What is my #rhizo15 Learning Subjective?

Not all those who wander are lostWhile I recently posted about Why I am engaging in #rhizo15 and  Learning Liminality I have still somehow avoided discussing my Learning Subjectives (as learning objectives are not readily possible when we do not know where we are going).

Perhaps this is because I so often avoid personal learning objectives.

I frequently retreat into researcher mode. Specifically as a qualitative researcher, where I always want to ask questions such as, “Why?, “Tell me what you mean by that?,” and “How did you…?” I often avoid making declarative comments, statements, or proclamations as, more often than not, I am wrong in some way. I hate being wrong, and find it easier to commit to the extent I can speak to, while avoiding presenting myself or my ideas narrowly that I somehow exclude other possibilities.

This all begs the question, what are my learning subjectives for #rhizo15?

Wow, I really do not know.

It is easy to say, “To build my network,” but that somehow seems to be a bit selfish, as if I am participating only to increase numbers or “get” stronger contacts (as if I go and “get” groceries or “get” 2% return on investments). The fact is (and I hate talking “facts” when engaging in social science research) that I do not know how #rhizo15 will increase, decrease, expand, contract, or otherwise alter my network. I have no idea how people will reply to my thoughts, ideas, or contributions (not to mention my struggles, conflicts, or confusions).

I can even list my “subjectives” as “To gather research ideas,” “Develop new career leads,” or “Use this as a purpose to interact with some really smart people.”

Perhaps many of these ideas have some (potential) merit, though I am not sure. In ways, I am scratching my head as to why I am engaging in #rhizo15 at all. Perhaps this is exactly to the point that Dave Cormier had in his Welcome post, inviting us to think about what we want, and why.

I am comforted by the words of Tolkien:

Not all those who wander are lost

This is why I am engaging in #rhizo15, wandering allows a certain openness to happen, like the finding of Threshold Concepts or Transformative Learning when one confronts disorienting dilemmas. Wondering with openness can lead to some interesting places. To this point:

The joy is in the journey, wherever it may lead.




Learning through Liminality #rhizo15

learning-and-painLeave it to Maha Bali @Bali_Maha to not only get me to read one of her blog posts, Learning as a Gift to Yourself & Others (I struggle reading anything longer than a Tweet these days), but to make me want to reply to her.

She took Dave Cormier’s @davecormier introductory #rhizo15 post, Learning Subjectives – designing for when you don’t know where you’re going:

Build learning subjectives: How do we design our own or others learning when we don’t know where we are going? How does that free us up? What can we get done with subjectives that can’t be done with objectives?

and answered it.

Her learning subjectives (as learning is a bit too messy to only have learning objectives) involves the metaphor of learning as a Gift.

I have spent quite a bit of time studying how very deep learning, such as of conceptual thresholds, comes through difficult, painful, liminal experiences. I like thinking of learning as a gift, like smiling on a sunny day or feeling I got through to one of my students struggling through a very difficult research concept, though more frequently consider learning (in my own life)–something that happens through difficulty, challenges, and struggle–to be somehow more valuable.

Learning through challenges, such as Liminal Learning in rites of passages, somehow resonates more with me. These sorts of threshold crossings that “may entail a shift in learner subjectivity, which is implied through the transformative and discursive aspects” of ones experiences can lead us in all sorts of new directions. The most delicious of those are the unexpected places, the opportunities we did not previously consider, where we are fundamentally changed.

What better way is there when approaching learning when we do not know where we are going? If this is the case for you, welcome to my Liminality!


Drawn into #Rhizo15

nietzscheLike I don’t already have enough things to do, what with my full-time work managing projects in health care and my 2, yes TWO courses I teach, that I decide to explore . . . just look at, mind you, this #rhizo15 . . . thing? . . . event?  . . . lifestyle cult? . . . learning experience? . . . boundary-pushing challenge?

So, in the spirit of @DaveCormier, our fearless facilitator in this networked and connected learning experience, I wanted to contribute at least one blog post as a flag in the sand, so to speak, that I am following along.

OK, enough following.

I have been wanting to make a comment all day on Dave’s opening video (odd, I don’t think I have ever heard Dave actually speak before), one that I thought was quite accessible and open to interpretation, yet one that poses #rhizo15 as something that is still unclear, though has nevertheless still involved many in its initial web of intrigue, or web of learning. Focused on Learning Subjectives, Dave’s words resonate in everything that is central to my teaching:

. . . right answers are things that will only exist in storybooks.

For those of us who work in the social science, this is our lives. Just as soon as we think we have the “right” answer, there is yet another perspective, interpretation, or consideration. Most of us are not scientists who work with controlled variables in isolated settings — most of us live in a messy world with lots of people and cultural influences and work, life, death, and everything in between. In some way, between all of these things, we still somehow learn. It is messy business, this learning is, though learn we do.

What is success for us within this (open, mooc) course? Perhaps that is the wrong question. It may be more useful to ask how can we best enjoy, or at least learn, while upon the journey?


Professional Pathways, Here I Come!

dmlcommonsI am looking forward to attending and engaging with the open #DMLcommons course, Professional Pathways. It is starting this week (or last week, to be precise), though I hope to engage with some (new) colleagues and further explore what this #AltAc (alternate academic) work looks like, or at least to better consider my options.

BTW, if nothing else, perhaps it will allow me to continue my work from #ccourses so I can finally update and begin to better use my blog here!

So, if this interests you:

DML Commons is a connected course that centers on convening community around topics in digital media and learning. The class modules, offered spring of 2015, focus on discussions around professional pathways for interdisciplinary work, and design-based research, targeted at graduate students, postdocs, and junior scholars.

then join me!


Personal Goals for 2015

While I had mixed results with my 2014 Goals and Intentions, I want to focus on moving forward rather than looking back. After all, measuring my previous personal success won’t get me very far now that we are into the new year. Onward and upward!

Having thought about these for some time now, these are my Personal 2015 Goals:

1. Engage in Timely Communication

I want to maintain Inbox ZERO (delete, delegate, respond, defer, or do) for Email and Social Media (Twitter replies, Facebook replies, etc.). Remaining current enables a discipline that I have long struggled to maintain, with the side effect of more strongly connecting me with my networks.

2. Communicate the Connections between my Learning and Teaching

I am always learning something or another, yet I do not always share this with my networks at the time. I want to more intentionally do this through social media, my blog, and other channels.

3. Attain Financial Balance

A fool and his (her) money is soon parted, and I am tired of playing the fool.

Some progress is better than none at all!