Networked Learning

In this blog I’m going to summarize what I have found interesting in the resources, as well as the reflection of my personal opinions.

What kind of educational experiences change lives?  This is the main question studied from different angels in “Networked Learning as Experiential Learning”. At some point, the author compares the traditional networked learning experiences via hard copy books available in the libraries, with the digital networked computing in the cyberspace. Undoubtedly, the emergence of digital books and later Learning Management Systems (LMS) and related apps has been a paradigm shift in modern education. In my opinion, as we are still learning how to implement the digital educational system effectively, it is important to bolster it with the conventional physical version. For instance, I have always thought that given accessible, inexpensive lightweight Ebooks, they should certainly beat the market . I was totally surprised when I found an opposite trend in “7 Reasons Why Ebook Sales Are Falling–and Print Book Sales Are Rising Again“. One can definitely find similar examples comparing modern LMSs vs. traditional systems, where the latter is mostly based on in-class and face-to-face communications and evaluations. From my point of view, depending on the course subject, students’ age, the level of course and many other factors, keen teachers sought for a good balance between the two modern and traditional forms of course materials to improve the educational experience.

In”Twitter and blogs are not just add-ons to academic research” the author emphasizes the importance of public involvement in academia through social media and blogging. This was an appealing article for me, as I have always overlooked the productive consequence of public engagement in the digital world. It is argued that while many journal articles are merely published to serve the needs of big publishing, it is required for researchers to make use of public channels, e.g., Twitter and blogging , to ENGAGE the readers in academic dialogues. The author believes such virtual conversations simply demonstrate the underlying passion for a subject, and must be publicized to foster the concept of active engagement. He, particularly, encourages early career scholars to expose their research ideas publicly. While they might be afraid of being criticized or see their ideas stolen, the author explains that this is a beneficial resolution in long term to build an audience for their work in the process of doing the work itself. Finally, a very practical tip is proposed which I am eager to try in my future classes: embedding blogs in undergraduate assessment. This sounds like an effective win-win method for undergraduates to improve their academic writing, and for teachers to hear all passive voices and feedbacks.

Three useful ideas to work on the web openly were suggested in the corresponding manifesto: have control over your digital identity, publish your work publicly in a standard format, improve the network effects of your digital work by adding well-structured URLs and tags and applying metadata. In another resource for this assignment, Seth Godin describes blogging as a free functional solution to acquire metacognition of thinking about what you intend to say. He clarifies if you stick with it, regardless of number of your followers, you will good at it and ultimately will be heard.

Last but not least, Dr. Michael Wesch modestly narrates what he learnt from his toddler, George, who endlessly tried to learn how to walk down the stairs. It was absolutely a touching TEDx talk in which the lecturer talked about his journey to get to know his students and their concerns. Spending a lot of time and having one-on-one lunches with his students, Dr. Wesch finally came up with the conclusion that most of them struggle to answer these three principal questions: who am I? what am I going to do? am I going to make it? The speaker presents a novel collaborative model for setting up the course projects which truly impressed me. I am very excited to implement his idea in a future class.

4 Replies to “Networked Learning”

  1. Hi Negin !

    Engage in all caps is definitely what we need! I feel like so much of the conversion in academia is lost to referring people to read endless piles of papers instead of taking the time to describe our work/research in human-understandable language to interested listeners. I think so much energy and effort is wasted trying to convince others to take us seriously when we could be spending that to improve our work. And as you say, authentic work will eventually find its audience.

    1. Hi Arash,

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, you are absolutely right. This miscommunication does exist in Graduate School which often results in disappointment, especially among young scholars. I’m happy that this topic has been addressed in our class. Look forward to finding solutions to mitigate this issue during the semester.

  2. Hi Negin, Such a nice summary of the subject. I agree with the point that practice will make you better at writing and sharing your ideas. Thank you.

  3. Thanks Setareh for your comment! Right, practice makes perfect! The main point is to be consistent in blogging and focus on improving our writing skills regardless of the number of audience, particularly in the beginning.

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