WEEK 8 to 10ish

Just back from a conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and it’s hard to focus with so many ideas swirling around in my head.

My conflict over all the tools we are learning—and the tools I work with every day that leave me empty.

One concern that comes from our study of creating community in an online course is my worry that we are losing the core of the education experience by being so determined to explore expressiveness in many, many venues. The literacy of working together is being traded for the “21st century literacies” of apprenticing in highly mediated presentation programs. Where do I stop being a person among others and switch to the production of an highly edited “event”? Over the uncertainty and vulnerability of my normal clumsy expressiveness I can now apply a clever avatar as spokesperson or a camera-ready glossy magazine artwork rendition of my awkward but sincere understanding of what I’ve learned. Are we building community or a circle of wizards each with a specialty in some digital spell casting? Or maybe a better image is adepts AT talking at each other rather than with each other?

Is this another version of education being a process of molding people into desirable citizens over the more difficult process of teaching them how to be themselves? In college I flunked philosophy 101 because my final paper on alienation of self was mostly a series of collages clipped from high resolution advertisements from consumer magazines. Today, I’d probably get an “A” for the clever mash-up but at that time this wasn’t done. And regardless of my being off-assignment there was the deeper feeling of being so far outside the membership qualifications of studenthood that I could actually “fail.” Or a better way to express this: outside the dominant discourse. And have we really changed by being so entirely in the thrall of techno tools that we are back to the appearance of knowing (pretty, surfacy and well completed) over the scattered, needful in an honourable way and incomplete in a way that urges us on?

New subject: the concept of “hosting” as a key concept of building an online community. What does it mean to host?
• To welcome and provide comfort
• To not refuse anyone
Many others I’ll leave open for now.

References worked with:
Collaboration: The Courage to Step Into a Meaningful Mess
By Alycia Lee and Tatiana Glad, 2010
With a special thank you to Bob Stilger as a reflection partner

“It is easy to doubt when you do not know the outcome but confidently believe you are on the right path. We are so driven to attain results that we often bypass one of the key components of creativity: the ability to question what we think we know. Making room for imagineering and ingenuity means holding back on coming to certainty in favour of holding ambiguity. This makes people nervous and they need assurances that questioning interpretations, paradigms and understanding of what is real and true does not mean throwing out what is real and true. Sometimes we have to be okay with not knowing so that we can move on to something better. Even more so, sometimes we have to allow space for complete questioning of what we have come to accept as reasonable.”

This being Augustine Rodin’s 172th birthday: the struggle for identity goes on.

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