And not a stellar one. My participation in the CCK08 Connectivism course has been patchy at best. In fact, it reminds me of that Sex and the City episode that I saw in reruns recently: I'm just not that into it. There's no soul-searching to be done here, nothing wrong with the course, or with me, but I signed up for it without really knowing what it was and was sort of along for the ride and although it is a little interesting, it doesn't grab my attention enough to compete with the other things I have going on.
This offers me, however, insight into students. Some of my students might not be into all of their classes, and maybe not mine!!!!! What a concept. So this is how it feels. Nothing against the prof, or the structure of the course, or the material. Just not that into it.
I haven't taken a course that I wasn't really really into for a very long time. I liked just about everything in grad school, and truth be told, that was a while ago. I was very interested in the material in the two NEH Summer Seminars I did, which are the closest things to courses I've been in since grad school, although the pace was intense and maybe I didn't read every single word of every assigned reading (just like grad school!) The Creativity in Second Life course through MassArt was fantastic and I am enjoying the Relaxation Response course I am taking now in Second Life, and although it took me a couple of weeks to get into the rhythm of doing the assigned readings, now I have the book near my bed and I'm up to date. All of this is to say that, really, there isn't anything wrong with me as a student/sabbatical researcher.
And CCK08 is an amazing thing. I wish the course were about something else! Or had started off about something else, because I have the sense from reading the snippets of Moodle discussions in the Daily e-mails that the focus has now shifted away from 'what is connectivism?' to less-specialized topics that I do know something about.
Is it possible that if we were meeting in real life, I could become more interested, could have enough of a human connection that my interest would be sparked, that I could ask just the right question and get the right answers so that it would begin to make sense and be relevant, and then I would be into it? Who knows? The teacher in me wants to think so, although it is also slightly liberating in a lazy way to think that it is not. Just not that into it.
And there may be something wrong with me, after all. There was one blog posting or moodle post or something that I will never be able to track down again that suggested that the only way to participate in CCK08's massively open environment is to figure it all out yourself, that no one is going to show you how the various tools work (although I suspect there are plenty of helpful folks who would give help if one asked), that no one is going to baby you and make it easy for you to participate. You have to jump in! Well, there is a part of me that doesn't like that in a course, that misses the people, and doesn't find the online, mostly text-based, very fragmentary-feeling and superficial interaction to have enough, uh, connection. I tried the Elluminate, and also the Friday discussion, and was interested in the tools, but maybe just as not everyone likes the large lecture (or the small discussion), the massively open experience is not for everyone, either. There is no doubt I am in over my head in terms of the material (more in the first 2 weeks than since), but that has been my m.o. throughout my interdisciplinary intellectual life--to jump into the unfamiliar discipline, albeit as a reader of traditional published scholarship, not the variety of discourses that comprise CCK08. Maybe having both the content and the methods be new is too much at one time.
It may also be a function of sabbatical life, me and my computer, that I focus on the solitary and alienating aspects of everything these days. I think I miss teaching, and being one out of 2000+ in a massively open class is not the same as being the professor in a class of my beloved Berklee students. I know, cry me a river. Still, the insight makes me want to finally buy some land in SL and set up a nice space where I can interview some people about what's new in new media, as well as conduct some interviews in real life. Connect with people.
What IS L1Aura up to these days, you wonder? Meditating daily in SL, doing some yoga there, too (where she is unsurprisingly more flexible than I am, could do the tree pose for all eternity, or at least until the laptop battery runs out), and spending some quality time under water.