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MOOCs, Rhizomes & Networks

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During the past year, the phenomenon of Massive Open Online Courses – or MOOCs – has been a trend du jour within academia. Framed by co-founder George Siemens as “the Internet happening to education,” MOOCs offer a lens through which to explore how escalating complexity and information abundance impact 21st century higher ed.

Alternately hailed and derided as a disruptive revolution in higher education, MOOCs make visible the fault lines emerging in contemporary academia. Because not only are networked practices encroaching on and expanding the boundaries of conventional educational institutions: so is neoliberalism.

In this keynote for #WILU2013, Dave Cormier and Bonnie Stewart trace a narrative path through the various ways MOOCs challenge institutional education models, focusing particularly on the digital, networked practices that MOOCs were originally intended to embody. They outline rhizomatic and networked models of learning, and the conceptual structures that underpin education as a massive, open, and online enterprise.

Published in: Education
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MOOCs, Rhizomes & Networks

  1. 1. MOOCs, Rhizomes & Networks: 

Information Literacies in a Time of Complexity Abundance@davecormier @bonstewartUniversity of Prince Edward Island
WILU 2013
  2. 2. Untangling 4 Threads•  Information abundance = context •  Networks Rhizomes = structure •  MOOCs = possibilities •  A challenge: Where do we go from here?
  3. 3. The system of higher ed isin shift
  4. 4. 

What comes next?  
  5. 5. Multiple axes of changeknowledge scarcity knowledge abundance open public funding neoliberalism closed
  6. 6. h#p://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelheiss/2871996129/  
  7. 7. Part 1 – A context Oral to catechetical to textbook to 
 digital/market
  8. 8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/killfile/3344595791/
  9. 9. Part 2a – Identities The structure of networks
  10. 10. www.flickr.com/photos/sjcockell/4398929160/  Structures beyond institutional structures
  11. 11. Networked Identities = 
Multiple, Public, Participatory
  12. 12. Always Connected h#p://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanr/142455033/  
  13. 13. Networks expandparticipation
  14. 14. My Networked Connectionsgreater access, diversity, visibility… also increased noise time.
  15. 15. 
Belonging is alwayspartial,
always multiple
  16. 16. Always hybrid
  17. 17. h#p://www.flickr.com/photos/daveduarte/3420117809/  
  18. 18. h#p://www.flickr.com/photos/striaEc/2191408271/  Hard to hear
  19. 19. Signal/Noise Literaciesh#p://www.flickr.com/photos/promediagroup/5726389205/  
  20. 20. Different 
legitimacy practices  Institutional  •  product-focused •  mastery •  hierarchical ties •  plagiarism •  authority in role •  audience = teacher Networked •  process-focused •  participation •  peer-to-peer ties •  crowdsourcing •  authority in reputation •  audience = world
  21. 21. Part 2b – RhizomesWays of navigating networks
  22. 22. ED 366
  23. 23. What do theyneed to know?ww.flickr.com/photos/marcobellucci/3534516458/  
  24. 24. How do I know?ww.flickr.com/photos/marcobellucci/3534516458/  
  25. 25. I don’t know.ww.flickr.com/photos/marcobellucci/3534516458/  
  26. 26. Rhizomes:•  are aggressive, chaotic and resilient. •  are difficult to contain •  follow their own paths •  are multiple http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsnortheast/5951029777/sizes/l/in/photostream
  27. 27. The rhizomaticapproach is about1.  Preparing for uncertainty 2.  Learning when there is no answer 3.  Dealing with complexity 4.  Being responsible to your own learning 5.  Drawing your own map
  28. 28. Part 3a – A convergence An example on the open web
  29. 29. h#p://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/8028605773/  
  30. 30. What’s a MOOC?
  31. 31. “MOOCs are the internethappening to education.” ! ! ! ! ! !- George Siemens, 2012!
  32. 32. Massive
  33. 33. Openh#p://www.flickr.com/photos/neosnaps/2596044654/  
  34. 34. Online
  35. 35. Course
  36. 36. Part 3b – Implications What this means for higher education
  37. 37. MOOCs = Many Thingsh#p://www.flickr.com/photos/garymacfadyen/6860003781/  
  38. 38. h#p://www.flickr.com/photos/noiseprofessor/8270908219  
  39. 39. Education = the finalfrontier      IBIS  Capital:  Global  e-­‐Learning  Investment  Review,  2013    
  40. 40. Education = onlineGSV  Advisors,  2012  
  41. 41. “Education is Broken”  networks neoliberalism Institutionaleducation
  42. 42. Major MOOCs merge networked critique of institutional educationwith neoliberal shock doctrine: “here’s a disaster, here’s a solution.” But MOOCs don’t HAVE to be like that.  

  43. 43. Approaches to MOOCsNeoliberal= AboutMarket Solutions
  Networked= About Connections
  44. 44. Some MOOCs… Harness contribute toknowledge abundance Are participatory Are distributed Generate knowledge connections that extendbeyond course Share the processes ofknowledge work, not just theproducts h#p://www.flickr.com/photos/wiccked/133164205  
  45. 45. Part 4 – Going forward What should I do now?
  46. 46. h#p://alonetogetherbook.com/  
  47. 47. Move online together
  48. 48. @bonstewart @davecormier Participate or Perish.

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