Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Week 3: Networks

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Sept 28, 2008

Posted to the CCK08 Course blog on September 28, 2008.

Week 3 was my favorite week of the course, by far.

Ironically, because I spent the entire week on the road, traveling to and from San Jose to attend the Brandon Hall Innovations in Learning conference.

I gave two talks at the conference, one on Personal Learning Environments and the other on Open Educational Resources. They were both smallish talks, and I was able to experiment with both presentation mode and UStream broadcasts.

Also, as we were in the middle of this course, our experiences here made for grist for those talks. As I commented to a friend at the conference, I used to have to explain and explain what I meant by this stuff, but now that we have the course running, I just show it, and the talk writes itself.

So, the course overlapped into my presentations, and meanwhile, the presentations overlapped into the course, as people saw (correctly) these discussions as illustrating some of the concepts we've been trying to stress in the course.

Then, on top of all that, we had Valdis Krebs in to chat, first on Wednesday afternoon to give a presentation, which I summarized, and then that evening for a more wide ranging conversation. Add to that the discussion George and I had on Friday which really got to the heart of some of the differences between us, and it was intellectually a very stimulating week.

And so I think we got a lot done.

We (George and I, with the help of everyone else) laid out very clearly that there are different types of networks. And that these types of networks correspond to differences in how they are composed – differences between the entities that make them up, between the properties that are affected by connections, differences in the nature and the weight of the connections themselves.

And also, we saw that there are different perspectives from which to understanding learning in a network. We could, on the one hand, focus on what it is like to be a part of a network, making connections and becoming a member of, say, a community of a practice. And we could, on the other hand, talk about what it is like to learn from a network observing the system as a whole, and recognizing repeated patterns in the phenomena.

For me, this week, the course ceased to be a whole lot of work and certain amount of frustration, and began to be the learning experience I had hoped for.

Oh yeah, and one other thing.

I created a directory in my email inbox. I titled it ‘CCK08 Moodle Posts'. And I started moving posts from the forum into that directory. Where, if I get the time and have the inclination, I'll get around to reading them. Or not.

Yes, this was the best week by far.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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