Everything in moderation… even Connected Learning

Connected Learning…. To be honest, I’m a little skeptical. When I think about the classes I’ve had so far that included a connected learning model, they haven’t been great experiences. I’ve had required blogs for three courses and I would say at most one of those course blogs that I’ve written contains material of substance while the other two were simply meeting a requirement. I never felt engaged by the material in these classes and the required blogs each week just diluted the experience that much more. To me, connected learning has been… overwhelming. When you have X students required to write X blogs each week and make X comments as well as X posts on the class facebook page and X tweets and X comments on the Scholar chat room and so on, I’m afraid more often than not, you just get noise. How can we be more engaged in a connected learning environment without this overwhelming noise? How can we enrich the experiences of ourselves and our students without the inevitable mindless comments: “John has a good point” and “This is a great article” and the like? I hope we are able to answer these questions as part of GEDI this semester.

I’m particularly interested in how we can incorporate the Connected Learning model into STEM education. Using social media as a means of communicating scientific results and sharing knowledge can certainly be effective and engaging, but how can we incorporate this into the classroom in a meaningful way?


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9 Responses to Everything in moderation… even Connected Learning

  1. fdelamota

    The classes that I have taken so far that included a forum or some other sort of connected-discussion scheme have also not been the greatest for me. As I have mentioned in another comment on someone else’s post, my best learning experiences in a classroms have been those where the professor came to class with a bullte-point list of concepts to cover in that session. So forums, no blogs, no online material, not even powerpoint. Just a sheet of paper and a chalk board, and a fun way to engage students into the material by asking questions and responding to those questions with real life stories.

    I am also in STEM education and I am looking forward to see how this course can help me engage students through connected learning while at the same time use my time efficiently. So far I find Scholar, blogs and forums exhausting for the most part. But I must say that I do enjoy writing.

  2. daa1815

    I as well have not had positive online course or “connected learning” experiences. I hate blogs, but am willing to read/write for this class. I did not have a twitter account until this class, and am not likely to continue using it afterward. Computers, smartphones, etc., are great tools for all kinds of different things, but as replacements for classrooms, for face-to-face education interaction? I’m not sold.

  3. ytaylor9

    I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts here. Saying that is kind of proving your point above with the mindless comments, but I think on the flip side blogging can be very useful for the interactions where there are disagreements and actual discussion can happen. I’m more than skeptical about blogging, but I am interested in seeing if at some point this semester I am able to engage in conversations via blogging on topics not about blogging itself, but rather important and interesting topics. Disagreements that lead to debate are some of my favorite interactions with people so if blogging can contribute in that way I’ll be more inclined to participate.

  4. anoble

    I absolutely agree with connected learning in moderation. I think it is important to leave the classroom and reflect on what you’ve learned. In STEM there are certain classes and modules within those classes where it is appropriate and others where it is not. I think that integrating connected components while not making them requirements within STEM would be helpful for introducing new concepts. Online chat rooms and youtube videos are great aids that we all have used as undergrads to understand difficult concepts, I think that having them worked into the classroom and moderated by the instructor would be pretty a great way to flush out difficult concepts.

  5. When we first started talking in class about the requirements that included blogging and commenting on other student’s blogs, I was also thinking about the same thing, especially that there were no details about these requirements and the fact that we could write pretty much about anything. But this could also lead to a fun and fruitful experience that lets people say anything that’s on their mind and let others benefit from it. Let’s wait and see… and hopefully this class would be better that your previous classes.

  6. dbasu

    I think, network resources can be incorporated meaningfully in a classroom setting for STEM courses. Students can either explore internet to do research work about a topic, teachers can assign videos to students to help them prepare about a concept before class or to elaborate on a topic, or have discussion forum where the teacher pose challenging questions around the concept being learnt in class for students to answer. This being said, connected learning becomes effective when the facilitation is done is a proper way.
    For this class, I liked that we can express our understanding through Blogs and each one can read others’ blog to understand their view point. But still I do not understand the pressure of replying to 3 blogs and what we learn out of it. I understand may be, that develops our reflecting power, but I like class discussions and reflecting in class, rather than reflecting to a particular blog. I have also seen people interpreting connected learning in various ways that if different from my understand. So is all the view points valid or not? Lets see…
    Waiting for today’s class to see how these blogs and replies are connected in the discussion of the class and how it is used to clear/modify everyone’s understanding about connected learning.

  7. Jacob Metch

    I agree with you about the dissatisfaction of blogging for classes. I touched on this in my blog post as well. I struggle with coming up with subjects to write about that are interesting to me and related to the class material.

    As for the connected learning-STEM cross-over, I am also interested in learning more about this in this class. I think the majority of STEM classes must keep a stand and deliver format, but I think social media and blogging could be worked into the course as well. For example I have to blog for an interdisciplinary group that I am in, but the demand is low and the freedom is high. With that kind of structure I think blogging keeps what makes it fun. The trick will be getting a reflective blog on class materials, while still allowing the freedom to keep it fun.

  8. akin01

    I definitely agree with your point. I think this learning model (i.e. connected learning) still needs to evolve into something much more meaningful. For me, classes using the methods espoused in connected learning are often not as rigorous as they could be since the emphasis is now much more on the student and his/her “connectedness” than on the subject matter.

  9. I believe the peer-review process can be effectively integrated into Connected Learning in the classroom. In the scientific community, professionals rely on each other to critically assess all scientific claims through the peer review process. This would not be possible without collaboration and communication with the outside professional world, ideals Connected Learning hopes to promote.

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