After the camp fire #rhizo14

kampvuura. Comment on your reasons for joining #rhizo14, your level of participation and your experiences of the “course”.
Wanted to know more about rhizome in pedagogics. Fascinating subject, lots of people are looking for better education.
Reconnect to mooc people of other moocs.
Stay in tune with new types of mooc.
Wanted to know more about rhizomatic learning.
Continuing the course also because of social structure and processes in the group. Could one say: When content is more unsure and fuzzy, than social processes tend to become more intense?
I could not tell what is rhizomatic learning in one sentence. If you need more than one sentence to tell someone what you are talking about than some more thinking is needed.

b. Comment on your experiences of inclusion/exclusion in this community
Start was very inclusive.
Did meet some very nice people, enjoyed doing the course.
Tried to discuss critically this rhizomatic learning thing, I guess cultural and language difficulties did not help here. Got not too much critical answers.
Too much inclusion does not foster debate. I prefer some more resistance and discussion. The social processes in the groups (lots of likes and love and friendliness) prevented a more critical attitude in general? Or  is this a cultural divide?

About rhizomatic learning: The idea of Rhiz Learning  seems to be an attempt to change school pedagogics. Outside school and outside formal courses learning most of time is not well defined and not embedded in authoritarian structures. That informal could be called rhizomatic learning. But I still doubt if the word rhizomatic does add anything to the definition of (non-school or formal) learning. (Ockhams razor comes in mind, Entia non sunt praeter necessitatem multiplicanda)

My question ” Is auto etnography scientificly sound? Self report in psychology is low level research, how about etnography? ” is a methodological question.

Community my curriculum? #rhizo14

hurkendeman(Hurkende man, Antony Gormley, Lelystad, 25 meter hoog)

Just to start with some questions on the subject of this week of rhizo14.

Now i am thinking about Bricolage and deconstruction and de-noun-ification of the question. But that need some time.

Is the Community or the  individual the client for a MOOC or Course?  Do We  Groupe Rhizo14 have a curriculum, do sub-groups have one, or has every participant a curriculum? Do we make our own group- or individual- curriculum?
Is an online course a group or community? Is a  classroom with students a group or community?  Why define a number of participants in an educational setting as a  group/community? Heli Nurmi will write about community. In #rhizo14 we did discuss the community in depth:

now, i get that even two students who sit next to each other in a f2f course may have completely different perceptions, mental maps, and experiences of the class and who and what counts in that class, and may never speak to each other. but still that proximity marks them as members of the same thing. what i’m wondering is, without a single common space by which to mark off belonging or to become familiar with each other, at least nominally, can we call #rhizo14 a community? i’ve seen a number of you use the term community…do you mean the course, or the FB group? does your answer vary depending on how distributed your own engagement is? (Bonnie Steward FB)

What social contract do we have? What are our expectations, what do we want? How do we support? What do we need? (Mariana Funes).

Is the curriculum growing and changing, or is it static? Has it to be? Should it be? Where is the end?

the or one? the curriculum or one in  a collection, a list of subjects, questions?

Curriculum a guide to a future or a log of our travels? Map into unknown lands or our history put on a map? In Dutch we use ‘leerplan’.
Is it made by the power of the majority? Is it a menu and I can just choose the nice bits? Is a curriculum necessary for teaching or is it a must for learning? What do we expect to learn from rhizo14?

Currriculum vitea?

Culture and language


Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory has in my opinion a connection with language. (answer for @Chris2B in comment on previous post.)

  • Power distance. In the Netherlands teacher and student are not in different worlds. If the teacher is wrong, students will tell him. Language differences as a sign of class differences do not fit into low power distance culture. Spoken language and written language are not very divergent. Dutch students do not need to learn ‘upper-class academic’ language to write an essay.
  • Individualism. Being different is not a (big) problem. Teacher could admit not to know an answer. Dutch students are not afraid to try to speak foreign languages. They are not afraid of mistakes. (I am an example of that)
  • Masculinity/femininity. Feminity  is  about care and not about masculine competition according to Hofstede. Trying to be the best is not a common trait in Dutch students.

In culture with low power distance and high individualism rules do change almost at will.
Members of different cultures have divergent views on Incidents and differences of opinion in a community.
Rules on how to write an essay are very important and common in USA (and other countries). In the Netherlands content and process are more important than format and style.
Should a blogger need to know more about Cultural Competences or CQ?

