Weltanschauung: Changing views, changing systems

George Siemens on Nov 24th 2009

Originally, this week was to be a conference week with the representation from U of M’s business faculty. However, things haven’t quite materialized :) . Our topic, stays the same – weltanschauung: changing views, changing systems.

The last several decades have brought about significant change in the information cycle (creation, validation, sharing, repurposing) and in how people interact with each other. Each era creates institutions that reflect the information-based needs they face (McNeely & Wolverton). Libraries in Alexandria, the Academy in Greece, churches in the middle ages, and schools/universities (~800 years ago). If we want to understand the institutions a society will create, we must first understand the nature and attributes of information of that era. And that’s what we’ve been doing so far in CCK09.

The readings this week provide an opportunity to think about systemic change in education:

New structures and spaces of learning: The systemic impact of connective knowledge, connectivism, and networked learning

Higher Education, Globalization, and the Knowledge Economy

Week 11 Discussion Forum

Week 11: Live Session – here in elluminate 4 pm, CST (time zone conversion)

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Week 10: Research in Connectivism

George Siemens on Nov 16th 2009

This is a “reading-less” week.

I have on numerous occasions tried to organize discussions on the type of research needed within the connectivism framework. I’ve tried Ning sites. Google Groups. My blog. Wikis. The list goes on.

I’d like to make a concerted effort this week to address two basic questions:

1. What types of research is needed around connectivism?

2. Which methodologies should be employed to address these research areas?

The last few years has brought growing attention to connectivism as a research topic. The addition of several peer-reviewed publications to the discussion pool has helped. So have conference presentations – either looking at connectivism or looking at CCK08. Now, with CCK09 almost done, we have the value of comparison between the two open courses.

This year, I’m committed to the formation of a research network of individuals who are interested in actively researching connectivism/networked learning. This network will serve to provide idea exchange and suggestions for individuals tackling publication and research. I’m aware of other groups that have also set up ning sites…greater collaboration with these groups is important. I don’t want to bring everything under one umbrella, but I think greater focus on research projects around connectivism is important.

As always, contribute in any forum you wish (just remember the CCK09 tag). I’ve set up two moodle forums this week (one on research topics and one on methods).

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Week 9: Net Pedagogy

George Siemens on Nov 8th 2009

Week 9 is a conference week, focusing on Net Pedagogy. This will be a great opportunity to reflect on how social networks and networked technology impact how we teach and learn. We’ve lined up five excellent speakers for the week:

Martin Weller
Title: Is there a pedagogy of abundance?
Description: In a digital age we have seen a fundamental shift in many of the basic economic models underlying industries as they move from an economic model based on scarcity to one based on abundance. This is a discussion based session in which I wish to explore whether the same transformation is occurring in education, and are our existing pedagogic models based around an assumption of scarcity, rather than abundance?
Time: Wed, November 11. Time conversions (5pm GMT)

Frances Bell
Title: Transparent Teaching and Learning: what remains when the teacher disappears
Description: This session’s deliberately ambiguous title (is it a statement or a question?) encourages us to think about teachers disappearing and appearing. Rather than eliminating teaching and teachers, I recommend that we rediscover what is great about them and how that can work in a changing world. I will deliver a brief paean on teachers and teaching, thinking about why we have them, how they change their practice, and how learning takes place without teaching. I will conclude with a few observations on how teachers applied the theory of connectivism to their practice (from my participation in CCK08). Then the important part of the session will be where participants help answer the questions (using Dave Cormier’s interactive slides approach):

· Do we need teachers? Why? Why not?
· What remains when the teacher disappears?
· What informs teachers’ practice?

I hope you can join us and answer my questions.
Time: Wed, November 11 Time Conversions 2000 GMT

Stephen Downes
Title: Open Education: Projects and Potential [webcast of an f2f presentation]
The internet offers society the opportunity to provide access to a free or affordable education for all. This concept is known as ‘open education’ and is the subject of various projects, such as ‘Open Education Resources’ (OER) or the Open Courseware Project (OCW). This talk will look at the principle of open education, talk about major projects, describe the role played by educational technology, and outline some of the challenges.
Time: November 12, 10:45 – 11:45 am EST (time conversion)

Stephen Downes
Title: Speaking in Lolcats: What Literacy Means in teh Digital Era [Webcast of an f2f presentation]
The internet has introduced us to a world in which we can communicate with each other in a wide variety of media. Where formally we could only talk and sing to each other, now we can create videos, author animations, link to videos and images and cartoons, and more, mix and match these in a complex open-ended vocabulary. What it means to be literate in such an information age is fundamentally distinct from the literacy of the 3Rs, and teaching new literacy an evolving challenge for those of us still struggling to learn it. This talk looks at the elements of 21st century literacies, redefines critical thinking for the internet age, and suggests a redefinition of what we think of as ‘core’ curriculum.
Time: November 12: 2:45 – 3:45 pm EST (Time conversion)

