My MOOC experiences

conversations and learning in the digital world

On making connections #edcmooc #etmooc

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Angela has come up with a very interesting post. She talks about biological elements oxytocin and adrenaline, that shape our social behaviour and how we can very well be on the verge of becoming addicted through our online activities to these two chemicals.

So here are some thoughts: If it is oxytocin, the love hormone, then would it fizzle out after the initial euphoria? After the initial obsession and then the following burnout, would we all just settle into a routine and not be that excited as we are now? Just wondering..

As for connecting with each other within this group, I agree when Ary says that the connections that we have formed within #edcmooc are more authentic. These connections were not forced upon us and are not based on what we know, how academic we are, whether we work in the same field and whether we live near each other. We did not form these connections with a certain goal in mind, only that we all wanted to learn and help each other out. Some things just clicked. Through our random chats, shared resources, we slowly built trust and then friendships. It didn’t just happen within the first few days. Ary has a very nice presentation on how it all started.

The connections I believe also formed, with our ability to share our thoughts out there and take any kind of responses and reactions from people. It is the vulnerability in these acts that I think affect how we connect with each other.

Angela wrote about Digital identity and connection where she discusses about the separation, if any, between real persona and digital persona and how we assume our digital identity. I think it is somehow easier for us to project our professional self comfortably within social networks, however we fear putting forth our personal thoughts even though they might be worth sharing.

Let’s pause and think about how we connect with people in real life. We don’t just like certain people or love them for a few of their qualities, we like them overall, all their faults and flaws included. I believe it’s the same with forming connections in the digital world. It would be impossible to follow someone’s blog, tweets, podcasts just for their sheer academic knowledge. There has to be something that you identify with. There has to be that something special, queer or even weird that you find matches you own thoughts, ideas, voice, interests etc. Until that happens you cannot form real connections that can last for a long time.

Another major component that forms the basis of our #edcmooc is that we are more collaborative than competitive. We have a very fine balance between collaboration and cooperation for example through group work (google docs, map, classroom, fb group, organising twitter chat). This seems to be the inherent design within our group as of now.

Of course this might all change once the course actually starts and we may have a more of an instructive approach where the course operators might ask us to adapt to some kind of a strategy to develop and enhance our learning.

With all this precourse activity, I wonder whether the facilitators would modify their approach towards this course. Would they take up a facilitative approach or would they be more instructivist exercising certain controls? I also wonder how we as a group would then adapt ourselves within this highly focussed collaboration.

Another twelve hours to go and then we shall know.


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