Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Why another blog?  I don't keep up well enough on the ones I already have, so why more?  E-Learning and Digital Cultures.  It's an online course, or more precisely, a Massive Open Online Course.  A MOOC as the kids say.  And this one is #ECDMOOC.  Go ahead, read some of the tweets.  I'll wait.

Clear now?  No?  Yeah, me too.  At the very basest level it comes down to this.  I'm part of the online course mentioned above.  My task in a nutshell is to have left behind a digital artifact to be criticized (creatively one would hope) by my peers, reflective of my thoughts on the topics of either utopia/dystopia or being human as related to digital learning/knowledge/culture.  Digital artifact, for those who are staring at the screen with eyes glazed over, simply means that the final project has to use a digital medium: blog, online video, tweets, etc.

Now add to the mix that there are apparently 40K people taking this course right now.  And that the course structure is fairly fluid and open.  We are encouraged to view videos and reflect.  Comment in forums.  Post to blogs.  Discuss with one another.  Question.  Tweet.  Start Facebook groups.  Leverage social media.  Thus the blog title.

The internet is a mess of interconnections.  It is a great analogy for many things, life being one of them. Every life is a mess of interconnections.  There are the strong connections: immediate family, close friends, (current) colleagues.  Then there are the weaker connections: extended family, distant friends and acquaintances, (former) colleagues.  There are connections that are weaker still.  These are faces we recognize but don't really know, people we met only briefly or ever so casually.  They are the cashier at the grocery store that you see every week but whom you don't know anything about.  And then the least of the connections, the ships in the night.  These are the people we pass everyday but don't interact with; we brush past each other, almost close enough to touch, but never interact directly with one another, aside from the act of passing by one another.

The point is that in both life and on the internet there are a multitude of connections, and each then opens up the possibility of more new connections.  And so too with the construction of this course.  There are many ways to go off and explore.  It is anything but linear.  And that is both beautiful for the choice and variety it presents and discouraging for the sheer number of choices.  It can be overwhelming.  Utopia.  Or the other.  Just like life.  Like being human.

I expect to be fleshing this out a bit as I go on, but for now I'll leave it at this so I don't lose track of where I (think I) am heading.

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