Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CCK08: Week 1

CCK08, the massively multi-participant learning experience being mounted by George Siemens and Stephen Downes at the University of Manitoba, is a 12-week on-line course called "Connectivism and Connective Knowledge" that has over 1900 people who signed up for it.  That is indeed massive.  There are also about 70 of us in a Second Life group.  
The first synchronous meeting in Elluminate is being held in a couple of hours, although the time was switched and so now there are two meetings, so maybe not as fully synchronous as one would like, but coordinating people from around the world is not easy.
So far, the facilitators have been sending out the "Daily," a, well, daily e-mail with a summary of discussion, links, announcements, and readings.  I wonder how many of the 1900+ are specifically interested in the topic of "connectivism" (which is facilitator's Siemen's revision of the constructivist theory of knowledge in some way that, quite frankly, is not particularly clear to me yet) and how many are interested in the experience of the massively multi-participant class.  
Personally, I am looking forward to using the tools, like Elluminate and moodle, as much as I am interested in the content, and I cannot think of another educational experience I have entered into about which I could say that.  Maybe students choose colleges or grad schools not based primarily on the course content (at least here in America, unlike in the UK, where university students choose the "course" of study rather than a lifestyle or brand, or at least say they do), and then you end up taking specific courses in, say, Humor of the Old Southwest because it is a fabulous professor's interesting specialization that you never even knew existed until you started studying with him (Jim Justus at Indiana University, to be exact).   But in the online world of content delivery and "training" (I am also embarking on some serious work on my Flash scripting chops with during this sabbatical, a different approach), this seems unusual.
Nevertheless, it is always interesting getting a glimpse into someone else's field, someone else's academic argument (is it a theory? is it constructivism by another name?), and exciting to start thinking through how networking is not only a metaphor for learning and thinking, but may be cognition itself.

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