#Rhizo15 Learning subjectives – How to enable collaboration

In the first week of #rhizo15, Dave challenges us to create our own learning subjectives – Learning Subjectives -designing for when you don’t know where you’re going.  I am reminded about my early frustrations with EduMOOC way back in 2011 – and my need for the MOOC to provide me with learning objectives – oh how far I have come in the last three years – and how far this whole idea of unstructured, networked learning has come. In EduMOOC, I rebelled against the lack of structure by providing my own structure. Unfortunately, the experience didn’t lead to more connections – something was missing. There is a glue in #rhizo that didn’t exist back in EdueMOOC. Anyone know what the magic sauce is?

I reflect on what I want to get out of rhizo this year. For me, what has made #rhizo14 so valuable are the collaborations that came out of it and the new friends that I have made. I’m involved in collaborations through my face-to-face university program. None of those collaborations have been as rich and rewarding as the collaborations I’ve had with #rhizo14.

Last year, I taught a course on Emerging Technologies and Learning. As part of the course, my students needed to complete a group project. The project served two purposes – to explore an emerging big idea in learning technology, and to learn online collaboration by actually doing it. Unfortunately, several of the groups choose to meet face-to-face to do their group projects. The result was that the groups who actually collaborated online created better, deeper projects. Something unique and interesting happens when you collaborate using the online medium. As a teacher, one thing I failed to do was to provide enough scaffolding for my students. They were not comfortable with technology, and asking them to collaborate online provided too much of a stretch for many of them. Instead, they fell into what they knew, and organized face-to-face meetings to collaborate (for many of my student, the technology class was their first and only online learning experience). They needed a little more structure to help them get started – but I didn’t want to provide too much structure as I wanted them to figure out their unique ways of collaborating online, rather then my ways of collaborating. There is a balance here, that needs to be tipped in the right direction in order for optimal learning to occur.

And so, my learning subjective for #rhizo15 is to explore further what makes the collaborations successful, and what scaffolding is needed to foster collaboration in others. What feeds online collaborations? What constrains it?


9 Comments on #Rhizo15 Learning subjectives – How to enable collaboration

  1. Hi :-)

    I think a rhizomatic learning experience requires both avoiding ill communication as freedom to inspire others. And when we are connected through technology we usually find out that it’s easier for us to be empathetic, as someone points above.

    So it’s more about just going rather than where to go

  2. > “I didn’t want to provide too much structure as I wanted them to figure out their unique ways of collaborating online, rather then my ways of collaborating.”

    I think what consoles me about this is to say, “Well, everyone has to start somewhere. My ways of collaborating shouldn’t be their ending point, but maybe they’re as fine a starting point as any others.” My _hope_ is that many of them will then be off and running on a trajectory of trying on other ways of collaborating to see how they fit, and so on. My _fear_, though, is that I don’t succeed in communicating that this is my big idea. That is, I do fear that many will end up seeing “my ways” as “the ways,” just as you say.

    • Hi Brooke, good point about hoping that what we ‘teach’ is just a jumping off point rather than an end point. I too would have that hope – although I do find that grades get in the way – too many of the students are focused on grades rather than learning. It is rather sad.

  3. This is a great post Rebecca. Earlier today I was thinking about this very same thing. When #rhizo14 was happening I did not really take part because I was participating in the #FutureEd MOOC. I was actually leading a face to face discussion about that MOOC, its content, and the nature of MOOCs in general with a faculty discussion group at the university that I work for. Many of the faculty are not on twitter with no experience with MOOCs or blogging or anything like that and the xMOOC gave them a great one stop place to get a handle on everything. This morning I was thinking about how a cMOOC would be such a richer experience but may require more of what you are calling scaffolding here.

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