery who are as engaged by the many voices as I am, but whose presence is otherwise not “counted”. A foundational reading for me was Bonnie Stewart on techknowledge. The whole MOOC experience has been decidedly rich, and as much as anything else, a gathering of resources for further future study.

    The “illusion of power” experiment amused me as I am watching my own organization struggle with forcing or otherwise developing participation in learning communities/creepy treehouses. The interactivity that we are missing shows plainly in the MOOC, but my organization is stuck with “scalable” assessment, so student engagement must not result in students actually helping each other very much. I see Connectivism as a great counterargument to the plagiarism nonsense afforded by such tools as TaskStream. Who “owns” a coherent, accurate and short explanation of The Law of Large Numbers?

    I look forward to a MOOC on Critical Thinking (if a MOOC is what Stephen has in mind).

    Thanks to all.

  2. I have to be honest, some of Stephen’s reactions and comments put me off. Then work got very insanely busy, and since I am not taking the class for credit, I had to let it go a bit.

    I’m interested in having a real dialogue, but I get the impression it’s really not ok to disagree, or come at this topic with an eye to practical application. And I just don’t have time right now for that aggravation.

  3. Just had to reply! Is anyone else still out there? Good question.

    Actually, Stephen’s Daily email with the list of harvested posts is an indication that some folks are still blogging and tagging entries as several are listed every day.

  4. lisahistory permalink

    I have been thinking about this for some time, as I note fewer and fewer participating in the course in the Moodle forum and synchronous sessions, so let me take a stab at an early critique of the course structure.

    The running around, getting your own PLE set up environment of the first week or two may have been confusing, but it was exciting for many. I think people expected the class to practice what it preached. There was a high that came with the idea of really controlling your own learning, of experiencing what all the hype was about.

    Some got overwhelmed, and the feeling of “missing things” was too strong. They left. Readings continued to be added as we went along. The Daily became a focus when there really wasn’t supposed to be a focus. And although intercommunication was very much encouraged, and although Stephen in particular wanted us using each other’s blogs to communicate rather than the forum, the forum became the main place where the large group could meet. Some who couldn’t handle the “tone” in some of the forum posts then left.

    It became apparent that the synchronous sessions were us students listening to our instructors, with an opportunity for “questions” but only an illusion of participation in the sense that we couldn’t really create anything in that space, only follow. People are afraid to truly jump in, and I have that feeling too, though I’ve jumped in far more than other students. Stephen’s refusal to deal with my questions regarding practical implications of connectivism in current education settings might well have made me drop the course if I were a weaker person.

    Instructional design also plays a role. As an enrolled student, I am vaguely horrified that we are 2/3 of the way through and only 10% of my work has been submitted or graded. This puts enormous pressure to produce in the next few weeks, at the expense of my personal and professional life.

    Last, in terms of the topics, everyone discussed almost everything in the first two weeks. The implications of the theory were apparent even before we’d done all the readings, and people wanted to talk and communicate. The structure following that, where the topics and readings were set for each week, may have created an environment of malaise. I keep wondering what we’re going to take away after the course is over, who will still stay in touch, who will continue blogging, etc.

    I’m hoping at some point the survivors will be asked to critique the class — thanks for the opportunity to start doing so here!

    – Lisa

  5. CCK08 is a grand success everybody confirms it. There is no question of any failure as a participant i m greatly benefited from joining this course which unfolds a very novice concept and a untapped research area for me. With few of the peers i hope the connection developed thru the course will go a long way.
    I appreciate the efforts undertaken by the organising team for the successful conduction of the course. regards. alok goel

  6. Very interesting point… Who can survive to a MOOC like this if he/she is not a fee student?
    No idea.
    I guess only the very motivated or the people who have a material (research) or sentimental (fans of the intructors) interest.
    For me was very interesting in anycase, and it is still very interesting. I pay for the course and that is maybe also a big motivation to continue : ) But I see positive results for me: the lectures were really good, I meet very nice new people and I understand a little more the way of thinking of some other people (maybe not so nice but…)
    And last but not least I practice my english ; )


    Thank you for your post!

  7. rheyden permalink

    Interesting to read these thoughts – thanks for bringing up the question, Ken. I am most definitely a lurker in the course – but still hanging in there. I read the Daily, sit in on the synchronous sessions when I can, and do the readings when they interest me. I have definitely benefitted from listening in and the small participation I’ve had. New ideas, extending my reach, and adding to my network. But I don’t think the course’s success should be judged by how many of us are still here, listening and participating. George and Stephen will undoubtedly judge the course’s success by the insights and gains of the “officially enrolled”. As for the larger experiement of the unofficial thousands? Well, that was just an experiment – and it was interesting to watch it play out. Success in that arena might be determined by the lessons learned from the experiment and by how much more effectively subsequent online courses can be rendered, based on those.

  8. I signed up with the expectation of becoming a lurker — and I’ve done just that and have been very satisfied. I’ve read as many of the assigned resources / blog posts as I’ve had time and learned quite a bit.

    My expectations weren’t super high and they’ve been met handily.

  9. Renee Aitken permalink

    I joined and have been the “silent” student in the back of the class, “listening” and gathering my own thoughts about this whole experiment. I have kept up with the reading and responded to individuals when I thought I had something to say. Mostly, I find the energy around people’s thoughts and ideas to be inspiring, but I feel most of the discussions lack direction. In many cases, the blogs merely provide thoughts without academic clarity. We are all supposedly academics and we should be applying the same rigor and critical thinking to connectivism as we would any other theory. So, I do not blog, but I am paying attention. When the course is through, I plan on reflecting and writing a paper about my experiences in a huge class on an untested theory in a electronic environment.

