(A metaphor for MOOC learning, perhaps. Chatter, chaos, and signal to noise. Meaningful conversations to those participating in them. Literally, it is the sound of a noisy restaurant in Seoul recorded from my phone).
I found myself feeling trepidation recently about committing myself to the Change#11 MOOC and for the last week or so I was struggling to determine why. I have read everything that has been posted to the site, I have followed the hashtag thread (#change11) and read blog posts as often as possible. I have done more or less everything except sit down and interact either through the discussion postings or even through my own reflection here on this blog. As each day passed, I grew more concerned over what I perceived as laziness, indifference, or even dread.
By way of background, I participate in these types of things often. I participated in MobiMOOC (quite actively) and since the completion of that course, I have participated in a small research team that spun off from that course and we have authored two papers and are working actively on the third. These papers all address MOOCs to some degree, hence the professional, personal, and social interest in the MOOC. I have a background in education, a few advanced degrees, years of teaching experiences, a title that says Education Manager. Change 2011 seems a perfect fit.
Yet I resisted and I am starting to realize that it wasn’t laziness. It was the balance that had yet to appear. I hadn’t determined a suitable mode of participation for myself in this course and yet was fairly confident that due to personal and professional commitments (just moved to Seoul, work, conferences, research groups, etc.) I wouldn’t be able to guarantee a level of commitment akin to the MobiMOOC. This troubled me. I like to do things at full speed, but this is a marathon and not a sprint. This is over 30 weeks. This is commitment. This is an opportunity to establish a nuanced approach to my learning strategies. A learning maturity of sorts.
So, I do believe that I am going to define myself as an agile lurker on the course. I will read as much as possible, reflect as much as possible, yet remain slightly aloof (for lack of a better term). I will seize opportunities as they appear in terms of participating in meaningful activities or interactions (meaningful in terms of matching to my learning expectations and needs). I will monitor, occasionally poke and prod (gregariously), interpret, bandy ideas about, and occasionally come forth socially and interact. This level of participation will allow for the balance I am looking for, hopefully inoculate me against participatory burnout, identify a fluid information filtering strategy to avoid overflow, meander amongst nodes of activity in true flaneur style. Pick things up, ponder them, put them down, and go and make some things. Wander the lanes and buildings of the Change Campus (that is the metaphor I am using for MOOCs) and see what proves intriguing.
This is my learning structure. The development of this structure are my learning needs. Balance, focus, exploration, meaningful interaction, adjustment. And now I feel better.