I learned something today. I learned that even in an open online course using an broad social media group, open learning is not a given. I erroneously assumed that within such a structure, we would all be utilizing whatever resources we could just to learn and grow together. Open courses do not instantaneously make connected educators…. just as open education does not instantaneously make a self-directed learner.
Of course in this group of close to 300 people, we are allowed to share funny videos, urban legends, unrelated pictures, and ask tons of questions that no one answers, but we can’t connect with each other outside of the group. Oh no. That would encourage people to spam us with educational information when we choose to click on the link and read someone’s blog. I purposely have not been posting my recent blog thinking around the course content because I didn’t want to be seen as spamming… I thought this might be a way to start a blog-to-blog conversation and add classmates to my feed reader. And maybe the post does really seem self-seeking…. my intent was to share blogs with people, not direct traffic to mine. I was much more comfortable when I didn’t think anyone was reading my blog than I am now- it’s a scary thing to be transparent in your thinking and ask for feedback.
I need to be more patient in teaching others about connected learning. I forget that it isn’t normal to everyone. I do appreciate the kindness and humor with which the moderator commented (blacked out to protect his/her privacy). As with all things in this course, there is the possibility that age and culture is coloring the conversation… I’m older, and so posts about being nervous for a quiz feel sophomoric. I’d just like to discuss the concepts, how others are incorporating them into their classroom/life, and learn where my thinking needs challenged. In other words, I’m a serious old lady. I’m also unsure of the nationality of the commenter, but it may be that open sharing of information is frowned upon in his/her country. Regardless, I deleted the comment as requested and removed myself from the group as it wasn’t an effective learning environment for me.
The funny part? I found out about this network in the course discussion forums where they shared a link (SPAM!) to the Facebook group. Am I the only one that sees the irony in that?
How could I handle this better in the future? Do you limit yourself only to open networks?
(Taking my ball and going home…. er, back to Twitter and Feedly where the conversation and thoughts run free.)