Rhizomatic nature of dependency, last words


Birds are used in poetical metaphors about independency and freedom. But as the world is rhizomatic and ecological, and as anything is rhizomatically connected to everything, nothing, no bird, no student is ever independent.
Does this mean independent is a useless word, because it is a non-existent concept?
Or is independence a “relation word”, a word which always has to be used in a description of a relation?
“She is very independent of her parents.”
“He is dependent of drugs.”
“Our objective is to foster

the focus for many this week has not been on the suggested topic – ‘Enforcing Independence’ – but on perceived divisions within the community. For me, this is what has made it feel so ‘messy’.
(Jenny Mackness)
I tried to post this comment to Jenny’s blog. But Blogger and WordPress do not want to live in peace, so commenting is not easy. So here is a comment on Jenny’s blog:
Even a post on group roles is about independence. People in a mooc do engage, do response, and in this way make themselves dependent of mooc-mates.
Dependence is a relations-word. Dependence is related to another person or group, or anything. If we are talking about forcing a person into independence, we should ask independence of what..?

photo: canal (Engelenfaert) in Heerenveen,

Rhizomatic on group roles and functions

EdamWrite a blog post on social aspects of mooc.
In Wikipedia is a nice short description of Belbins group roles:

Plant: A creative, imaginative, unorthodox team-member who solves difficult problems. Although they sometimes situate themselves far from the other team members, they always come back to present their brilliant idea.
Resource Investigator: The “Resource Investigator” is the networker for the group. Whatever the team needs, the Resource Investigator is likely to have someone in their address book who can either provide it or know someone else who can provide it. Being highly driven to make connections with people, Explores opportunities, make contacts, shares external information
The “Chairman/Co-ordinator” ensures that all members of the team are able to contribute to discussions and decisions of the team. Their concern is for fairness and equity among team members. Clarifies goals; helps allocate roles, responsibilities, and duties; articulates group conclusions
Shaper: A dynamic team-member who loves a challenge and thrives on pressure. . Seeks patterns in group work; pushes group toward agreement and decisions; challenges others
Monitor-Evaluator: A sober, strategic and discerning member, who tries to see all options and judge accurately. This member contributes a measured and dispassionate analysis and, through objectivity, stops the team committing itself to a misguided task. Analyzes problems and complex issues; monitors progress and prevents mistakes; assesses the contributions of others; sees all options; judges accurately
The “Team Worker” is concerned to ensure that interpersonal relationships within the team are maintained. They are sensitive to atmospheres and may be the first to approach another team member who feels slighted, excluded or otherwise attacked but has not expressed their discomfort. Gives personal support and help to others; socially oriented and sensitive to others;
The “Implementer” is the practical thinker who can create systems and processes that will produce what the team wants. Taking a problem and working out how it can be practically addressed is their strength.
The “Completer Finisher” is the detail person within the team. They have a great eye for spotting flaws and gaps and for knowing exactly where the team is in relation to its schedule.
Specialistwho brings ‘specialist’ knowledge to the team. Single-minded, self-starting, dedicated; provides unique or rare expertise and skills.
More and different group roles do exist.
Group roles are not an analytical instrument, but a management or training aid.
More than one group (team) roles can be found in one human.
We could label some roles as task-roles, some are process-roles, some are people-roles, etc.
In a healthy group most roles are present.

The participants of a mooc are they a group? or just a loose sample of individuals?
Is it possible to recognize group roles in a mooc, when a mooc is not a group? If the participants of a mooc are (part of) rhizome, group roles are life functions of the rhizome?

Does a healty cMOOC need ‘group roles’?

Social psychology predicts some phases in the development of a group. (for short overview: Wikipedia)

I just wish we did not throw around the ‘community’ label so freely. Community takes work and commitment to having tough conversations. The process of naming something does not make it so. Online groups can be seen as a culture and there are different dimensions in which cultures differ:   ()

I did a blog on teacher roles in a mooc with a different list of qualities in participants in a mooc.
Image: Edam bridge.

Rogers independence

kabouterIn humanistiek education a student is the final judge of his own work en where the individual has to take the responsibility for deciding what criteria are important to him. (Janet Gale from a book Independent Learning in Higher Education (1984). ) via

The informal learner is the sole judge of his work, with some help of friends or others.

