Getting to Know You: Change11 and Mooc Participation

The second in the series from Liz Renshaw.

Vanessa Vaile here, my current landing spot is Mountainair (isolated, rural) in central NM. Both current location and places along the way are relevant, context to what I do and how I do it. Status: retired from teaching other than some volunteer and design work; active curating content, blogging and other online and community projects.

Why did I decide to participate in Change11? I ask myself that same question, along why the others too? Why not? I started two weeks late with PLENK10, lost at sea most of the time but kept on signing up. Whatever my reasons are, “professional development” is not among them, although personal and even community or network would be. Remember Zorba’s stone?

As for “MOOC highlights,” weeks, topics, presenters, commentaries, newsletters, groups become something of a blur. Not all highlights took place in a MOOC. The best are aha moments when a MOOC moment connects elsewhere, wether higher education reform, curating open GED resources, self-paced ESL study group or community development ~ and vice versa. Those I tag, bookmark, add to reader and share appropriately.

After trying and rejecting complex strategies for managing information, I’ve simplified the process to ‘sort, tag, aggregate, read what I can and most catches my attention, comment on and tweet time permitting, ignore what I can’t’. That includes not worrying about what I will surely miss, lose track off or just plain forget. It’s still there waiting and may or may not return.

I’m still working on my own definition of a “Personal Learning Network,” its parameters and sometimes even what to call it. My network is eclectic, neither 100% personal nor exclusively “educational” (another problematic term).

Use tools: don’t be one. Social networking tools favored one mooc may not take center stage the next, Why, I could not say. Convenience and availability of apps to make them more efficient are important considerations. I live on the wrong side of the digital divide. Not being bandwidth hogs is probably the real deal maker.

Most used are: blogging platforms (Blogger, Posterous, most recently Tumblr); Google reader, sort, tag, bundle, share, search; email (forget that crap the death of email or it being where ideas go to die unless a) not web based, b) user is a preternaturally gormless searcher); Twitter – four active accounts (higher ed, personal, local, literary); social bookmarking, both Delicious and Diigo; Facebook (convenient for sharing even though search and archive suck big-time, for pages, get around that for pages with rss feed in readers; aggregators: NetVibes; Paper.li; Scoop.it, iGoogle ~ and whatever helps sync all of the preceding. Also used but less or on the tryout list: Dropbox; Bo.lt; Storify; Pinterest; Twitter / social media management systems; and some used so little that I cannot recall their names.

Resonate? I am not a tuning fork. Just off the top of my head, Dave for clarity, ecology, rhizomes; George for structure, analytics; Stephen for newsletter, attitude and magpie mind; Snowden because we are both Welsh. I feel the meaning of ‘cynefin’ in my bones. All of them for “messing with boundaries, barriers, and silos” (George).

There are others in between that I am still processing and will be long after the course is over. A moveable feast. Applications are another story and another post for another time.

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