I have spent so much time exploring where I was coming from in this course (EC&I 831), that I am now finally feeling able to explore what this course has to offer me. I am looking back at what has been discussed so far and trying to make sense of this. Unfortunately, the course is already 2/3 done, so I guess I have to play catch up. But at least I have a sound foundation from which to work from. I also have the benefit of 0thers’ blogs to see how they are making sense of this course.
When Dr. Schwier first spoke about the idea of community in virtual learning environments, I started thinking about where I fit into this learning community. I very much felt like an outsider. I have no problem thinking about the concepts and even blogging, but I have had a very difficult time engaging in online conversations. I very rarely comment on others’ blogs and my use of twitter is still mostly as a lurker. I have very few tweets, but have spent a lot of time reading others’ and following useful links that have been posted. Luckily for me, a community is hospitable (Connections: virtual learning communities, p. 19) and allows for forgiveness in this area. But is it also authentic (Ibid, p. 21)? I do not feel that I have developed meaningful interpersonal relationships. Perhaps the most engagement has involved Leslie. Although I haven’t met her, I am willing to bet that she has a very vibrant personality, resulting in a natural ability to make people feel as if they belong. She is also very engaged, making it difficult not to notice her contributions.
It is clear to me that how I am thinking fits in very well with George Siemen‘s talk on sensemaking and wayfinding. I spent the first part of this course (and my blogs) trying to make sense of where I was coming from and how this fit into this course. I guess I am now at the wayfinding stage of figuring out what I’m going to do with this information. Not to be a term dropper, but all of this does fit in with Dave Cormier‘s theory of Rhizomatic learning. The problem is, I hate it. This kind of learning has been driving me crazy. I have never before felt this behind in a course. The final project is looming over my head and I still don’t feel like I have a handle on it. I almost wish that I could have explored this course as a participant, rather than as a credit student. As a credit student, we are expected to explore these new ways of learning within the old parameters of education (marks, assignments, and a finite end). There seems to be a bit of a disconnect.
Interestingly enough, I found this flicker photo with the keyword ‘chaos’. It is called “Weird and Lost” and underneath it was written,
Where do I come from? Where do I go?
What shall I do?
I lost my way…
Schwier, Richard. (2011). Connections: virtual learning communities. Copestone: Saskatoon, SK. Free epub available here