Jenny Mackness has some questions on the principle of autonomy in connectivism. She writes “Learners are increasingly exercising autonomy regarding where, when, how, what and with whom to learn.”. In the conclusion of this paper: ” The key features of a complex, open course, rich in emergence, are that it is not defined by what must happen, but rather by what must not happen – the boundaries of openness”
Autonomy is a difficult philosophical concept and question. Some say humans are never autonomous, because they are social in nature and need each other. I think it great of Jenny Mackness to make a list in her blog “Characteristics of an autonomous learner” of what people mean to say when they use the word autonomous. The list is a description of an ideal image of a very good university student, the dream of every teacher.
In psychology autonomy is regarded as a quality, characteristic of a grown up adult. It can be confused with total independence and self-sufficiency, but it is about making your own choices and about freedom. An autonomous person can make a choice how to deal with dependence. A prerequisite to be autonomous is to recognize that personal capabilities are limited and that the environment provides limits. Who owns the quality within those boundaries to shape one’s life can be described as autonomous.
The Dutch has a word for autonomy “zelfstandigheid” it literally means one can stand on his own feet.