20th 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.
On You’r the teacher we are discussing a tweet of Christoph Hewett.
In my opinion the question is whether etMOOC should be more student centered and for that purpose give different approaches for newbies and oldies. (This is a very short resume, you should read the original discussion).
The rhizomatic view on learning, which is the / a philosophy behind the cMOOC, does not define and structure the definition of learning. All different kinds of learning and “levels” of learning do fit into a cMOOC. (I hesitate to use ” levels” of learning, for what is the difference of the learning of a newbie and an oldie? It is not a level of learning.)
If some newbie is wrestling to make a Twitter account, that is learning. Should we help this newbie? Everywhere on internet she can find explanations of Twitter. The cMOOC is as wide as the internet. This newbie could even ask her friends in college to explain Twitter, or her big sister. That is, the MOOC is a rhizome, without boundaries, and the MOOC-student may connect to anybody and anything to learn.
Frustration and anger are part of learning as the baby next to me shows. Sometimes she is red of frustration because her baby gym does not do what she wants.
The cMOOC has no page with learning goals, or a rubric or a clear purpose. So whatever one learns in a MOOC (or without a MOOC) is OK. Even if it is to make an account on Twitter.
Who are my teachers in this MOOC?
- Jenny Mackness does ask “who is the awesome teacher?’ for sharing thoughtful observations.
- People who comment on my blog and ask questions or add better answers. (I cannot name you all, I thank you all)
- People who write blogs in #Change11 (and outside) and tell facts or do make me engage and give me gumption. Some of them are:
- lucidTranslucent for showing different views.
- Nancy White because she did not only ‘preach’ but cooperated.
- Dave Cormier; because of his intriguing ‘rhizomatic learning’ and his fine answer to my questions.
- Stephen Downes for the OLDaily,, a source of information for looking sideways.
- and many others. It is shared ‘teachership’ (compare ‘shared leadership’) and I tried to find some traits of this shared ‘teachership’ in this list of teachers.
Teacher roles: from “Teaching in Social and Technological Networks” (blog of Georg Siemens) 1)
The following are roles teachers play in networked learning environments. And all of these roles are played by students too :
1. Amplifying, (drawing attention to signals (content elements) that are particularly important) (italics are mine) All participants in the MOOC facilitators, presenters and active students do a lot of Amplifying, in Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, participants draw attention to content and visual styles. Most of my teachers from the list do amplify.
2. Curating, ( The curator arranges elements in such a manner that learners will “bump into) All participants do curate, maybe not consciously, add new elements, views opinions. Some comments made me ‘bump into’ and most presenters. Serendipitous Discovery.
3. Wayfinding and socially-driven sensemaking (aid the wayfinding process) Technology is a great help in wayfinding, receiving automated messages from blogs etc. In a MOOC the leadership aspect of teaching seems to be diminishing.
4. Aggregating (reveal the content and conversation structure) Participants do aggregate and connect information. They make sense and combine information and add new meaning. All of my teachers from the list are aggregating.
5. Filtering (Filtering resources is an important educator role) Most filtering is done by the student, by choosing connections and messages. Other participants do influence this filtering.
6. Modelling (To teach is to model and to demonstrate) Participants define roles and rules and norms and demonstrate. All of my teachers demonstrate a model or a style of MOOC’ing, being human.
7. Persistent presence (“to make a home, a place to learn”) Participants do their part to connect and to build “the Place of Change11”. All of my teachers from the list do connect to build a network.
In my view these seven roles are roles both of the Change11 Organizers, George, Stephen, and Dave and of the other participants: students and the guest speakers. We could ask if the teacher in a MOOC is still a central node in the network or one of the nodes.
In the discussion around the Lurker in the MOOC these active ‘teacher’ roles of participants seem to be an argument in favour of a more active role of participants.
1) I did not find two articles with the same Teacher Roles. Looks like there are a lot of different descriptions of teacher roles. cf. Changing Teacher Roles, Identities and Professionalism: An Annotated Bibliography Ian Hextall, Sharon Gewirtz, Alan Cribb and Pat Mahon.
image: Schoolmeester met kind, Co Westerik, 1961.