By default, I am thinking about everything we read for this course in terms of how it relates to the class that our groups are to be designing. So far, I am not very optimistic. For starters, Harasim notes over and over again that, for online collaborative learning, “The teacher or professor, as a representative of that knowledge community, mediates between the learners and the knowledge community and inducts the learners into the processes for building knowledge in that discipline” (2012). While we might be in good hands as students, the students taking the course that we design could be in anyone’s hands. We have no idea who will be assisting them on their journey through remedial high school English (or should I say credit recovery?). Without the guarantee of a high-quality guide, should we use a different model? I’ve noted that I really like using this model (from a student’s perspective), but I don’t see how summer school students will be able to engage in distance discourse with other students from around the state without getting buy-in from multiple districts and making sure that their summer school schedules run roughly concurrently, etc.
It pains me to suggest this, but I think that online courseware might be the best option for at least part of what we create. “The learner uses an individualized self-paced pedagogy to interact with the courseware content, which is presented in a modular format. Upon completion of each module, the student takes a post-test (typically a multiple-choice test that can be computer graded) to“assess” his or her understanding of the content and to provide remedial action if the student fails the post-test” (Harasim 2012). Even that seems like a waste of time, since there are already many of those courses in use for high school credit recovery. Why add to that pile? I’d like to utilize online collaborative learning, but I just don’t know how we’ll be able to do it. Who will they collaborate with? Who will moderate? Who will be assessing discourse?
In regards to the required reading and blog postings, I’ll just pretend like we’re designing something that more easily fits the OCL model.
The role of discourse and collaboration: “In a distributed environment a learner has to be able to put his or her ideas forward in a way that others can see and engage with, even if those ideas are not yet fully thought out or polished…Each act of creation is a potential node for connection” (McCauley et al 2010).
I can’t improve on the way Harasim puts it in our current text: idea generating, idea organizing, and intellectual convergence. Participants share ideas, others share and add, they consider how the ideas can be refined or improved, ideas might be organized or compared with existing ideas in the literature, and a “convergence” is eventually reached (though the text notes that convergence doesn’t represent 100% agreement by all participants). Knowledge has just been built.
The role of technology: Technology creates the meeting spaces and the means of communication/discourse. Thanks to web 2.0 tools, technology also afford collaboration: “Blogs, wikis, and other open, collaborative platforms are reshaping learning as a two-way process. Instead of presenting content/information/knowledge in a linear sequential manner, learners can be provided with a rich array of tools and information sources to use in creating their own learning pathways… The links and connections are formed by the learners themselves” (Siemens 2005).
I guess I’m kind of struggling with the fact that what we’re reading about makes me inspired to design opportunities for an incredible learning experience, yet the task itself makes that seem like it will be next to impossible; the trouble is that it feels like I need to follow the model set forth in our readings, as it sounds ideal, even though we might be able to create a model that is just as functional (but doesn’t exist yet). The chances of creating a new model seem kind of slim. The chances of making a functional hybrid seem a whole lot better. That chances that our final product will look anything like OCL? That’s anyone’s guess…
Harasim, Linda M. (2012). Learning Theory and Online Technology. New York, NY: Routledge.
McAuley A., Stewart B., Siemens, G. & Cormier, D. (2010). The MOOC Model for Digital Practice. Retrieved from: https://oerknowledgecloud.org/sites/oerknowledgecloud.org/files/MOOC_Final_0.pdf on January 30, 2014.
Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: Learning as network-creation. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/networks.htm on January 30, 2014.