Week 11 – Activity 19: Implementing connectivism

Timing: 6 hours

In this activity you will be devising a course that takes a strong connectivism approach, based on some key principles devised by Siemens:

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialised nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.
  • Take the description of the short course on digital skills that you developed in Week 8 and recast it, so that it adopts a highly connectivist approach. Or, if you prefer, you could take this ‘Open education’ block as an example and recast it in a more connectivist model, or another course you have familiarity with. You should take each of the principles set out above and state how they are realised in your course, either as a general principle or by giving an example activity.
  • Blog your course outline, along with how the principles are realised.
  • Read and comment on some of the courses suggested by other learners. You might like to consider:
    1. whether you found connectivism useful
    2. whether connectivism was in conflict with the traditional concept of a course
    3. what it would be like to study or teach a course based around connectivism.

Answers:

1. Whether you found connectivism useful

I found the inclusion of connectivism to result deeper thought in creating a course and how the course is expected to be completed (adding more layers for students to navigate). This has resulted in a more thorough and contextual approach with more pedagogical consideration.

2. Whether connectivism was in conflict with the traditional concept of a course

No it wasn’t. My general approach to course designing is to provide a context to what students learn. The change here was that the manner in which this context was achieved was more clearly defined.

3. what it would be like to study or teach a course based around connectivism.

The issue of unpredictability appears to be key. I have no idea what students will produce as I have only provided the outline and not the solutions or even a clear-cut end result. It would require a teacher who is very knowledgable in the subject matter, which could course problems for a typical K-12 curricula where often teachers are tasked with teaching multiple subjects which may include some they don’t know about in the depth. Thus limited their ability to respond to unpredictable outcomes.

 

Changes in the original course:

Note for myself – This table is also saved as a word document under Week 11 – Activity 19.

Original from Week 8 Activity 8 For Week 11 Activity 19
Week Topic Resources Suitability (G/M/B) Making it more ‘Connectivist’
Overall changes from original below: The course will be delivered in a more social manner, encouraging working with other peers in a group, or discovering information in broader networks such blogs. The challenges on mastering individual applications will not be delivered in a clear step-by-step manner, but rather as undefined and unmentioned challenges that students will need to overcome in order to reach the week’s particular goals.
1 MS Office:

Basic overview of MS Office tools applicable to teachers: Word and PowerPoint.

How to do basic Word formatting and PDF export:

https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=663198&hitlist=keywords%3Dmicrosoft&fromUnified=true

Medium:

Useful for an overview of content taught during the week. However far to general and non-detailed to provide quality learning on it’s own.

Students will be tasked a particular MS Word objective, such as to create a report or advertisement. They will be given some criteria to meet, such as what the final product should include, but little guidance in how to achieve this.

 

Rather, students should use the two ‘Good’ resources given, and navigate through them to find the solutions. Additional more social resources could include:

 

–        The Microsoft support community – http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office?auth=1

–        Third party support communities such as the personal MS Word Help site – http://www.mswordhelp.com

 

 

 

Linking to Siemens key principles of ‘connectivism’:

–        Learning may reside in non-human appliances.

–          

–        Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.

–        Decision making is itself a learning process

–        Learning is a process of connecting specialised nodes or information sources

For teachers: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=75593&hitlist=keywords%3Dmicrosoft&fromUnified=true Medium:

Full course, which is arranged in a section-by-section layout allowing for easy navigation. No worksheets or activities. Based on MS Office 2000.

Word:https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=551520&hitlist=keywords%3Dmicrosoft&fromUnified=true Good:

Extensive overview of many word functions laid out in a categorized manner, allowing for the selection of specific parts of the course.

Introduction Word course on business letter composition:

https://learn.saylor.org/course/view.php?id=57

Medium:

Introduction courses to creating a business letter. Students could learn multiple functions of word through this process. however, it could take longer than 6 weeks so segments will need to be chosen.

Overview of the basics of Powerpoint:https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=82659&hitlist=keywords%3Dmicrosoft&fromUnified=true Good

Broad overview of the features. Useful for introduction. Includes a look into speaker notes.

2 Online searching:

Using keywords; doing research.

Keyword choice: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=774698&hitlist=keywords%3Donline%2520searching&fromUnified=true Good:

Video providing a basic overview of how to search using Google. Focusing on keyword choice.

