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CCK11 Dialogue issues

February 9, 2011

Interesting dialogue on the CCK11 page about dialogue:

http://cck11.mooc.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=54793

I posted this to the dialogue:

Hmmm. So the emphasis on ‘distributed’ has the paradoxical effect of reducing the ‘openness’ of the course. In essence, this course requires a learner to participate in a specified manner, and does not address the learner’s stated needs/wants. How is this new?

As far as fees, I wonder if this course is still being supported by U of Manitoba, and if there are credit and fee-paying students? If so, wouldn’t Moodle be available? I see that CCK11 says it is in partnership still, and U Man lists this course for credit, so I wonder that Moodle wouldn’t be available? On the other hand, CCK11 did announce that they just chose not to use it, instead imposing a different structure.

I wonder at what point the imposition of a structure removes an approach from the theoretical category and places it in the practical category. Enforcing a distributed blog mode seems to be a bit of a ‘rigging of the deck’ to support the theory of distribution, by forcing distribution. How is that theoretical? How does that move support theory-development? It seems like the results are pre-determined: connectivist learning is distributed because we made it so.

p.s. My questions are not intended to offend. I would be offended if they were interpreted that way.

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4 Comments
  1. deadvocate permalink

    Downes’ reply to the above:

    Stephen Downes, February 9, 2011
    > My questions are not intended to offend. I would be offended if they were interpreted that way.

    Sorry, you don’t get a free pass just by declaring an intent. That’s like saying “my punch isn’t intended to hurt you; I would be hurt if you felt pain when I punched you.”

    As for ther content of the reply:

    ‘Open’ has not in any of my reading ever been defined as ‘accommodating the needs of everyone’. And while *every* course requires that the participant participate in *some* manner, it is a twisting of words to interpret “in whatever manner you please” ad some “specified” manner.

    I agree, it “does not address the learner’s stated needs/wants.” And when you ask “How is this new?” the answer is that it rejects the implied contract to “address the learner’s stated needs/wants” that other approaches endorse.

    We are not an education service provider. We provide access to a community and resources, but *you* adapt them to serve your needs.

    Really, the complaints are like people complaining about email because they no longer have a postal service. “By making me use any email reader I want, rather than delivering letters to my home, you are making the system less open and forcing me to interact in some specified manner.” To which I reply: tough. It’s faster, cheaper, and after some experience with it you will never be content to sit around and wait for a letter carrier again.

    The Moodle is still available; we are not using it. People seem to have adapted quite nicely; there is a very active Facebook group (that is not susceptable to fragmentation, user issues and power games the way the Moodle forums were). The Facebook discussion continues very strong, while by this time in other courses the Moodle had dwindled to a half-dozen die-hards dominating every Moodle thread.

    Finally, to say we “impose a structure” is a misrepresentation of what we’ve done. *Everything* has some structure; we have *removed* most of the structure that exists, and allowed people to select their own. Call it “imposition” if you want; I call the response “passive-aggressive feedback trying to indimidate us into giving you a personal forum and captive audience.” Since I feel such are destructive to online learning, I don’t enable it.

  2. deadvocate permalink

    My reply to Downes’ reply:

    Ken Anderson, February 9, 2011
    Like you, I think it is important to state one’s intentions. No free pass was sought. I don’t know what you intend with this remark.

    Thank you for addressing my questions. I find that this is an interesting stance for a learning theory to take:

    >I agree, it “does not address the learner’s stated needs/wants.” And when you ask “How is this new?” the answer is that it rejects the implied contract to “address the learner’s stated needs/wants” that other approaches endorse.

    I would have thought that U Man was in fact an education service provider. I’m not sure what your characterization is: you are a community access provider?

    The e-mail analogy doesn’t really work for me, thanks anyway. I do agree that Moodle had its pros and cons. It certainly generated some engaging discussions, at least in the beginning weeks, before drying up. It will be very interesting to see what the history of the Facebook group you mentioned turns out to be; I haven’t looked at it yet.

    Was this last comment really called for? It seems to set a very negative tone:

    >I call the response “passive-aggressive feedback trying to indimidate us into giving you a personal forum and captive audience.”

    I hope you have a good day.

  3. deadvocate permalink

    More reply from Downes:
    Stephen Downes, February 9, 2011
    > Was this last comment really called for?

    I don’t like being accused of things like “enforcing” and “rigging”, etc., and it turns out you don’t like being accused of things either.

    I personally don’t see why it would be objectionable to offer a course on Connectivism in the manner prescribed by the theory. Attributing our decision to do this to deeper personal motives, however, is objectionable.

  4. deadvocate permalink

    My final comment. I’m finding the whole thing a little boring, time to get out, and I have other things to do that are more important!

    >I call the response “passive-aggressive feedback trying to indimidate us into giving you a personal forum and captive audience.”

    >I don’t like being accused of things like “enforcing” and “rigging”, etc., and it turns out you don’t like being accused of things either.

    I don’t take your accusations personally. I guess now that you intend me to. I have no interest in a personal forum or captive audience. I find it really interesting that you would make that remark though. How would it be possible to have a captive audience/personal forum in a course that is ‘open’ and ‘distributed’? Seems oxymoronical in nature, don’t you think?

    But I think that blaming Moodle for what ailed previous iterations of this course may be missing out on a bigger picture. I’m not sure what that picture is just yet. I mean, Moodle was just one area of discussion, favoured by some, disliked by others. The same can be said for other means: blogs, facebook, whatever. Even this Moodle-replacement forum called grasshopper.

    btw: For whom is the course created? If not to meet the interests of the learner, as you said, then who is this course for?

    >I personally don’t see why it would be objectionable to offer a course on Connectivism in the manner prescribed by the theory. Attributing our decision to do this to deeper personal motives, however, is objectionable.

    Why would you object to having ‘deeper personal motives’ for offering the course on Connectivism ‘in the manner prescribed by the theory”? Are you not trying to broadcast your theory? Isn’t that a motive? What’s wrong with that?

    I’ve enjoyed the discussion here, and was very interested in the comments made by the other posters, both pro and con. It seems that some sensibilities are easily ruffled, however, and that part doesn’t interest me very much. So, adieu for now.

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