Responsability of the educator?

Maybe as an educator I am responsible too for keeping the students safe in their journey? (thanks Mariana Funes) Or if I am a student I am responsible too for keeping my fellow students safe in their journey?

“…Universities have the responsibility to foster in faculty, staff and students a sense of social responsibility and a commitment to the social good, which, we believe, is central to the success of a democratic and just society. (Talloires Declaration) … “

In what degree as an (online) educator am I responsible for the journey of students? What does ‘as best as one can’  mean for online teaching? In (most online) teaching the teacher is not omnipresent, so do not expect the teacher to be responsible for learning outcomes. In schools students are (most of time) not expected to be responsible for the learning outcomes of fellow students. Should we change that?

In Teaching Today (Geoff Petty, 3th ed.  Nelson Thornes Ltd UK) p. 481  ” .. Never mind the teaching, never mind the system, never mind the college, it’s the learner[S] and the learning that counts! …”  [S] added by me.


Critique, feedback and comments that work


We cannot know what feedback and which comments make the student work in the right direction.
But experience learns (but she is not infallible) positive feedback often is better than no critique or negative remarks.
Here is a cultural difference in giving positive comments. Some people do use strong words in their positive remarks. (love it, and great, amazing) We like that very much. Some people are less exaltic. We need to know who says what to know this.
Some feedback does show much attention and interest for the work “The leaves and berries make for a nice composition, with great colours.”

It is difficult to give positive comments and make someone’s work of art better.
“this would be still better if you did that..” That takes courage. (Mvdfunes and johnjohnston on ds106radio 12oct2014, I do not know an archive of that, do you know that archive?)

I like the idea of remixing as a way of critique. One could just remix her art, and give  critique totally non-verbally. Anna Cow did some remixing  to try this idea. She did remix Sandy Browns tds1002 letterhead  into a letterhead of her own. Critique and feedback are closely connected to trust. 

Relationship and communication, trust, courtesy, connectivity,

vierseitenmodellOne of the four sides of the square does mention Relationship. Trust in the online environment is a complex issue. It should not be taken lightly.
The text about the stag as mentioned in Jenny’s blog is found in
About courtesy in online communication, cultural differences do cause misunderstanding and uneasiness. Like the preferred distance between two talking humans is different in different subcultures and cultures. There is no universal agreement about Norms in online communication.
Some humans are online and they want to talk about facts and opinions without care about relations. Factual information is the only thing that matters to these humans.

Online community has to be more than shouting out facts or opinions to the internet.

I did add the category “connectedcourses” to this post, to be able to share the blog to that course. It is not written for that course, but connected to its theme.

The art of online teaching and communication

artteachinglive1I like to tie together teaching and art. I like to speak of The art of teaching because an art has no absolute rules. Art is always changing.
To think about the language in online teaching we must remember teaching is an art.
No rules for the right use of language in teaching, because:
Students are from different cultures and teachers are from different cultural origins. Language style and language register are different between students and between teachers.
So no universal rules for language and communication in online courses.

Humor, jokes and the unexpected could help to make a course attractive. Layout and pictures, sounds could help too.

You need to know your audience.
Ask for feedback.
Do reflect on your teaching.

And remember, the contact is the connection from student to the course and from teacher to the course (and to each other). For contact and connection in a course two parties are required.

image: Marcia Beckett

The use of language in online teaching

lichaamstaalIn therapy language is very important. .
BANDLER, RICHARD & GRINDER, JOHN; SATIR, VIRGINIA & BATESON, GREGORY etc.  The Structure Of Magic I: A Book About Language And Therapy..Is an example of this connection.

In my opinion language in online courses needs a lot of thinking.

In online teaching many aspects of communication are lost. Most non-verbal communication is not possible. Even a teacher talking on video is not a quality replacement for F2F communication.
The teacher cannot watch the students, cannot see body language of students. Students cannot see each other and no teacher.

In my opinion this lack of important aspects of communication has to be taken care of. Online teaching needs careful communication.
We have to think and experiment about our language in online teaching. How could we use language to improve connections in online teaching?

Do we need to use words like: we, I or you, when we write texts for online courses?
Do we use passive or active verbal form or passive voice?

Pluralism Monism

scientificpluralismTzvetan Todorov  writes that the  most important democratic value is pluralism. Monistic societies and governments as are communism and national socialism are not democratic.  In education we should give pluralism an important place.

Maha Bali   begins her blogpost with the students need for different ways of teaching, for variety in structure of courses, and adapting to students preferences and needs.
But she the most valuable text of Maha is about cultural pluralism and respect. In Maha Bali’s blog about education she says:  But it’s in allowing the diverse voices within us to have a space (even if it’s an English-speaking space because it’s the only language we have in common) and voice, that alone helps to enrich the online space with the diversity that’s in it. Pluralism is a ways to foster learning and creativity and innovation.

Pluralism in education is a movement  that does not ask for teaching to the test and standard testing. It is about learning to live with differences in methods of teaching, about democracy and about pluralism as a key to research and learning.
Proposed Changes in Education (this is in a wiki about citizenship & diversity)

  • from formal to informal
  • from exclusive to inclusive
  • from restrictive to experiential
  • from instructionist to constructivist
  • promotion of knowledge building, lifelong learning
  • promotion of inter-generational knowledge exchange

I am not writing about religious pluralism. In the USA pluralism also is used to talk about racial matters. Both are important issues.

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.