Vicki Davis
Title: Differenting Instruction and Global Collaboration
Description: Differentiation may seem easy to those who have art supplies and other tools handy, but how does it look when it goes online and student connections become part of the learning process? Vicki Davis, co founder of the Flat Classroom(tm) Projects will lead a discussion sharing some of differentiation strategies used when global classrooms merge in rich, online learning experiences.
Time: November 12 Various time zone conversions (7 pm, EST…NOT GMT)

Terry Anderson
Title:Distance Education Pedagogy Past and Networked Future
Description: In this session Terry presents and contrast 3 generations of distance education pedagogy. He examines the tools and philosophy of cognitive/behavioural, constructivist and connectivist models.
He begins the session discussing ways that users – teachers and learners, have capacity to socially construct the use and applications of the tools we use. He finally presents an argument for supporting both group and network learning contexts in formal and lifelong education and overviews a possible model for Athabasca University.
Time: Friday, November 13th Time zone conversions 3 pm EST

All sessions will be held here in Elluminate. Discussion will be held in this moodle forum.

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Week 8: Openness and Transparency

George Siemens on Nov 2nd 2009

In order for connections to form, openness is important.

But how open? Is there such a thing as too open?

Should all content and materials be freely available? What value does a university gain from keeping research “closed”? What about teaching? Should that be open as well?

Transparency is related to openness. Openness is most often related to content. Transparency, in contrast, involves making our learning explicit through forums, blogs, presentations, podcasts, and videos. Throughout this course, I’ve made the statement that “when you are transparent in your learning, you are teaching others”. Most people, however, are uncomfortable taking the risk of posting half-baked ideas publicly. Trust and personal sense of security is important for learners. Learning is an act of vulnerability. Given the somewhat intense flame-wars that arise online or the rude level of discourse (have a look at the comments of any popular YouTube video) in forums, feelings of vulnerability trump participation.

This week:

1. This week is an opportunity for you to reflect on what openness means to you, what benefits you get from being open, and concerns with transparent learning (as well as how you expect to overcome those concerns).
2. View videos/presentations by Alan Levine on Amazing Stories of Openness.

2. Share your own story of openness – post to Blip/Youtube, create a podcast, or a blog post. Be sure to tag CCK09.

3. Attend live session – this Thurs at 6 pm CST (time zone conversion) here in elluminate.

4. And, of course, stop by the moodle discussion forum for week 8, post your comments on your blog, etc.

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Week 6: Power and Authority

George Siemens on Oct 25th 2009

Networked technologies have changed power and authority. This week, we’ll explore to what degree and in what ways power and authority have been altered in learning.

The Fifth Estate — Through the Network (of Networks) .pdf

Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? (.pdf) (this is a long paper/book. Skim sections that you find to be of interest).


Thursday, Oct 29, 6 pm CST (time zone conversion). We will meet here in elluminate.


1. Continue regular weekly activities – blogging, developing your concept map, and follow the distributed conversation through various sites (pageflakes, delicious, Google Alerts, Twitter search).

2. Post your updated concept map on your blog.

3. Continue to work on your final presentation.

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Week 6: Complex adaptive systems

George Siemens on Oct 19th 2009

After an excellent set of PLE conference presentations (thanks to presenters and attendees!), we now return to the regular structure of the course. This week, we will discuss complex adaptive systems (CAS). Complex adaptive systems are “fluidly changing collections of distributed interacting components that react to both their environments and to one another.”

While CAS does not have its origins in learning science, the principles are relevant and informative. The experience of learning is complex and adaptive – students experiencing the same lecture will have different recall and points of interest. Feedback from peers and faculty can shape and redirect learner’s knowledge. The complexity – often unknowable – impact of interventions and starting points of learning need to be acknowledged. Curriculum design and delivery reflects an assumption of structure and orderliness that just doesn’t exist in the learning process.

For week 6:

Read this short article on complexity, chaos, and emergence

Complexity and Information Overload in Society: why increasing efficiency leads to decreasing control (.pdf)

Developing Online From Simplicity toward Complexity: Going with the Flow of Non-Linear Learning

Live Elluminate session on Thurs this week at 2:00 pm CST (time conversion)

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Week 5: Personal Learning Environments

George Siemens on Oct 11th 2009

This week is a conference week. The foundation of connectivism have been addressed in the first four weeks of the course: details of the theory, network structures, collectives/connectives, and a networked view of knowledge. In week five, we’ll discuss how connectivism is reflected both technologically and pedagogically through Personal Learning Environments.

