This weeks discussion on #rhizo15 was co-opted by a participant in the course – Viplav kindly suggested that we as learners to take over the role of facilitating our own learning – somewhat in a rhizomatic way. I should note that this was done in a kind and friendly way – and not meant as a de-valuing of Dave in any way. Viplav’s post, in turn had Dave (the course leader) change his plans for week 4 – jumping onto the ‘teachable moment’ that just happened. So, this week, the topic is “Can/should we get rid of the idea of ‘dave’? How do we teach rhizomatically“.
As someone who has worked as a professional educator in the corporate sector, I am highly aware of how my skills are constantly de-valued. Too often, it is the subject matter expert, who is given the credit for a good course – and the instructional designer behind the scenes is seen as superfluous.
In higher education, the whole xMOOC movement often de-values the role of the instructor – or elevates the role of one person to ‘super star’ and de-values the role of everyone else involved in making that person the super star. Heck, at one point the governor of California suggested that all undergraduate courses could be taught be computers!
My argument is that by de-valuing the daveness in #rhizo15, we de-value ourselves as educators. We need to do a better job of recognizing the skills that we bring to the table when we teach/facilitate/lead a course. Part of what makes #rhizo so special is the safe space for exploration that Dave created. Another part of what made it work was the network of connections that Dave brought to the table when the first course began. He fostered connections in advance of the course. We also should not dismiss the fact that he is able to adapt to change quickly – taking advantage of the ‘teachable moment’ that happened when Viplav suggested that we as learners take control of #rhizo15. We cannot and should not dismiss the daveness in Rhizo, in part because that de-values the skills that we each bring to the table as educators.