Rogers 1969: a blogpost on that

In most countries government does want to introduce a national curriculum. And these governments do want students to be more innovative and creative. In communist countries central planning led to disaster, now central planning is the new educational hype in the western world.

And governments want to test and measure results of schools.  Innovative and creative teachers are leaving classrooms. Students are not encouraged to be their own judges and to assess their own work in a school with a national curriculum and testing.

Informal learning and rhizomatic learning?

Independence and scaffolding to autonomy. #rhizo14

Image copied from  Giulia Forsythe’s visual notes from Cormiers talk at connect 2013.
Read: Dave Cormier blogpost on self-assessment-and-self-remediation.

Central theme is the independence of the learner. The learner  is responsible for learning and is free and autonomous.  How to solve this paradox? Who is responsible in a teaching situation?

Scaffolding towards independence: Ask the learner to write a paper on ‘My road to independency’.  Could You write a paper, map “my road to independency”?

Learning with help of peers and teachers could lead to independency. How to help teachers and peers to not steer toward dependency?

Teacher is not the authority but a kind of a nurse. A good nurse wants you to leave the hospital as soon as possible because the hospital will hospitalize you and make you dependent on help. Did you manage to prevent your students from helplessness and hospitalization and dependency?






to be or to know? Merleau-Ponty…

Central Park New York

Have you ever been in the wind mill in Central Park New York?

If learning and education is about becoming an adult, to become a grown up person, how could one cheat?
If being a human adult is the most important objective of education, what would cheating look like?
Pretending to know is called cheating.
Pretending to be, what is that?
If someone pretends to be a careful adult and acts like a careful adult, how could we know he is cheating?

Merleau-Ponty: How can anything present itself truly to us since its synthesis is never completed? how could I gain the experience of the world, as I would of an individual actuating his own existence, since none of the views or perceptions I have of it can exhaust it and the horizons remain forever open?

(M.Merleau-ponty phenomenology de la perception p384 translation Umberto Eco in The role of the reader)
Did Merleau-Ponty invent rhizomes?
If it is true that anything we talk about is not finished yet, is stil open, is not completed, how do we call our speaking as if the things are compleet and finished? Are we in a sense cheating reality?

Knowledge, or merchandise?

The increasingly transitory nature of what is lauded as current or accurate in new and developing fields, as well as the pace of change in Western culture more broadly, has made it difficult for society in general and education in particular to define what counts as knowledge.

Is it true that in old days knowledge was more certain and sure?
The definition of knowledge is a matter of ongoing debate among philosophers in the field of epistemology.
The philosopher Plato defined knowledge as “justified true belief.”
Spinoza had to introduce ‘god’ as a foundation of knowledge to avoid uncertainty. (and doing so cheated uncertainty into his philosophy)
Popper wanted to replace the question “How do you know?” with “I do not know, how can I improve my guess?” (Out of error, Ashgate Publishing, David Miller, 2006, page 31)
Maybe ‘What is knowledge?’ always was a difficult question?

Epistemology is a game with a lot of controversies about what is knowledge and about the way we could distinguish true knowledge from unjustified knowledge. Deleuze is only one party in the struggle for intellectual responsibility and honesty inside epistemology.

There is a gap in the argument of transitioning verified knowledge into curriculum:
The expert translation of data into verified knowledge is the central process guiding traditional curriculum development.

For verified knowledge does not exist according to Plato, Popper and many other philosophers.
Here we could introduce cheating as a strategy.
In the curriculum people (experts and stake holders) do introduce so called ‘verified knowledge’. But ‘verified logic’ is very doubtful. Experts are powerful people and that is why doubt is not tolerated in the curriculum. But education and knowledge have lost their innocence. Education is an industry and knowledge is big business.
Alarmingly, education appears to be acquiring the pathological bad habits of the Catholic Church. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. But neither should we be surprised when Martin Luther pops up!

Because education is an industry now, fairness and delivering real quality in education is becoming to be a problem. Jenny Mackness ask the question
Does living in a digitally networked world, a world of rhizomatic learners change what we commonly understand to be the basic moral principles that govern behaviour between learners?

But the world is bigger than relations between learners, these learners do live in a changing world and their knowledge is merchandised.
I do not know if cheating really is a feature of rhizomatic learning.

Text of the song:

After this a came across cheating in arts You need to know a camera obscura .