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Last course: true online collaboration

August 1, 2010

Just finished my course Friday. As we wrapped up four weeks of examining and discussing the general concepts of “teaching”, “learning” and “knowledge”, we attempted a construct analysis exercise to explore what these graduate students saw as being important in their online learning experience. Without getting into the scientific validity of the exercise, the concept of collaboration was clearly evident as being the most important reason for using any of the available technologies. In this course, about a dozen students attended a daily “class” in a multipoint videoconferencing environment from their respective homes. In spite of the distance between them, a sense of belonging seemed to build over the four weeks as they discussed, collaborated in small groups and even at the end surprised me with a wonderful “thank you” presentation. What amazed me, was the fact that this was done by a group that only met online.
So if the change to Web2.0 is all about social networking, it would, seem that learning is going about a similar change. I would suggest that learning 2.0 will be a concept that will become socially acceptable when we are ready to recognized that learning is a collaborative activity, not a competitive one, that it is done by a community that is not connected by geographical proximity but by proximity of interests and by a shared intellectual culture.
This course is done and I must take this with me as I prepare form the fall semester!

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