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Mélanie's Learning Journal

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Mélanie Bennett
16 January 2013

Disclaimer:  It is 4:37 am Eastern Standard Time.  I am exhausted and not fully coherent.  I have been trying to navigate Cloudworks, the google groups and various clouds for a few hours, well into the wee hours of the night.  I have made some progress but I am still behind in the week's proposed schedule.  Oh dear, I might not get a badge if I don't catch up!  Only one day left before the study week is over.  My intention was to be more of a lurker in this MOOC but I might actually try to go for the badge... if I can catch up.

I think the following email I sent to the Professors and Facilitators of this course could serve as a learning journal entry:  

Dear Professors and Facilitators:
Thank you for following up with my question.  I wrote to Professor
Yishay Mor a few hours ago and since then, I managed to create an
introduction.  The explanation of core concepts (clouds, cloudsworks,
and cloudscape... I think) is helpful and the "right things, right
place" blog-explanation is also  helpful.  I am still trying to figure
it out the tasks sequentially.  I think I have to create my own
workspace (was that the same as my introduction?) as well as a
dreambazaar and then form study circles and teams.  I wonder if I will
manage this by the end of the study week.  I am trying to understand
the different "spaces" for discussions and interaction.  I think there
are the google groups and the various clouds... and my other "spaces"
or tools I am not ready to venture into because I am not sure of where
to start or how to establish order.  I have twitter but I am not sure
how use hashtags.
Does my thinking-out-loud email give you a better understanding of my
attempt to navigate?
I am sure that if I keep exploring I will branch out properly.
Perhaps my thoughts here could have served as a learning journal?

In addition to this email correspondence, I will post a private exchange on FB.  Please see below the following exchange in response to my FB post which started with a quote from this course.  I loved the quote, it made me laugh out loud:  

FB status and quote:  "We realise that, as often happens in eLearning, you're confronted with a triple learning challenge: you need to get to grips with new knowledge, through a new pedagogy, supported by new technology. A bit like learning to juggle machetes while riding a unicycle." MOOC professor
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Like · 
  • C  - I can see great advantages in terms of improved access to education through eLearning but truthfully I never want to participate in such classes. Without the human interaction I find not much sinks into my thick head!
  • Bennett Melanie I LOVE distance education, elearning, mobile learning, and the new explosion of MOOCs (massive open online courses). The latter are actual proper courses which are free and accessible to all. I feel like I am part of a revolution. As you, I quite liked the experience of exchanging with colleagues at ICU and at UBC in Vancouver. I liked the personal relationships we developed because you were all outstanding people as are my colleagues at UBC. The Rotary Fellows and also JICA fellows were all amazing people to learn from and share ideas with. But the course design can be better in online courses, at least that has always been the case for me. The interactions in elearning, especially free and OPEN learning, are outstanding, established through learning technologies and social media, though the connection my not be as engaged or personal as in person, since ultimately, on campus in small departments, we became friends. Open online learning (as opposed to credit-based, tuition-paying elearning) really is a revolution in the direction of accessibility and reducing barriers to acquiring not only knowledge but education. I had great experiences with traditional online learning at the postsecondary level (University of Waterloo, Athabasca Univerity) but the courses mimicked traditional classrooms. It was not free, not open, it was credit-based with learners usually working towards a degree (such as my Master of Educlation in Distance Education at Athabasca). However, the current open learning phenomena which is free actually IS a revolution because anyone with access to the internet can participate. International barriers are obviously completely broken down, but that is already the case with traditional credit-based online learning which is not open and is very expensive. In the case of free open online education, class barriers are eliminated because the impoverished anywhere on earth can participate, so long as they have an internet connection, which is not unrealistic, due to the number of cyber cafés in the developing world... if the cost of using these cafés is not prohibitive. And so long as they have the literacy and critical thinking skills in order to participate. But even these open learning experiments have been conceived for street children who taught themselves computer literacy and basic English with minimal adult interference. I am amazed at the potential for eroding the structures of privilege involved in higher education... which relates to our peace studies!!! But there are major limitations at the moment: the courses are not credit-based... but that is staring to change. ... Ok, I am incoherent, it is 4am. I just needed to share my enthusiasm!!! lololol

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