  10. One of the things I’ve found interesting is that initially I was more intrigued by the format and process than the specific content of connectivism, and it is only as the content has come around to places where theory and practice intersect (at least for me as a teacher) in recent weeks that I’ve become a more active participant. And it has taken me awhile to stop being overwhelmed. That said, I’ve been able to stick with it because I’m working on a sabbatical project on “What’s New in New Media?” and as the posters above have commented, between the exhilaration/confusion of the openness and the amount of work required, it is very hard to stay with it unless you are an enrolled student or have another particular motivation.

    And what does it mean to be a “lurker” in a course? Implicit negative judgements abound! I had originally thought for me it meant to be a mediocre student, because my participation in CCK08 was unlike any other student experience I have ever had, but maybe there is another way to look at it. Or maybe not.

  11. I feel that the course has been sidetracked significantly by the Power exercise – it took the focus off of the content I thought we were talking about (connectivism) and then moved it to power structures. I’m fairly conversant on power, but I’m not getting the connection of how power has an effect on connectivist learning. Sure I can personally draw the conclusion that power in a network is diffused over several nodes, which has been reflected in my concept map since week 1. I don’t know if someone else would draw the same conclusion. Maybe that’s the point.

    I also don’t know about this imposed group work – frankly the idea of groups was talked down so badly, that I get the feeling they were “bad”. Now we’re supposed to organize into groups? Hmmm. It’s been interesting to see that not happen at all in Moodle. Perhaps groups are being organized elsewhere? On Facebook? Or in Google groups? Both places I don’t find a lot of value in, but I’m sure other people do.

    The lack of practical application is an interesting question – I didn’t expect a theory this young to have practical application – it took many years for people to figure out constructivism (and many haven’t yet!).

    I was very surprised (maybe disappointed) at the statements that were made very harshly during a couple of elluminate sessions – not conducive to learning or promoting a positive online learning environment to say the least.

    With those criticisms aside, and I will say that I haven’t come up with ways to do it better, it all depends on your personal thoughts on “success”. I think I outlined my personal success as being coming out with more than I went in with. Which I have done. I honestly don’t know what Stephen and George wanted to get out of it (I’m sure I can go through old video conferences and figure it out, but I don’t have time to be a detective this week), and that would dictate whether or not it’s successful.

  12. Mary permalink

    Thanks for posting on this topic. CCK08 is a professional learning opportunity for me.

    CCK08 is not failing…me. It is not failing to deliver relevant content to diverse learners. It is not failing to deliver opportunities for diverse learners to personalize their learning. It is not failing to provide credit and noncredit learners with opportunities to use the web 2.0 resources and the course resources to make connections, to differentiate their learning, and/or to document the dynamic nature of learning. The various participants and presenters are able to generate explanations, interpretations, applications, perspective, empathy, and exercise self-critique, using various media and modes, which honors the diversity of participants and the various media and modes used enable me to process information at a deep level, while I am learning with and from others.

    Credit learners have a distinct advantage over non credit learners. As they process and chunk what they are learning systematically, they receive feedback on their thinking from peers and the professors. It may seem that noncredit learners can determine their level of engagement, but those of us who want to learn the content and examine the impact of the various web 2.0 technologies and the media on our own learning have to make available time to do the work and to interact with the community. As a noncredit student, I am putting myself in the same frame as credit students so that I can learn from and with them. While I do not receive grades for my participation, my performance is evaluated. I won’t fail CCK08, and I will have to continue to explore many of the concepts well beyond the dates of the course. Why? Because educators and employers have to continue to design environments for learning, which connect people, utilize resources effectively, and enable people to achieve a range of possible results.

  13. lindaleea permalink

    I too have been lurking, but find the readings, daily and the sessions very interesting. I am passing this information on to my students. Even though they don’t have much time right now since they are involved in a Masters of Education program, it shows them what is going on with learning in this new world.

  14. Lee Anne permalink

    From my perspective, absolutely not! I’m one of the many lurkers trying, and not always succeeding, to juggle life. I rarely get to participate in a synchronous manner, but do read (ok, skim), watch and listen as my schedule permits. I view courses like this as excellent pd and good use of my time. Indirectly, my college will benefit from my exposure to CCK08.

    I greatly appreciate the work that Stephen and George have put into the course. Thank you!

  15. I’m another lurker. I knew from the start that I most likely wouldn’t be able to do better than that (it’s quite intensive course, esp. for non-credit participants). I am learning a lot nevertheless and I am enjoying this experience. For me CCK is a success. I had a very vague idea at the beginning of the course what connectivism is all about – the more I read and hear (and I really like the reading and hearing part) the more interested I am in this and the more it resonates with me. For me this a success. Is the course failing due to fewer daily posts? I think it’s just getting easier to breathe. And I don’t mind it – I don’t suffer from the lack of cck posts yet.

  16. It sounds like you’re creating problems yourself by trying to solve this issue instead of looking at why their is a problem in the first place.


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  1. CCK08 - What does failure look like « An Education and Technology Blog
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  3. Lurker Vs. Bad Student | weiterbildungsblog

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