Open Learning Irony

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.)


3 thoughts on “Open Learning Irony”

  1. Julie. I read some of your early posts (2011) about Emondo in the classroom. Our school is just introducing this to our 3rd grade class. I’m interested in hearing your feedback with 3+ years of experience and student observation. Thank you.

    1. Hi Greg- I’m still using Edmodo, but in an alternative independent learning program where we use it to communicate with students and their adult mentors.

      I was mentioning to another commenter that if I were back in the classroom setting again, I would simply make use of the ‘read only’ feature that Edmodo added for all students. I would then require them to earn the privilege of commenting by completing an internet safety curriculum, maybe preparing their own mini-presentation on the importance of spotless social media behavior, and probably a specific parental agreement around student use. Misbehavior results in removal of commenting status and some kind of ‘reteach’ of social media etiquette.

      I really like the platform… haven’t found anything better yet.

      1. Julie,

        Thank you for your feedback.

        One of my concerns with Emodo and it’s social networking environment is that it has the potential to diminish the teach-student relationship where the teacher becomes seen by the 3rd graders as more of a peer than as an authority. My other concern is for the school and their potential liability for the online misbehavior of a few.

        Were these issues back when you were in the classroom setting?

        Thank you again for your insight.

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