Potcert week 3+1

Been thinking about whether I belong in a class for teaching when I’m basically a learner without formal qualifications or ambition to teach. Thanks for your patience.

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  • crumphelen  On September 24, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    Steady on Scott, what difference does having formal qualifications have on your ability to teach, impart knowledge or assist in the learning of others? Qualifications help get you a job, but they’re not always the best indicator that you can actually do the job. Since I met you in POTCert last year, I’ve learnt lots from you. I particularly recall how at the start you helped me to get a handle on the field of Instructional Design and your last blog post helped me to clarify attributes of personalised learning. Aaah, there’s been heaps!!
    You share honestly your experience, out loud thinking and reflections, which counts for a whole pile in my book. Maybe you think you should be able to hand out winning formulas for teaching?

    I don’t know what else to say because I wanted to reply to this post as soon as I read it, on Sunday, but I’ve been busy since, and now that I sit down to write it, I discover that you’ve decided to stand back from POTCert for a while. It’s a pity.You have a lot to offer.

    Anyway, best wishes and catch you around. Helen

    • scottx5  On September 24, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      Thanks for the supportive words Helen. There’s a strange condition in online learners that involves all sorts feelings that are hard to talk about–too personal maybe? Oh well… First thing for me as a learner is I have virtually no access to live human learning. The college where I worked has occasional outreach seminars on family violence, drug and alcohol recovery and all purpose How to Navigate the Legal System lectures. These are needed, well attended and serve the community, but all other topics are accessed online. Closest alternative is south to the city 3 hours away (and 3 hours back). Our regional library has minimal services, access to journals there has been cut as well as inter-library loans that originate from higher education sources. The college library is closed to the public.

      So, minimal contact with the civilized world and no tradition of thinking of education as a resource that a person would actually use (a weird situation to a kid who grew up in a university town). Plus I’m already overly sensitive to:

      • Feeling of isolation and dependence on a digitized reality fed to me by cable from somewhere “outside”
      • An odd identity based on companionship that emerges from a box in the spare bedroom and displays on a screen—almost a 3rd person social existence that I observe, not participate in
      • A sense that all this is very fragile and controlled by someone else standing by a switch somewhere.

      This all crashed in on me last week when I requested a simple note that I’d worked at the college for past 6 years. Didn’t ask for a recommendation or any details beyond a vague job description, just proof of attendance. I was told this sort of thing was not provided to casual employees so now it’s necessary to work through the union to get 6 years experience back.

      At some point you start to feel like you don’t exist. Nothing is tangible or in your hands and that’s how it can feel as an online student. It isn’t rational to believe that all that you are is data processed by some machine that reduces you to numbers and then passes you to another machine for reassembly that you aren’t really there. Except when you don’t get an answer and you wonder if the message was sent, or the world ended, or you said something stupid….

      Anyway, I’ve started reading about the meaning and characteristics of “participation” in the computer mediated culture we are building. Easy to forget our minds reside inside a body on the surface of a planet sometimes. That might matter in a way we don’t know. Are we more than the tenuous connection to each other by tiny electronic beeps that isn’t recognized? I’m not sure that’s something we should even get good at.

      I’ll try a different role. It isn’t clear what that will be.

      Thanks Helen for getting me started again. It’s nice to have smart friends in digital places


  • crumphelen  On September 24, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Quick thought: how adept are you at using all the new synchronous technologies like Skype, Google Hangout and Ellumiate, or whatever? Strikes me you would benefit from diving into these a lot more. Like you, I live off the beaten track and away from the academy, or any other throbbing hub of intellectual stimulation for that matter. I too feel that I need to participate in a more ‘real’ way and to hear myself say this stuff out loud more often, so I’ve decided to try and participate more in these channels… and guess what, POTCert is a great place for that. I wish they had hangouts last year. Maybe see you there?

    • scottx5  On September 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Good idea, as a total klutz with technology I’ve avoided Skype and Google Hangouts though working with Elluminate a few years back was fun. At one point we had a family voice thread site but the younger members didn’t like it so it collapsed. Interest in participation comes from some of the thoughts on community from the Oxford Brooks First Steps in Teaching and Learning paper: “Liminal Participants and Skilled Orienteers:
      Learner Participation in a MOOC for New Lecturers” http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no2/waite_0613.htm

      Some of my participation on the net is based on the desire to present in the whole world without limitations of locality. That sounds like puffery but it worries me sometimes that my sense of wonder is wearing out and where I live (both physically and mentally) needs some enhancement.

      This is an odd life “knowing” people you’ve never met. Cognitively, it should seem like an abstraction or like the way a movie is removed from reality by a step or so. But it doesn’t feel that way. Not “reality” yet we can sort of furnish with life and realness that’s more than just a trick of the imagination.

      Think I’ll blog about participation and what it means and find the old webcam and speakers for the hangout. Thanks,


  • crumphelen  On September 25, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    That’s the spirit. See you there.


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