Monday, March 16, 2015

Rhizomatic Discussions!

Worlds have officially collided (either that, or the Rhizome has invaded my mind) ;-)

This week is the beginning of Humanizing Online Instruction (or #humanMOOC) on the Canvas Network.  As is usually the case, I tend to lurk in more MOOCs than I can actually "complete†"in any given period.  Given my homework for EDDE 802, and my teaching work on INSDSG 684 (and let's not forget the day-job), I wasn't really going to follow #HumanMOOC that closely.  I still don't know how closely I am going to follow along - but heck, I'll give it the old college try. Even though I am not sure what my activity will look like, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce myself in case blogposts or tweets with #HumanMOOC started coming up with my name on them.

One of the things that my brief interaction in the #HumanMOOC Forums reminded me of is the potentially Rhizomatic nature of knowledge and participation online.  For instance, I might read something on Maha's blog, which might get some mental gears going. I could post a comment on her blog, or if it's longer, or connected to other ideas, I might just write about it here (in one or more posts).  The same is true for news sites, and academic articles: I can read something, and then based on that reading I can comment on it on this blog, I can use the articles as part of a literature review for articles I am writing, and I can discuss ideas about such articles on twitter, google+, or other forums.

In essence, I am forking an idea, or parts of an idea, and rolling those parts into my own understanding of the world.  How is this significant, and why is this an "aha" moment today?  I remember, about 10 years ago, when I started blogging regularly (on a now defunct blog), the goal of bloggers seemed to be to get people to come to their blogs and engage with them on their own turf (their own blog).  These days that doesn't seem to matter as much, at least for most people.  If people comment on my blog posts I am genuinely surprised. I am also surprised that at least 60 people a day read this thing.  Obviously a small minority comment, but the most important aspect here is that ideas carry forward, and hopefully their stimulate discussion. Thus, an idea can grow rhizomatically, starting from one source - a blog, a tweet, a newspost, and it can grow in many different directions. 

My pondering is this: how does one bring back all those roots to one central place, or does it make sense to bunch-up and organize those paths that the rhizome forges? What's more important? The total sum of information collected?  Or one's traversal through that path?

thoughts?


NOTES:
† The notion of completeness is problematic in MOOCs, but this case I mean "complete" by earning one or more badges - I think this is what the designers and facilitators probably consider complete as well.
- A side note here - the little reminder that I might be falling behind #HumanMOOC prompted me to look more closely at it today.  Nice touch.  One of my research threads deals with motivation of learners in MOOCs, and I am wondering what the effect of such gentle reminders are. A while back, maybe in during #Change11 I had pondered about the use of analytics and reminders like this. Wonder if anyone has done any research work on this.
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