Thursday, October 21, 2010

Keynote - Online Learning in a Networked Age

Alec Couros is speaking on a variety of topics, as keynotes do. He just showed an interesting slide about personal learning networks versus the course management system.  Personal learning networks continue to grow throughout a students career, while activity on the CMS progresses through the quarter then ends, progresses through the quarter and then ends.  What, he asked, if we shut down Facebook every 4 months and erased everyone's data, in the same way that we close a class? Interesting thought.

He emphasized the importance of networks in pulling together resources and facilitating the ability for students to pull information together to learn.

What makes things engaging? How do we get students to do the work needed for independent learning. And what is collaboration versus what is cheating? How do we design for interaction? Are we putting interaction first and letting the content emerge? Or are we putting the content first and hoping for interaction?

PLENK 2010 - a massive online class where you can learn about Personal Learning Networks and connected learning.  You can join this now.

Tagging and aggregation and other information literacies are essential to learning.

As he prepares to wrap up, I'm feeling a bit skeptical. I think the key is that students (and faculty) need a sound grounding in critical thinking and social networking and how to use the internet to engage in deep learning. It is totally possible, but I don't know that it comes naturally. Who is teaching this? If we move forward just thinking its going to happen, I don't know that we'll get to the place he is talking about. we need to work so much more closely with librarians and then completely and radically rework the way we teach. Frankly, I'm not sure that most people believe that their teaching needs to be radically reworked and thus are unlikely to engage in such mindaltering work.

His slideshow is here -  Definitely worth a look, if for no other reason but to watch the fun commercials that he has created for his courses.


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