New Structures and Spaces of Learning: The Systemic Impact of Connective Knowledge, Connectivism, and Networked Learning

George Siemens, Website, Aug 28, 2008
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This paper lies right at the intersection of the questions "How do we change?" and "What ought we to change to?" This is a tricky place to be, because it involves sketching theories about user empowerment and people making their own choices while at the same time pointing to desired states and optimal outcomes. I'm not sure Siemens pulls it off (though it's a good try), mostly because of the last section, which is an extended defense of the role of the institution. I just don't see this happening: "A university becomes a connection forming organization, brokering relationships, providing opportunities for research, and continuing to serve as a critical, but neutral, place of discovery and advancement of knowledge." Too many conflicting tendencies.
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