6 min. long Pecha Kucha. Short paper presentation at #NLC2016, I'll provide a link to the full study (my dissertation!) soon. If you attended the presentation you will notice that I added some more content to explain "open literacies."
This research wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Gardner Campbell, the Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success, Dean of University College, and Associate Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Also special thanks to Jon Becker, Bonnie Boaz, Ryan Cales, Jason Coats, Laura Gogia, Jessica Gordon, and Tom Woodward for their kindness and support throughout the research.
The focus of my research...
I did an interpretive exploration of five open participants' learning experiences in a massive open online course (MOOC)...very different than doing a survey study or quantitative analysis (in a survey study or in networked analysis you don’t necessarily know about your participants)...
I used interviews, participant observations, and document and artefact analysis... brings you closer to the research participants, enables you to make an emotional connection with them, with the research context. They become friends, colleagues, inspirations over time.
Thinking about learner blogs as archeological sites...
Formal and informal... it’s not a binary division... not a blend of black and white...
diversity and richness of open participant blogs... multifaceted and unique... colorful authentic identities
The factors hat helped third learning spaces to emerge are: ..this does not mean that they did not benefit from the formal, official course structure. In fact, in the context of the study, it was conducive to the emergence of third learning spaces. ... Open participation and the emergence of third learning spaces make sense only in the presence of the formal course.
Downes (2013a) posits that a course (1) “is bounded by a start date and an end date,” (2) “is cohered by some common theme or domain of discourse,” and (3) “is a progression of ordered events related to that domain.” Findings from this study, however, show that when learners are given a choice to self-organize their learning experience and when they are welcomed to the environment with their authentic identities, a course can expand beyond those boundaries quite effortlessly.
Third Learning Spaces in Open Online Courses: Findings from an Interpretive Case Study
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Third Learning Spaces in Open
Online Courses: Findings from an
Interpretive Case Study
AP/Nestle Purina PetCare
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Open participants had diverse entry and exit points.
Open participants interpreted assignment deadlines as
Open participants blogged about their experiences (as opposed
to posting assignments).
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Third Learning Spaces:
Spaces where informal skills, networks, and
identities are welcomed into formal learning and
create opportunities for authentic interaction and
knowledge building (Cronin, 2014; Gutierrez,
Rymes, & Larson, 1995).
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“The third space is more than a bridge that connects
formal with the informal...it is an acknowledgement of
individual identities, experiences, backgrounds.”
(Catherine Cronin, personal communication, May 19,
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...following routes of personal and individual interest, …
from quiet contemplative spaces (i.e., blogs) to engaged
interactive community spaces (e.g., the course hub),
through doorways that allow [them] to make
connections between [their] past and present, between
outside and inside and take [them] consciously or
unconsciously over learning thresholds. (Mackness,
Open participants were...
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identities, skills, and
into formal learning
and capitalized on as
There was space for
Prior experience with
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The third learning spaces learners created
point out to an authentic engagement
with the course, which merges the formal
with the informal in original ways.
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This type of authenticity, although
sometimes short-lived, challenges
traditional and top-down notions of success
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It also challenges the meaning of a
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pointed out to the
need to focus on
open processes in
I also argue that
there is a need to
focus on open
literacies (a subset
of digital literacy)
in open courses.
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Open literacies: Skills and attitudes
needed for successfully navigating and
participating in open online spaces.
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Open literacy may include knowledge of copyright,
an awareness of one’s imagined and authentic
audiences, being able to make informed decisions
as to when and how to become public or
anonymous and the ethics of using and repurposing
the traces of publicly available data, including the
traces of open scholarship.
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The narration of practice and work and
thinking started before and continues after
#thoughtvectors. (Cindy Jennings, 2015)
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