Letter to a new student in #rhizo15 or the next course

Confucius_Tang_Dynasty不要緊,你怎麼去慢慢地,只要你不停止。 (It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.Confucius)


Remember, the only student at Unseen University anybody remembers and likes is Rincewind. And you know what? He failed his exams. Rincewind is a wizard with no skill, no wizardly qualifications.

What do you think of that?


Dear student,

Now is the big moment.
As a new open learning or Mooc student you will need these:

Gumption & perseverance

Because the start will be disappointing and the fellow students will not seem very helpful (you need to know and consider they are also new to the course). You need passion and commitment. Remember in dark and depressing moments why the course is funny and why you want to learn. Write a blogpost about your passion and commitment and gumption and perseverance to remember in hard times.

Surprise us with your skills and knowledge, your jokes and music and poems.
Knowledge and skills of social media. The internet is loaded with courses and help pages about almost anything. You could help fellow students improve their skills.
Know the facts. write down the course URLs and hashtags, know the places and times. Put the facts in a blogpost to remember them.
Asking Questions. Ask questions. If you do not ask questions you will fail.
Be your own master and teacher. Open learning is for grown-ups, for independent humans. If you are in doubt, start and try, this will be a new learning theme for you in this course. Write and publish something about that.
Connect to fellow students, retweet; use hashtags; answer tweets even from students you do not know. You know that a comment on your blog or an answer on twitter or facebook  is a pleasure and a reward, be generous with comments and answers. You are not alone and you do really need these fellow students. And do connect to people outside the course, make them join. Discuss the course with people around you.
Publish. Blog and reblog, write comment on blogs. Leave your web address on blogs. Publish your blogpost on twitter or facebook or any other platform. Because learning is connecting.


Wonderment and uncertainty and tea

uncetaintyI like the word wonderment, in Dutch we say verwondering. Wonderment is a way of looking. “When you loose wonderment you become a lousy teacher” one of my teachers used to say.
#rhizo14 is a source of wonderment. And this week uncertainty is topic. Embrace uncertainty is the theme.

In skills training most students show some hesitation before they act. That moment of hesitation is beautiful.
But some students cannot cope with this hesitation. Is it uncertainty? They do not move. They are stuck and I feel wonderment. Why do you not move? “Just make a start, do anything. We do not expect you to be perfect just move”. Only when the student tries to do anything we can help improving the skill.
When such a student gets unstuck and  started that it is one of the most beautiful moments in skills training.

Embracing uncertainty is one way to cope with uncertainty.
In an educational world full of very uncertain managers with prefab lessons and curricula and confection assessment rhizomatic learning could be a revolutionary concept. It could add wonderment into education.

What is Zen?

Attention, attention, attention.
In Zen are no teachers, and Nothing to teach.
if we sit quietly the body relaxes and we are calm and vital.
Concentration, contemplation, one with nature, enlightened.
Harmony, respect, purity and tranquility are the essence of the tea ritual.

Explain the rhizome


First thing after breakfast, cleaning the room I find this sheet of paper. I must admit I was a fool yesterday evening. Tried to explain rhizome to my friend. He just popped in to chat. Than he asked “what did you do today?” Well he did ask for it, or did he?

He did not get it, so we discussed village politics and weather and the usual topics. Somebody should write a ‘rhizome in 5 minutes presentation’

The world of concepts and ideas is a rhizome, all is connected, and when we walk in the world of concepts it is as if we walk in a labyrinth. (you know this cartoon of someone selling maps of a labyrint?) Science tries to find ways in the labyrinth, maps.
Does a rhizomatic teacher provide the student with a map?

I like the 3 worlds idea of Popper. World 1 is nature, world 2 is experience and world 3 is concepts.

Rhizomatisch glossarium

badge for you  the real rhizomatic learner who did assess and judge yourself.
badge for you the real rhizomatic learner who did assess and judge yourself.

In this glossarium I try to add blogs and other links that explain the concept. On Wikipedia you will find more about most of the concepts, I will not link to Wikipedia.

