Reclaim Open Learning

better online learning for higher ed


September 20, 2013 by Courtney Santos

Dave Cormier, University of Prince Edward Island

Rhizomatic Learning -> ED366 educational technology and the adult learner

The rhizome is the stem of a plant, like hops, ginger or japanese bamboo, that helps the plant spread and reproduce. It responds and grows according to its environment, not straight upwards like a tree, but in a haphazard networked fashion. As a story for learning, it is messy, unstable and uncertain. It is also powerful and resilient. As with the rhizome, the rhizomatic learning experience is multiple, has no set beginning or end, a rhizome creates through the act of experimentation.

This course is built in an attempt to bring the advantages of community learning to a formal course. The students in this course ARE the curriculum. By exploring their interests, reflecting on them openly, leading different projects and sharing their discoveries, failures and victories, they collaboratively build the content of the course. By exploring a community or a context, you can get to know how language is used, what the customs are and how decisions are made. You can get a feel for knowing in that field. Their own rhizomatic learning experience becomes more curriculum for others.

The students in this course are professional educators from all walks of life – some are very technically proficient, others struggle with email. They create and consume many different technologies. This year’s version of the course has seen a marked improvement in the learning contract that creates the structure/flexibility necessary for open learning. My interest for next year is to create/find self-service training pieces for students who struggle with some basic concepts so they can do more remedial development. I’d also like to incorporate textual analytics both to provide an example for students and to further explore the possibilities.

This approach means that students leaving the course keep the community/content/connections created. It is the most important objective.

E-book (of collected blog posts) to support collaborative open learning

The learning contract

A student doing an assignment with reflection

How we learned to use Twitter – by presenting at a hybrid pedagogy unconference

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