Details of the conference – speakers, abstracts, and times can be found on the conference website (schedule). All sessions will be recorded, so if you are unable to attend them live, an archive will be available.

All sessions will be held in this Elluminate room.

Activities for the week:

1. Continue working on your first paper on connectivism

2. Flesh out your concept map (short overview of concept mapping)

3. Contribute to the Moodle discussion forum for the PLE conference. What is your reaction to PLEs? What are obstacles to adoption?

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Week 4: Connective Knowledge.

George Siemens on Oct 4th 2009

Attempts to define and describe knowledge run as far back as the earliest recordings of philosophy. What is knowledge? How do we know something as being true? What do we permit as acceptable evidence to support claims? These questions form the basis of science, art (to the degree that it permits discussions of knowledge), education, and learning. Some – such as von Glaserfeld argue that we are in a post-epistemological era. Does knowledge still matter?

Our topic this week is complex, challenging, and will likely *not* be resolved in one week. But, in discussions of knowledge, the process of questioning is as valuable as the outcome.


Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge

Rhizomatic Knowledge (Dave Cormier) – free registration to Innovate is required to read the article.



1. Post comments and reflections on week readings on your blog. Participate in discussions in the Moodle forum. Provide comments to blog posts of other course participants.

2. Work on your concept map – capture key themes in the ongoing conversation that resonate with your views of learning and knowledge

3. If you haven’t done so to date, begin to follow the CCK09 tag via Google Alerts, search for recent posts on CCK09 on Twitter, and begin tracking and contributing to del.icio.us tags on connectivism and networked learning

4. Weekly live session in elluminate on Thursday at 6 pm CST (Time Zone Conversion)

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Week 3: Connectives and Collectives

George Siemens on Sep 27th 2009

Week 3 Introductory Video

Groups Vs Networks: The Class Struggle Continues – Stephen Downes

That Group Feeling – Stephen Downes

Downes Interview: Groups and Networks (here’s the image from the video)

Group and Network (presentation, George Siemens…this presentation is from CCK08…but still reflects my view that groups are a type of network)


Collectives, Networks and Groups in Social Software for E-Learning – Terry Anderson and John Dron

7 Habits of Highly Connected People – Stephen Downes


As mentioned at the start of CCK09, we want to take advantage of cross-course learning opportunities. This week, George will be presenting on the topic of What is Connectivism? to EC & I 831, an open course offered by Alec Couros: Tues 7 pm Regina Time (conversion to other time zones) (NOTE different Elluminate link for this session)

Elluminate discussion: Thursday, Oct 1, 2 pm CST (time zone conversion). This session will be held in our regular Elluminate room


1. Continue regular weekly activities – blogging, developing your concept map, and follow the distributed conversation through various sites (pageflakes, delicious, Google Alerts). In your blog posts, consider the question: Have you begun to see the rudiments of a learning network forming? Has some of the conceptual uncertainty settled?

2. If you have not done so, set up an account with Google Reader and subscribe to a few of the blogs from fellow participants that you’ve found to be insightful or valuable in your learning.

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Week 2: Networks and Network Structure

George Siemens on Sep 21st 2009


Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find a comprehensive introductory resource detailing structures of networks online. Many excellent articles exist…but are behind pay walls. (If you have access and are interested in exploring, start with Barabasi, Watts, Granovetter). The articles listed below will provide a bit of an introduction. We will go into greater depth during our live discussion this week (time to be posted). During the live session, we will explore in greater detail terms such as: strong/weak ties, hubs, scale-free networks, small worlds, centrality, etc.

Short Introduction to social network analysis

Network science

Stephen Downes: Learning Networks: Theory and Practice .ppt and audio (this link may not work early in the week as Stephen is experiencing issues with his website)


Networks for Newbies .ppt


1. Live elluminate session: Friday, 3 pm CST (time zone conversions). We will be meeting here in elluminate

2. To take advantage of other open online courses, you may wish to visit Alec Couros course this week by attending a presentation by Richard Schwier on learning communities. The session runs at 7 pm (Saskatchewan time) (GMT-6) here in elluminate

3. Post comments and reflections on week 2 readings on your blog. Participate in week 2 discussions in the Moodle forum…in particular, share resources on networks that you encounter in your browsing this week.

4. Start developing your concept map (you may have to scroll down for details on completing the CMAP)

5. Review the assignment requirements for your first paper

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