Een glossarium is een woordenlijst met uitleg.
A glossarium is a list of words and their explanation.

The Deleuze dictionary is very helpful on his ideas. (PDF)

Agency The capacity to exercise control over the nature and quality of one’s life is the essence of humanness. Human agency is characterized by a number of core features that operate through phenomenal and functional consciousness PDF (Bandura)

Badge also view http://badges.p2pu.org/en/badge/view/304/

decalcomania a decorative technique by which engravings and prints may be transferred to pottery or other material.  Deleuze:  Principle of cartography and decalcomania: a rhizome is not amenable to any structural or generative model. It is a stranger to any idea of genetic axis or deep structure. A genetic axis is like an objective pivotal unity upon which successive stages are organized; a deep structure is more like a base sequence that can be broken down into immediate constituents, while the unity of the product
passes into another, transformational and subjective, dimension. A rhizome is a map and not a tracing.
Decalcomania and CCK11 (Keith Hamon) gives a clear description of decalcomania.

nomad The nomad is trying to do what I call ‘learning’. Not the recalling of facts, the knowing of things or the complying with given objectives, but getting beyond those things. Learning for the nomad is the point where the steps in a process go away. Think of parallel parking. If you think of the steps, perform them one at a time, you almost inevitably end up on the sidewalk. There is a point where you stop thinking of facts or steps and understand the act. (Dave Cormier)

Contemporary practices are engaging in the use of time in an attempt to activate reflections, not only through forms but also in the way that they are producing discourses. These contemporary modes of production are based on nomadic practices, not simply in terms of freely moving around or upon merely physical space, but upon time-based practices, which are allowing individuals to engage in different time based dimensions, floating in a universe of expanded forms and meanings, where past, present and future are unique fragments of the real. Nomadism is a practice of time-displacement, a process of remembering or actualizing, where virtual actualization is a form of creation (Gilles Deleuze).

“Man as civilized being, as intellectual nomad, is again wholly microcosmic, wholly homeless, as free intellectually as hunter and herdsman were free sensually.” (Spengler, 125″ Spengler, O. (1926). The Decline of the West (Abridged). Oxford: Oxford University Press.)

resilient being able to cope with stress & difficult situations. (thanks @penpln)
Look also into https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/55950576/resilience.pdf for an explanation.

rhizomatic According to Deleuze & Guattari (cited in Burnett, 1993), the “approximate characteristics of the rhizome” include:
principles of connection
principles of heterogeneity;
principle of multiplicity;
principle of asignifying rupture; and
principles of cartography and decalcomania. (zie http://www.waynebarry.com/blog/?p=614

Rhizomatic learning
Is an educational model whereby we create an ecosystem where nomads can learn(create). Where facts and data and knowledge and connection are pulled together in order to allow the nomad to create their own understanding

Instructional scaffolding is a learning process designed to promote a deeper level of learning. Scaffolding is the support given during the learning process which is tailored to the needs of the student with the intention of helping the student achieve his/her learning goals (Sawyer, R. Keith. The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press., 2006).

You are invited to copy, to add, to comment on this list.

Rhizome #rhizo14 pre-ORIENT phase

rhizome20th century French Philosophers are so out (in Europe). Even if one reads their books in French, much of it is incomprehensible for most people. Did they write unreadable books on purpose? Deleuze “invented” the rhizome in about 1976. (In an article, now Introduction in Deleuze and Guattari Mille plateaux). In 2005 Patrick Odiard wrote a piece of music “Rhizome”

This is a blogpost on the new MOOC on Rhizomatic learning started by Dave Cormier, start January 14.

As a model for culture, the rhizome resists the organizational structure of the root-tree system which charts causality along chronological lines and looks for the originary source of “things” and looks towards the pinnacle or conclusion of those “things.” “A rhizome, on the other hand, “ceaselessly established connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles” (Deleuze and Guattari, 7). Rather than narrativize history and culture, the rhizome presents history and culture as a map or wide array of attractions and influences with no specific origin or genesis, for a “rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo” (D&G 25). The planar movement of the rhizome resists chronology and organization, instead favoring a nomadic system of growth and propagation.

