This week’s assignment was to reach consensus on a task, and here is an attempt to do the resultant task. (I am aware that the consensus is still pending and I am prepared to do another attempt if the consensus will finally be different.) The task, as I understand it now, is to write about my experience of this course, and to take into account the aspect of community.
1. After some less satisfying MOOCs, this is once again a cMOOC as I love it — with much more asynchronous, reflective components than rapid-fire synchronous elements. In particular, with more blogging than chatting in Facebook-style or in live sessions. And the input is very high quality and very well introduced.
Almost exactly 10 years after CCK08, it suggests itself to compare it to that mother of all MOOCs. This time the topic is more special and difficult, so I still have to pick or skip the pieces of content (thereby practicing again this critical literacy of autonomously navigating the abundance), but this time the audience is a bit smaller and so fortunately I do not have to skip among participants’ contributions but can read them all.
2. My rough estimate is that approximately one third of the visible participants (i.e. those posting under the course tag) have written not more than 2 posts yet, so this is IMHO a healthy indication of diverse people dipping in and out as they want. This large variance, to me, also effects that I don’t have the impression of a community in the sense of a group with a common goal, like an activism group or one of enthusiasts, or anything like companionship, comradeship, confraternity, communion, parish/ fold/ congregation, or club. At most, I would compare it to the residence or municipality community which is defined by something like a common zip code (here, by using the hashcode el30), and whose residents have, in a certain limited sense, a common ‘fate‘ (again limited, to the 9 weeks).
Of course, the more frequent exchanges and deeper discussions among some who blog or comment more often, may create a feeling of resonance, of stronger ties, and perhaps the onset of some trust. But there is no border that could be drawn between active and inactive ‘members’ — it is a network, with liquid boundaries, where it is hard to guess if a person would denote themselves as ‘belonging to’ the ‘community’.
So, the total constituency/ population of those eligible for this week’s consensus, feels rather loose to me, and it is an intriguing game to artificially simulate a common ‘fate’ for us, for just a few days, by this brief to achieve a consensus. And it is interesting to think about what if this was really a matter of fate that would require trust among strangers.
3. But back to the course itself. What was the unique outstanding feature for me, was a certain duality in almost all weeks:
- There was a technical sense of the weekly concept,
- and there were far-reaching aspects far above that technical stuff.
For example, ‘identity’: just as owner of a private key, and as a whole person. Or ‘recognition’: as plaudits such as mundane little badges, and as central idea of the knowledge creation. This combination of two seemingly distinct layers, has been an extremely inspiring food for thought. And in a private backchannel exchange, a friend pointed out that this duality is similar to the big difficulty of understanding connectivism: that there is a lower layer of neurons, and an upper layer of people, which are seemingly very distinct things.