Friday, December 30, 2011

Joining #change11

Photo courtesy Ryan McBride via Flickr
Over the last month or so I’ve been catching up with the materials that have come out of the #change11 mooc so far.  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind of topics and presenters but I’ve found it very interesting and it’s been valuable to me as I get acquainted with a field that is new to me in many ways. Thank you to the organizers, the weekly facilitators and all the participants for everything that’s been contributed.  I’m excited about joining in synchronously and being able to participate in the live sessions and weekly discussions in the new year.

Joining in the course during the break is good timing in a way.  In this first post I’ll introduce myself and share some of my thoughts and impressions about the the course so far.

My reasons for joining change11 include a curiosity about the topics, people and processes involved as well as a professional interest in applying it to my role as an e-Learning Resource Developer.  I also plan to integrate the work that I do through this course into the Masters program I am enrolled in and thereby earn some credits at the same time.

My background has primarily involved facilitating experiential learning, mostly adventure based.  I’ve worked with all kinds of groups ranging from children with special needs to corporate executives and change is always a major underlying theme. The subject matter, usually arrived at perpendicularly to the adventure experience, has mostly been about group dynamics, personal awareness and development, and organizational development.  

Recently, I have moved from the US to the UK and started in a new direction professionally, working in learning technology and and studying for a Masters in Education.

So far, the main theme that has emerged for me after thinking about all the ideas that have been brought up in #change11 is that how we learn is more important than what we learn.  With all the change that is afoot around us, a focus on becoming better learners may be the most valuable thing we can nurture in ourselves, our students, our colleagues, institutions and societies.  

The various facilitators have made a very strong case that change is real.  We live in a world that is networked and always on.  The electronic technology driving much of this change is following an exponential curve, we now carry it around in a pocket as causally as one might carry a pencil and paper.  The practice of scholarship is shifting and new opportunities for opening up learning are beginning to bloom. We’ve seen the importance of fostering human connection in the new mediums we’re dealing with and seen some great examples of the skills and artistry required to do so.

I have to admit that I feel a little bit nervous about inserting myself into a group that is already established despite knowing intellectually that this is an open course and that it is intended,  by design, to welcome latecomers and drop-ins. One observation that I have from being a lurker so far is that I already feel I know many of you.  I think that imbalance of “knowing” people, especially in a group, that don’t know you might create an inhibition to participate.  This can be self perpetuating as the longer one lurks without participating, the greater this imbalance becomes.  In any case, I’m hoping that a couple people will manifest their inner social artist and leave me a comment in support!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben, Happy New Year, and have fun in this MOOC.
    The flower is it a lotus? The lotus has a real rhizome of creeping joined stems. In Chinese symbolism, the lotus means fruitfulness, a good sign to start participating!
    Moving from US to UK must be an amazing cultural experiment.