In this model, culture spreads like the surface of a body of water, spreading towards available spaces or trickling downwards towards new spaces through fissures and gaps, eroding what is in its way. The surface can be interrupted and moved, but these disturbances leave no trace, as the water is charged with pressure and potential to always seek its equilibrium, and thereby establish smooth space. [rhizomes.net]
[D&G: Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia . trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1987.]

Did you know rhizome.org? the Rhizome ArtBase is an online archive of new media art containing some 2174 art works, and growing.

Teaching/learning machine takes over some teacher roles?

worktweetlisaThe subject is getting more and more interesting. Questions do multiply.
As more learning takes place online, the question of how to establish and maintain social presence–the perception that participants are interacting with other human beings, not with just a well-designed interface–becomes increasingly important. (Robert D. Wright in a call for proposals) Do we always need human interaction when learning?
Would a bad teacher be better than a good “teaching/learning machine” ?
Is a mooc a teaching machine?
Will moocs develop into very good teaching instruments that equal some or all qualities of a good teacher? (A MOOC with a talking head in video-colleges is not a “human presence” in an online course, a talking head is a pain in the eye)
Will “learning/teaching instruments” be cheaper than brick and mortar colleges? We did a MOOC almost at no cost at all. Some MOOCs are very expensive, but that is not necessary.
Is the human touch necessary for all kinds of schooling?
Can “learning/teaching machines” be a solution of the very high demand for education in Asia and Africa?
Could teacher-to-student communication be replaced with student-to-student communication in learning? Distribute teaching roles among everyone in the school. Instead of a few highly trained teachers (who still may be bad at teaching), encourage a true form of peer to peer teaching.
Books and video did replace teachers as sole sources and providers of academic knowledge, will teaching/learning machines replace another role of the teacher?
What roles of a teacher could be done by a teaching/learning-machine?

” won’t there always be a back-of-the-mind barrier in the receiver that interacting with a machine is different than with a human.”
“I wonder if we might need to distinguish people who are machine taught over those who aren’t? ”
(Scott Johnson, email)

IMAGE : http://lisahistory.net/wordpress/2013/12/an-educated-citizenry-or-an-efficient-workforce/

Teaching Machines? (I)

320px-Skinner_teaching_machine_01Could teaching machines be real ?
How could teaching machines teach academic mastery; problem solving; collaboration; self directed learning; effective communication; an academic mindset; critical thinking; mastery of core academic content?
As teaching is expensive and millions of people want to learn, teaching machines could be a solution for this problem.
The immage is a teaching machine of Skinner (programmed instruction).
Reasons to be happy to end teaching
Discussion on teaching machines on Mirandanet

Some MOOCs are kind of teaching machines, not only the MMOOC (mechanical MOOC) but these “video-college-quiz”-MOOCs as well.

(image: wikipedia)

Openness constraint and emergence

macknessJenny Mackness blogging about  still grappling with the relationship between openness, constraint and emergence,

Jenny Mackness blogt over still grappling with the relationship between openness, constraint and emergence, 

In systems theory and art emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theory of complex systems.

Emergence is de manier waarop complexe systemen en patronen ontstaan uit een veelheid relatief eenvoudige interacties in systeem theorie en in de kunst. Emergence is een centraal begrip in systeemtheorie.

In http://zmldidaktik.wordpress.com/tag/emergent-learning/  discovered the footprint (Want to look into that more)  and a link to IRODL about the relationship between prescriptive and emergent learning, both of which need to be part of an integrated learning ecology.

In  http://zmldidaktik.wordpress.com/tag/emergent-learning/  de Footprint gevonden (daar ga ik verder naar kijken) en een link naar een artikel in IRODL over de relatie van emergent leren en het ” gewone”  verplichte leerstof leren. 

My question on emergent learning is: What influence exists between  summative  testing and assessments  and  emergent learning?
 De vraag is of summatief toetsen een belemmering kan zijn voor emergent leren. 

