Rhizomatic Learning

Learned another new interesting thing today.

Textbox editors of “traditional” LMS’s do not automatically convert URL’s into links.

However, G+ and many other current online open platforms do.

When I first learned how to post in an LMS, I had to consciously remind myself to click on the link button to embed a hyperlink when I pasted a URL. Then, when I started using G+, I had to unlearn that step, as it was not necessary, and I didn’t want to waste time. Then, as I toggled back and forth in various MOOCs which are run on various platforms, I had to re-learn how to embed URL’s, depending on the platform I was on.

This is yet another “skill” relevant to online learning… as technology evolves, our skills evolve… but in this new world of open online learning, the rate of evolution for learning skills is not linear… Sometimes, we learn in this direction, sometimes we need to regress and move backward in the direction we came from.

Rhizomatic Learning (Cormier, 2008) … interesting, isn’t it?

Links to discussions on G+:

Discovery Learning

I spent the past half hour typing a really good blog,

and in a split second,

I lost everything.

Stupid browser crash.

.

Cliche.

Heard that.

Done that.

Nothing new.

.

My immediate reaction – screw this. Not going to retype. Too many other things to do. Blogs are a waste of time anyway. Sour grape. Just forget it.

My logical sense said – note this. Golden opportunity. Second iteration yields higher quality. Incorporate reflection, metacognition, refinement.

.

OK. Here goes nothing.

….

….

This morning I woke up at 5am.

I had a revelation.

….

WAIT A MINUTE… I just noticed something in the corner of my eye. At the bottom of the textbox editor, was a small automated text. It said, “Draft saved at 2:06:56 pm. Last edited by rozhussin on March 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm”.

OMG!

I didn’t lose my blog??

What a bonus!

OK. But where is the draft saved? This is my first blog site ever. How the heck would I know how to retrieve the auto saved draft?

OK. Going to go find it. Will come back to this paragraph in a bit.

…….

…….

OK. I’m back. Found it. Feel stupid. This stuff isn’t rocket science. It just requires diligence, and a little dose of curiosity. Anyway, I copy-pasted the auto-save version below. All is good. I learned a lot today.

….

….

Original blog:

I woke up this morning at 5am.

I had a revelation.

Nothing big. Just a sudden clarity.

I had been struggling with keeping up with my many MOOCs, blogs, G+ posts, etc. As always, my method of immersion-learning (a.k.a. “binge learning”) is often a double edged sword.

Jump in. Dive deep. Immerse. Take it all in. Bring it on. It’s the fastest way to explore all possibilities, surest route to making the most mistakes, and quickest path to learning the hard way. And that is exactly what I have been experiencing the past 3 months. A whirlwind of learning. A tornado of enlightenment.

I loved it!

My brain was alive!

But now, I was drowning in a pool of wet aftermath.

My thoughts are scattered all over the place. Some in blogs. Some in G+. Some in comments on other people’s blogs, other people’s G+ spaces, and other places I can’t even remember. It felt wonderful to share. But maybe I’m not as benevolent as I thought I am. Now, I want to retrieve those thoughts I poured out. I want to re-read my own inner revelations. But I can’t. Why?

Because for the life of me, I honestly can’t recall where the heck I typed whatever it is that I typed!

Damn it!

I wondered how other people do this. Surely there is a science to this madness? This must be a skill that people acquire. A competency for survival in this online Connectivist (Siemens, 2008) world. A competency that, obviously, I do not yet have. Someone should make a Mozilla badge for this skill!

Last night I went to bed, once again, like I had in the past 3 months, feeling totally invigorated after having read and contributed to at least a dozen dialogs online. Be it a simple +1 on G+, or a heart and gut wrenching story I typed out in a spurt of creative vomit. My brain felt alive as I was settling in under my cozy comforter.

But almost immediately after that, the sine curve switched polarity, and I was on the down slope, slipping past the zero, into the negative zone of despair. I suddenly realized that by morning, I would have totally forgotten where I had posted, who I had posted to, or how to get back to where I had posted at.

Darn it!

Why did I not know this competency? What does it take to learn this? Who can I learn it from?

How come I’ve never seen discussions online about this strand of knowledge? After all, it IS a form of “knowledge”. The ability to be autonomous yet accountable for one’s contributions to this new semantic online world.

I went to bed with a virtual grey cloud over my pillow. It poured virtual pellets of hail onto my already pounding head all night long. Needless to say, I probably didn’t get my full night’s worth of REM sleep.

Then at 5am, thanks to Daylight Savings Time, when the first ray of sun squeezed through my window blinds, I suddenly had an epiphany.

Nothing big. Just a sudden clarity.

It’s all about sequence.

It’s all about hyperlinks.

