If you have kids, you probably also read bedtime stories to them. In our house, we've read everything from Horton Hears a Who to Good Night Moon. Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree is also a popular request, despite the fact that it often makes me cry too. It is a story about a tree that gives everything to a young boy at every stage of his life.
I thought about that story when I saw Dave Cormier's Connectivism Wiki or MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses). The philosophy is:
I'd suggest we follow the ADD DON'T TAKE AWAY model of wiki building. Just keep adding sections... if you don't agree with the content, mark your objections in the discussion area or underneath of the disagreeable topic with your opinion.
So, I asked Dave via Twitter "Wow do you build a giving culture on a wiki?" He said that policy gives people a sense of freedom. He also pointed me to this reflection. I think it was point 3 that connects: Community learning, so that is what you call it!
Dave Cormier has been my critical friend as I write personal reflections on the community as curriculum process we're using to develop the content through the WeAreMedia Project. Dave shared his most recent observations through some reflections of his project. For the past two weeks, he has been teaching “educational technology and the adult learner." The course had no existing curriculum and it provided a real life laboratory for him to have the curriculum come out of the community interactions that were happening in the classroom. So, while we have different learners and different contexts, we are playing with the idea that the community is the curriculum.
He had three goals - all of which were to change the focus from ‘the material’ to the ‘experience’. I'd say that our goals are similar in that we're not just building content together, but informally learning together.
Dave goes on to explain the concept of "Reverse Curriculum"
Reverse curriculum tends to develop out of the interests that the students show during the course and they get to record and create the material as part of their daily practice. It is part creative zone, part class note record and part review space. The constant revisitation of the material for sorting, upkeep and improvement also serves to reinforce the material.
In one way, our processes slightly differ here in that community isn't necessarily revisiting and resorting the materials. Or at least that was not the formal expectation for participation. Some participants, like Jocelyn Harmon, have done so on their own initiative. Take for example this summary of the first module.
Another point about goals:
Community Literacies esp. Community commitment
Maybe the most important part of the of a course like this are the community literacies that are accumulated through a community enquiry into new material. The learners found that they could work together and rely on each other. They wrote nightly reflections and commented and helped each other with their work and reactions to the course. the sense of ‘competition’ between students evaporated. A sense of responsibility to the work at hand became stronger as the students found less and less direct guidance coming from the front of the room.
Our project is not organized as a "course" or learning experience for participants -- and there is much reflection -- sometimes that occurs in the comments or in the sharing of words of wisdom around links added to the wiki. Again, this is related to the difference in project intentions.
How to encourage a culture of giving and contributing on a deeper level beyond fixing typos or adding a link? How to engage people more deeply and deepen some of the community learning literacies? How to create a culture of giving? That may well be a question for a different project or a different community, but something that I'm curious about.