Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Make do.

I have just read +Alan Levine 's blog on Connected Courses "All about the do." and there is much here that I absolutely agree with.

I particularly agree with my being in a "creative dimension" of my own.

This is of course no news to me (or to my poor family and friends, who have to ask questions like: 'What the hell is he up to now?' - Generally met with a grin and a shrug of my shoulders.)

What is news is that other people recognise me being in another creative dimension and that appears welcomed.

Thank you Alan for the flower. I take it as a flower. If it is not a flower, it is too late to change anything now.

I shall make do.

I would however like to be able to do more than receive flowers from Alan, nice that that is.

Once we have sent each other flowers on #rhizo14, #clmooc, #ccourses, studied with Gardner and become terribly learned, made new friends, come up with the odd wacky digital artefact for #ds106 for life, there comes, for me at least, a killer question:

So what?

Are we connecting to get fodder before returning to our disconnected rabbit holes?
Are we connecting to continue with the flower arranging, digital masterpieces, studying?
Are we connecting to justify the expenditure of a foundation's investment in a project?
Are we researching so as to become terribly senior as academics?

Constraints and opportunities

Leading change from below is I believe the only way to transform education. 

Often, people leading change in their institutions are marginal and lack resources.
Often moral support is essential to keep people plodding on. 
Often such people could benefit from technical/pedagogical support.(example Alan can fix a hangout date please? - That is not just an example :-).
Such support is generously offered and received...

Doing it

We learn much from watching people developing, through their blogging, from their sharing of vulnerability. We learn less from what we might consider 'best practices', which might appear unattainable practices for our context.

I teach 22 hours per week with my colleague over 400 students to learn a foreign language 2 hours per week, I am developing CLAVIER, I am working with over 20 colleagues in 11 different countries, there are more than 1000 students connecting a little or a lot.

We are making it. We are making it happen.

We could do with:

1) financial support - so as to have a little more time to do research/to to professional development
2) some technical support - to develop a platform similar to Connected Courses site in some respects
3) time to share our experiences, to include more people/institutions

Everything that we do is connected to one aim.

Transforming education.

What about a #ccourses nursery to nurture associated connected courses?

No response?

I shall make do

Blogging is a little hobby I have.



  1. The "so what" question is at the heart of any endeavor, no doubt about that. I wonder about "terribly" as a modifier for "learned," or perhaps I'm missing the joke. (I'm a terribly earnest fellow.) I respectfully disagree that there's only one way to transform education. I feel very strongly that our work must proceed along multiple lines, some of them traditional and some of them innovative ... a position that sounds radical to both sides, I suppose.

    I am currently leading an effort to bring colleagues together to revise our general education curriculum to make connected learning a primary element of the way we think about the broadly shared experience we call "general education." I'm using everything I can think of to help frame, encourage, and lead this effort. #ccourses is one crucial touchstone for everything I'm working on. It's also a nursery for this specific project regarding general education at a research university, a project that also involves accreditation agency goals and local imperatives as well. I seek individual inspiration and individual transformation and institutional inspiration and institutional transformation. I don't think any of those goals can be addressed in isolation.

    1. Hello Gardner, I am sorry if I was disrespectful. I can be terribly disrespectful as I can be terribly earnest. So Sorry. I am working on the edge and often fall off it.

      Your reply sort of mirrors mine in the sense that I feel that you are doing everything in your power to move things forward. I respect and admire that.

      I am also of the opinion that change will come in many different ways.

      I understand that connected courses may be a nursery for a particular project.

      The question I ask myself are are these particular projects a means to project an institution, a region, a nation, etc?

      In this case what of enclosure?

      Are connected courses (if I take ds106/phonar going to remain extensions of particular institutional courses?

      Are connected courses going to be on a Mozilla transnational foundation basis?

      Might connected courses be usefully seen as a Mozillaesque body which might enable educators around the world to transform education?

      I hear institutional, institutional,

      Don't these issues go beyond institutional boundaries?

  2. "Leading change from below is I believe the only way to transform education."