  1. Self first. Post in personal blog. Pour out. Vomit thoughts. Don’t edit. Just document.
  2. Then share. Copy blog URL. Share in public space. Perhaps G+, MOOC forum, whatever, wherever. If needed, overlay with explanation. Contextualize. Make it meaningful to the community space in which this shared link will “live” in. Remember to subscribe. Remember to set push notification.
  3. Then wait. Let the seed germinate. If the share was meaningful in context, responses will follow. If not, then, lesson learned. Repeat steps one and two with more refined effort. Or… not. Who cares anyway? Depending on topic, maybe some posts never need responses. Rhetoric is beautiful in itself. Sometimes, silence is more powerful than noise.
  4. Lastly, when that little voice comes back, days later. Trying to remember what was said before. Then, there’s the original blog to reminisce on, plus, there’s a systematic array of received notifications to reference to.

Epilogue:

This blog is my first experiment of the above method. I’m going to post this in my G+ space and a few MOOC forums/spaces. I wonder how it will turn out?

Link to discussions:

Link to similar reflections blog at E-Learning Provocateur :

Link to interesting relevant comment in response to published article (see comment by stevecovello :

Link to discussions on “binge learning”:

Reflection on MOOC benefits

One of the MOOCs I’m taking is the H817 by OU-UK.

Point to note – I’m simply “lurking” and “dropping-in” (refer  terminology by Phil Hill http://mfeldstein.com/emerging_student_patterns_in_moocs_graphical_view/) However, despite my minimal “participation”, I occasionally document  interesting observations and/or discussions.

This post is an example.

The navigation user-friendliness of MOOCs (and of all online courses in general) are dependent on the platform they live on. Some LMS are more intuitive, and some, can be cumbersome.

In this example, one student had voiced frustration that the MOOC platform was not user friendly for mobile device users. The nested force-linear navigation, coupled with the multi-column webpage format, makes  it tedious to reach a particular page.  As a counter measure, this student decided to find an alternative solution which would make her navigation easier.

Driven by frustration, she found a solution – a site-map page (http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ocw/course/view.php?id=929) – which she then shared in the course blog. SHARING. This is one benefit of MOOCs.

Right after that forum message was shared, yet another student posted a different solution – a customized app ( http://alexlittle.net/blog/2013/03/12/open-education-course-offline-mobile-version/ ) – which conveniently allows students to download the entire MOOC content onto a mobile device. INNOVATION and EXPERTISE. Two more amazing benefits from MOOCs.

#h817open – Intro Blog

#H817 Open Course on Open Education by Open University UK

My reasons for taking this #H817 course:

Intro – I found out about another OU course, the OLDS MOOC, on the very last day of the MOOC, but I did manage to watch the finale convergence session video recording. At that point, I realized that I had missed out on some pretty well designed learning opportunities, so, when I heard about Martin Weller’s #H817, I jumped on the bandwagon!

Aim – I am currently working on an action research project that would benefit greatly from the potential learning that I would gain from this #H817. So, there is personal investment in my participation. I’ll probably blog more on this project as the course progresses.

Intent – For now, I plan to jump in and actively participate in this #H817. However, as I am also working full time, lurking in 3 other MOOCs, writing 2 articles,  and preparing for 3 conference presentations in the next 5 months, plus still trying to be a decent mom, so, I sincerely hope I don’t fall off the cliff halfway!

Work – My current job is as an Instructional Design Technology Specialist (IDTS) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in the United States. Much of my work involves online learning, although of late, I’ve been doing a lot of blended / hybrid / flipped instructional design. I’m a bit radical with my methods, as I did not start my career from the education side, so, I’ve never really had a box to think out of to begin with. I hope that this #H817 experimental course will add to my already unorthodox repertoire of skills.

Personal trivia – absolutely useless but potentially entertaining random information about myself:

My name is ROZ and I pronounce it like the way the flower “rose” is pronounced in English. It’s not my legal name, but I’ve had this nickname since the 80’s when I occasionally freelanced cartoons in the Malaysian chapter of MAD Magazine. I was also one of the founding members of MAAD – Malaysian Architects with American Degrees in the early 90’s.

My parents told me that I was almost born on a plane between Tokyo and KL, after which, I was soon transported to and raised in metropolitan London. Years later, my dad shipped my mom, baby brother, and I to a small sleepy town called Ipoh, where I was placed in a strict Catholic school (no, I’m not Catholic). But I ran away at 17 and found my way to New York, eventually graduating with an architecture degree from Cornell University.

Fast forward some years, I then worked in the corporate world, wandered into higher ed teaching, dove into higher ed administration, graduated again from higher ed (but this time as a post grad “ed” major), jet set all over the world, climbed the rat race ladder till I hit the ceiling, then totally crashed off the grid for 6 years. Just came out of hiding last Fall 2012, when I took my first MOOC – Designing a New Learning Environment (DNLE) from Stanford University, and have been hooked ever since 🙂

The following is a fun quiz I often give my students / trainees: