Tagged: W11A17

Week 11 – Activity 17: The role of abundance

Timing: 4 hours

  • Read Weller (2011), A pedagogy of abundance.In the conclusion two questions are posed: ‘The issue for educators is twofold I would suggest: firstly how can they best take advantage of abundance in their own teaching practice, and secondly how do we best equip learners to make use of it?’
  • Post a comment in the forum to contribute an answer to one of these questions, drawing on your own context and experience. For example, you might suggest that we could best equip learners to make use of abundant content by developing their critical analysis skills.

Answer: How do we best equip learners to make use of it [abundance]?

Filtering, searching, and evaluating resources: How to navigate through search engines, using advanced search functions. Furthermore, students need to be taught how to validate documents and fact check. This is especially concerning if we take the view of some anti-constructivist arguments that students can end up shaping their own views which could be misguided due to lack of debate. 

Using abundance: Carrying on from the above, having access to large sums of people (in a MOOC for example), should also be seen as a positive. If students wish to make new connections in their network, or seek clarity on a particular issue, such a network of people can be used to their advantage. Students should be encouraged to test their theories and share their answers with a larger group to strengthen their ideas. 

Networking and involvement: Students should be taught the value of connection making, and how/where to meet those with similar interests, akin to partaking in Communities of Interest. These types of connections can be more valuable than course objectives for continued learning. Furthermore, what often happens during MOOCs where some students break away from the institutional tools (such as forums), and form their own community elsewhere (i.e. Facebook groups), can be a successful approach in filtering out abundance information.

Blogging: Be it microblogging (Twitter) or standard blogging, these can be useful places for students to gather their thoughts and collate a personal learning environment. 

Bookmarking: Using tools such as Diigo, Pocket, Evernote, and so on, bookmarking resources for future reference or to finish reading later can remove some of the pressure of finding forum posts later, or forgetting what you wanted to read.

Trust, safety and confidence: Especially for younger students diving into internet communities. This is not only relevant for the students themselves but also for organisations that might encourage this type of web involvement. Developing a critical eye for the type of participants on forums, being aware of the comments that can be received from content, and other such issues are important for developing a trusted network and gaining confidence in their participation on the web.

Using alternative formats: The type of resource you are accessing can limit the place and time you have to study. For example, you cannot read a book while driving to work. In this case an audiobook version would be a better alternative. Similarly, downloading the video you want to watch for viewing offline, or if available reading the transcript of podcast can be more efficient. Learning to manage formats to fit your time and place can enhance student’s productivity.