    I'm sympathetic to that. I also feel that new institutions have to be created OUTSIDE the current ones. Just how that's going to be done, that's anyone's guess. But it's not at all clear to me that the higher education system in the US is capable of doing anything more than changing a few things here and there within a system that's too deeply entrenched in old forms do change very much.

    1. Hi Bill, thank u for your comment. Maybe outside doesn't necessarily mean in competition with? Maybe agents of change can be both inside and outside?

  3. I connect because it feels good to be on the receiving end.

    I connect because it makes me feel less alone.

    I connect for the same reason I (nostalgically) remember sharing my toys when I was 5.

    Those others listed are secondary; it seems to me to feel a basic human need (to be acknowledged, valued) and a desire to be of something more than just our measly selves.

    I do not really list "transforming education" as a goal. Its admirable, but I might as well to have goal to terraform Mars. I am not belittling it as a goal, but I think we move towards that by the efforts you are doing locally and globally through CLAVIER. Maybe it's operating with a layered set of goals??

    I was a bit errant to use "It's all about the do" as a title. It was late in the evening. I would in hindsight remove the "all" because it sounds rather prescriptive. At the same level, I agree with Gardner that doing it at the bottom is not the only solution, and no one has tried harder than him to move from both sides.

    It's too easy to blame the distant administrators as a barrier. It's not that simple. There are challenges at the managing level of an organization that a faculty member does not appreciate as is there are challenges in the classroom that an administrator perhaps is too far removed form to appreciate. Few people know more of both spectrums than Gardner (I'm a big fan)

    The last thing we need is more us vs them-isms. It's never that simple.

    1. Hello Alan thanks for commenting. I connect with your first three points. I shall make do with that.

      I would say that 'transforming education' despite it being akin to Terraforming Mars remains a goal. I also believe that Gardner believes in education being potentially transformative. I agree with much of what Gardner writes. I don't doubt that you are right about your observation about Gardner being able to see things from both sides. I am nobody to question that (which I don't). I don't blame anybody.

      I don't believe in us vs them.

      I don't believe that I have proposed anything divisive.

      I do believe that there is a need to work together to protect local instiutions.

      I am suggesting that we need to work transnationally, pooling competences, and resources, research, towards something bigger than institutions - to protect institutions.

      Of course I could just enjoy the ride, the camardery, the makes, but I am very bad at that. I often wish I would just shut up.

      I wrote this now. Whatever. I shall make do.

    2. Ah yes the point about the administrators we are despite beliefs, attitudes, statements to the contrary all in the same boat. No sustainable change can come without a win-win scenario. This is CO-LEARNING writ large.

  4. grrr ur blogpost erased my comment as I was trying to post it (this happens often but I had forgotten to copy before hitting publish!!)
    I was saying something along the lines of agreeing with Gardner that change from both sides can be a good idea; and wondering if us little folks teaching on the ground would lose our perspective once we were at the "top" able to effect change from "above"? I assume people like Gardner and Howard are in those positions (?) and have not lost their perspectives. Agreeing also with Alan about several things, including the "connect" for the human need aspect.

    Have u seen that Maslow's hierarchy of needs joke, with "wifi" as the most basic need? It's hilarious but almost almost true for me now ;)
    But seriously, even though connecting gives opportunities for things like self-actualization (and goals beyond ourselves like transforming education), for me it probably also is more a basic social need. Why my f2f life does not fulfill it is an interesting question because I am surrounded by lots of loving wonderful ppl f2f as well. This needs a think...

    1. This needs a long think Maha.
      I am very bad at avoiding pushing open doors to see where they lead.

  5. Simon -- my proposal has been to seed as a place where peer support and planning, pedagogical as well as technological, could continue after the last unit of #ccourses. For this to happen, we need about a dozen regulars, each of who posts an average of once a week, to achieve a critical mass. And then we'll need to succeed in reaching out to others, so it doesn't become ingrown. That's my version of what to do.

    1. Thank you Howard. OK. Count me in. Might we imagine a series of accompanying hangouts?