I larger focus should be given to self-discovery. An interesting task could be:

Putting students in groups, and have them find resources through Google on a particular topic. The quality of the resources is not of particular importance here. The aim is for students to note how their search terms could result in different resource collection. Students should compare their results with others in the group noting the terms used.

 

Subtle guidance could be given to guide students to better results, and they would be encouraged to use the ‘Good’ alongside.

 

Linking to Siemens key principles of ‘connectivism’:

–        Learning may reside in non-human appliances.

–          

–        Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.

–        Decision making is itself a learning process

–        Learning is a process of connecting specialised nodes or information sources

–         Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions

–        Ability to see connections between fields, ideas and concepts is a core skill

Doing research: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=294121&hitlist=keywords%3Donline%2520searching&fromUnified=true Bad (for this purpose):

For younger learners it is beneficial. Child-like layout, teaching concepts that adults could learn in a more succinct manner.

More on searching skills: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=294127&hitlist=keywords%3Donline%2520searching&fromUnified=true Bad (for this purpose):

For younger learners it is beneficial. It also includes explanations around what is the WWW, which could contextualize the information in a clearer manner. Child-like layout, teaching concepts that adults could learn in a more succinct manner.

3 Using blogging for learning:

Learning the basics and how it can enhance cross-disciplinary learning.

Integrating tech to enhance liberal learning: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=875469&hitlist=keywords%3Dblogging&fromUnified=true Medium:

Journal article, which would be good for students to read, but given the course length is not so much applicable.

As this is a task about blogging, it would be interesting to see how much students could learn through only viewing and contributing to blogs. For this week of the course, students will need to:

a)      Learn how to blog by viewing other blogs (tutorials etc.)

b)      Produce their own blog.

c)      Interact with other blog owners.

d)      Publish how they found the learning experience on their blog and compare this with others.

 

Linking to Siemens key principles of ‘connectivism’:

–        Learning may reside in non-human appliances.

–          

–        Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.

–        Decision making is itself a learning process

–        Learning is a process of connecting specialised nodes or information sources

–         Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions

–        Ability to see connections between fields, ideas and concepts is a core skill

–        Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.

Blog basics: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=305419&hitlist=keywords%3Dblogging&fromUnified=true Bad:

An advertising like blog post, encouraging people towards monetization. Not applicable.

4 Avoiding Plagiarism:

What is plagiarism and learning to cite.

Citation: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=296406&hitlist=keywords%3Dcitation&fromUnified=true Medium:

Will require some modification, but can be used as a tool to provide more details on specifics of citation.

Giving students a heavily plagiarized document, and requiring them to use their newly developed searching skills to find which parts have been copied and from where.

 

Student can then be tasked to search for plagiarism detection software (10 free ones listed here: http://elearningindustry.com/top-10-free-plagiarism-detection-tools-for-teachers) to compare the results. Their results should be posted on their blog, and comments should be made on classmate’s blogs.

 

Linking to Siemens key principles of ‘connectivism’:

–        Learning may reside in non-human appliances.

–          

–        Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.

–        Decision making is itself a learning process

–        Learning is a process of connecting specialised nodes or information sources

 

 

Introduction: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=1020772&hitlist=keywords%3Dcitation&fromUnified=true Medium:

Can be used as this week’s introduction. Provides an overview of the key areas of citation.

Citation basics: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=399075&hitlist=keywords%3Dcitation&fromUnified=true Medium:

Could be used after the above. Also a video, but more comprehensive.

Plagiarism: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=294136&hitlist=keywords%3Dplagerism&fromUnified=true Good:

A video and ‘cheat sheet’ combined to provide useful tips and things to look out for when citing, as to avoid plagiarism.

5 Research Skills (authenticity of materials) Evaluating resources: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=78565&hitlist=keywords%3Devaluating%2520resources&fromUnified=true Good:

Multiple videos looking at various aspects of research skills, from web pages, to blogs, to explaining what search engines won’t find.

Students could be placed into groups and tasked with evaluating the authenticity of various information shared on a set list of blogs. Sudents will note down issues where biasm, lack of referencing, or false information, etc. was found.

 

As a review, in groups students could develop a checklist for authenticity based on their experience and what cases they found and how they found these. These could be share through student’s blogs and collated.

 

Linking to Siemens key principles of ‘connectivism’:

–          

–        Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known.

–        Decision making is itself a learning process

–        Learning is a process of connecting specialised nodes or information sources

–        Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions

–        Ability to see connections between fields, ideas and concepts is a core skill

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