M is for Massive M staat voor massief

metaalM is for massive and for MOOC. M is a very misunderstood word in the MOOC acronym.
In some courses M is just for bulk, or just means very much students are involved. But massive has another connotation, that is of a solid construction or solid big thing.
This second meaning of massive (geologists use massif for this connotation of massive) is what M of MOOC stands for.

De M van Massief en van MOOC. Deze M staat voor een slecht begrepen woord in het acronym MOOC.
In sommige cursussen betekent de M niet meer dan massaal, maar massief heeft, ook in het engels, nog een andere betekenis. Het betekent vast aaneengesloten, ondeelbaar. Geologen noemen een gebergteketen een massief . Deze tweede betekenis van massief is kenmerkend voor de echte MOOC.

Metal is solid and massive, because of the forces of the connected molecules. A massive tower is solid and massive because of its structure and connectedness of the stones. These connected molecules are a good metaphor for the massiveness  of a MOOC. Like in  metal the connections between molecules are cause of solidity and massiveness in a real MOOC the connections between ideas opinions  and participants are important features of the MOOC.

Metaal is massief door de verbindingen tussen de moleculen. Deze verbindingen tussen de moleculen zijn een metafoor foor de massiviteit van de MOOC. De connecties tussen deelnemers en ideeen en meningen maken de MOOC bijzonder. 

A MOOC is massive because of the connections, in a mooc ideas and participants and thoughts are connected. Internet has made this connections possible.

Een MOOC is massief door de connecties, in een mooc worden ideeen en deelnemers gekoppeld. Internet maakt deze connecties mogelijk.

The image is of layers of different metals in a nano-electronic device. It is a beautiful metaphor that the just the  different metals in this device do make the device work. In a MOOC it is the connections between different participants and different opinions that make a MOOC a source of learning. That is why massive is important in a MOOC. In a MOOC a lot of different participants and different opinions and different participants make a better interconnected network.

De afbeelding laat lagen van verschillende metalen zien in een nan0-electronisch apparaat. Dat is een mooie metafoor. Het zijn de verschillen tussen de metalen die het apparaat laten werken. In een MOOC zijn het de verschillen tussen deelnemers en opinies en ideeen die de MOOC tot leerzame activiteit maken. Daarom is massiviteit belangrijk in een MOOC. De grote verzameling verschillen die onderling verbonden worden maken een MOOC interessant.

The M of MOOC as massive and solid stands for a new pedagogy, a pedagogy of the connected student in an open and online internet course. 

De M van MOOC staat voor een nieuwe didactiek, een didactiek van de deelnemer die connecties maakt in een open en online cursus. 

Pt = platinum; Pd =Palladium; Au = gold

(image from http://www.imec.be/ScientificReport/SR2009/HTML/1213586.html )

#potcert teaching online and feedback

thanks to Kim Hil http://www.pinterest.com/pin/19844054581247321/
thanks to Kim Hil http://www.pinterest.com/pin/19844054581247321/

On manifesto for teaching online one line says Feedback can be digested, worked with, created from. In the absence of this it is just ‘response’.  (I do not like these texts in image format, because copy and paste such a text is impossible).

So when teaching online one has to invent ways of giving feedback that allows for and is an affordance to working and thinking it over.

  1. What is your way of giving the right feedback, feedback that invites to think and to work?
  2. Feedback, could you just ask questions when you want to write feedback?
  3. What are good questions when you want make someone to think?
  4. The difference between open and closed questions does it make sense in feedback giving?
  5. Do higher order questions matter in feedback?
  6. Do you ask your students or peers to Connect the dots of information?

When giving feedback in online learning, use the student behavior list

You are invited to comment on this post. What feedback questions could you ask?

Laura Paciorek commented on this post in google group of #potcert. ( did copy that comment, because I like this FeedForward Idea:
I know this is just another way of rephrasing the same thing, but one semester I tried the word “feedforward.” I told students that I wanted students to look ahead to the next work and decide how they could use the feedforward to do well. I also asked students to share in their future work how they used the feedforward. I am wondering if anyone else has ever tried this or if anyone has thoughts on it. I liked it because it created a sort of dialogue and was empowering to the student.