Friday, February 10, 2012

Learner, not lurker... #change11

I’m still captivated by apologies on the MOOC. Lately, I notice blog entries where participants label themselves “lurkers.” While I understand the term as it relates to Internet culture and discussion boards, I read it as a form of apology or a caveat to informal, infrequent participation in this course which so often doesn’t feel like a course.

For my own part, my work in open courses ebbs and flows. At times I am a virtual version of the student who sits up front and raises his hand a little too much. Other times, I’m the person who asked to survey a popular course, only to show up late, unfamiliar with the material being discussed. These analogies come from traditional education because that is how I understand my participation in any course.

As a learner unbundling content relevant to me I have to make sense of how I am learning, what I am learning and how reading and writing fit in my daily life. In order to completely understand how I am learning from a MOOC, I have to also set aside my traditional schooling and consider other challenging and rewarding- informal- learning experiences. I have to think about how I learn to parent.  

Coming back to this MOOC, despite my late arrival and my occasional “lurker” status, the course will impact my work. I will read Howard Rheingold’s new book and think about the implications for reading instruction in public schools. I will think about how attention probes might inform some burgeoning reading intervention ideas like Internet reciprocal teaching.

I want to set aside the term “lurker” for myself and think about participation in an open course as something that ebbs and flows with my life. I prefer “learner.” I also want to revisit every apology I have had to make for falling behind in a course I paid handsomely for that didn’t meet my needs.

1 comment:

  1. wonderful post, thanks. Awhile back there was a discussion about whether this is a course or a conference, given the abundance of topics and the self direction one employs to pick and choose what is relevant. Why does it matter? And aren't those categories just vestigial structures like the apologies we give for not behaving like good students. I have adopted the term learner over student in the past few years without really considering the significance of the difference. Open learning, distributed learning is for learners, those who are willing to establish new norms of behavior and standards for satisfaction with the learning process. Jane