Unravelling -> a model for an open course?

#rhizo14 will inevitably be an exploration of the possibilities of open learning as well as a space for considering rhizomatic learning. One of the challenges of rhizomatic learning is that it’s new for many. When most people think of the word course, they think of a set of objectives that contain the canon of a particular field with a teacher as the arbiter of ‘learning’. Even if people are comfortable looking to themselves as being responsible for tracking their learning they may not have the basic language or literacies (or technologies) to be able to start along with others.

So we need some structure, at least in the beginning, to make sure that everyone gets to play. Some of this structure can take the form of remediation… where you prepare answers to simple questions that allow newcomers to help themselves. We also need to have an effective way for people to be able to ask the community simple questions and ways to effectively mentor people to a place where they can be fully contributing members of the community.

An Unravelling
The fine folks at P2PU have directed me to the unhangout platform as a possible method for doing live sessions. The idea of having an unconference model for each of the six weeks is very appealing, but i think it would overly favour folks who’ve been working with rhizomes for a long time. So I’m suggesting something that I’m going to call ‘an unravelling’ until someone tells me what someone who thought about it before me called it :). I’m sure someone else has done it… but I haven’t found it.

Week 1
The first week will be very structured. Some foundational readings, a little bit of talk about rhizomes and Deleuze and Guattari (though not much) and a strong focus on giving people specific things to do. Write an introductory blog post, state what your goals are going in to the course, post your blog post by Tuesday… whatever. By the end of week 1, people should be able to tell themselves “yes, i have done the thing i was supposed to do”. The live session(s) will have specific topics delineated for people to join (though we might have a pre-session with interested parties to workshop what those might be). This is the ORIENT part of the process.

Week 2
The second week introduces responsibility but checks in with folks to make sure that people are understanding the orientation parts of the project. Perhaps this would work well with some specifically identified mentors who could lead breakout sessions and help people from a tech/custom/topic perspective to keep conversations on track and facilitate reporting form each of the groups. This is DECLARE week… in order to be a fully functioning participant (and no one is saying you need to be) you should be speaking from whatever platform you like at this point. We’ve unravelled the structure and little… but still lots of support.

Weeks 3 – 5
I’m thinking of these as NETWORK and CLUSTER weeks. We should be able to run unconference type sessions in the hangout and folks should have some sense of what parts of the discussion they are interested in. They might find people to work on a project with, they might find critical friends who will help them push their work further… lots of different stuff. This is where the course starts to really unravel.

Week 6
FOCUS week. I see this week as full of people’s final projects. What have you worked towards during the course? What have you come up with? What practical application do you see (or not see) for rhizomatic learning. Where will it not work? How does it need to be combined with other things? We have unravelled entirely at this point. The community should be the curriculum at this point.

How does that sound?

note: the Orient, Declare, Network, Cluster, Focus comes from early MOOC work in 2010 by Sandy McAuley, Bonnie Stewart, George Siemens and I. Here’s the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8avYQ5ZqM0

Stolen from Jeanne Murray’s blog

Rhizomatic Learning – An open course #rhizo14

Three weeks from now we’re kicking off an open course over at P2PU on rhizomatic learning. As some of you might be aware, I’ve been working on rhizomatic learning since about 2007 through the Rhizomatic Education article published in the now defunct Innovate Online and now focused on the collection of reading that is slowly working its way into a guidebook for learners in my ED366 course.

Broadly speaking rhizomatic learning is the way i think about learning in an age of abundance. It is based on the work of many folks, but primarily in my somewhat idiosyncratic reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the rhizome from their very idiosyncratic work ‘A Thousand Plateaus’. The core concept opposes the hierachichal, linear image of the tree against the decentralized, unpredictable rhizome. The difference between a learner following a set, organized path and creating their own map of their own learning. I tried, last year, to write an intro in 300 words… that might help give you a ballpark sense of whether it’s of interest.

The course will be a six week journey through some broad concept that I (and many others) have touched on over the years. I’ve sketched them out on the p2pu page, but they are, like much of this work, subject to change. I’m starting the think of ‘abundance’ as the core concept of rhizomatic learning, hidden in my earlier work, maybe, because it was so obvious. This concept with be a theme I myself will be pushing through the course, but I’m very much hoping that others will emerge.

The commitment of a participant is very much up to you as a participant. I’d love to see blog posts and tweets and videos and other things I’m not imagining critiquing the concept and pushing it further than it has been pushed to this point. I’d like to see ways in which it does and doesn’t map up against the people’s practice. I’d love to see people creating new maps for themselves and learning things they did not expect.

For myself I’m looking forward to running an open course for the pure interest in the subject. To make new connections between my work and the work of others… to make new connections between my own thinking and the thinking of others. I’d like my map to extend further than it does.

No pre-reading required. Join us for part or all of the journey as you like.

Feel free to run on over to P2PU to register for the course.


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