Thoughts on connectivism and cMOOCs

I was first exposed to connectivism last year in Chris Dede’s class on educational technology. That class was when I first learned (at least in terms of formal definitions) about constructivism, behaviorism, and cognitivism, so I was (and am) by no means an expert on learning theories. That being said, the idea of connectivism was definitely striking to me. A person’s productivity strongly depends on the connections they have (e.g., when they encounter an obstacle, do they know someone who has an easy solution, or would they always try to work through the obstacle them self?) so to me it makes sense that learning and education should be tied to those connections as well. From a purely practical perspective, people don’t work in a vacuum in “the real world,” so it doesn’t make sense to artificially create a vacuum for them to work and be assessed in at school.

But while I learned about connectivism last semester, whatever I learned about cMOOCs (if anything) didn’t seem to stick. Like most people exposed to some education journalism, at the beginning of MIT Massive “MOOC” was synonymous to me with what I now know is referred to as an xMOOC. Perhaps it was just that I needed a concrete example, but after exploring the ds106 page (a cMOOC on digital storytelling) I am very taken with the idea. It paints a picture of how learning should be: driven by student interests, supported by a community, and focused on outputs that students can be proud of (basically all the positive features listed in the DML Connected Learning report).

At some point, perhaps when I have more time (haha, the mantra of a PhD student) or I’m more interested in having digital storytelling be a focus of my personal development, I’d like to go through the open ds106 course. As tangential participation through MIT Massive, I just decided to try a couple of the daily creates, short suggestions for making something that are put together by the ds106 community. I enjoyed both of the exercises I tried. They were relatively quick (~30 minutes each), allowed me to exercise creativity, and had a nice product at the end. I guess most importantly, it was fun to go through the process of making them.

For TDC1385 I wrote calligraphy of some Drake lyrics:

Drake Calligraphy

When I first saw the prompt, I thought the idea of writing out Drake lyrics in calligraphy was hillarious: I like the juxtaposition of the old and new. I was confused that none of the submitted responses were in calligraphy, until I read the prompt more closely. Even though it called for an illustration of the meaning, I found the literal interpretation of the prompt too funny to pass up.

For TDC1358 I designed a custom road sign:


This was inspired by a run in I had with a Boston driver earlier in the day (I guess technically it was a Boston passenger, he wasn’t driving the car) who cursed at my friend and I for not crossing the street when we had a “don’t walk” signal. Sometimes it feels like whatever you do, there’s a Boston driver who thinks you’re an idiot for it.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on connectivism and cMOOCs”

  1. Thanks for sharing your Daily Create experience– for many of us reading about the ideas behind what you create is as valuable or more than the thing you make. This is especially true when, as you did with the calligraphy one, choose the way you want to respond.

    Come back and do more! Two daily creates is just a sip of the magic soup….

    1. Thanks for the response Alan, I’ve bookmarked the Daily Create page and will make a point to visit again and try some more.

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