Sunday, March 20

Are you MOONing or MOOCing ?

While belatedly establishing some links in my MOOC Live Binder, I returned once again to the eminently practical, critically thinking , Sean Fitzgerald's Blog where he ruminated on the Semantic challenges of courses, PLEs, PLNs. learning etc.
"......From the beginning of this course I stated (I’m baaaaack! And I’m reviving this blog for the PLENK2010 MOOC) that my intention was to explore how we can use the MOOC model and principles to engender the “large-scale and rapid social transformations I believe we need in this time of change, challenge and crisis. (I’m not so much interested in the content of #PLENK2010 – PLEs & PLNs – as I am in the process.)..."
 "..... If the goal is to extend the MOOC model beyond a strict learning or education focus then shouldn’t we come up with another name for it? Wouldn’t calling it a “course” hold it back from its full potential? Suggestion ? What about Massive Open Online Network ? (MOON) or Massive Online Network (MON), since it’s only open in relation to historically closed courses anyway? Or what about Massive Network (MN), since the “online” is a given and therefore superfluous? What about just Network, as they can be small or large, depending on need? Does it really even need a name?......."
 which directed me to:
Cris Crissman's  comment on Sean's blog directed me to Ulises Mejias blog. He suggests: 
The lack of a critical approach to understanding digital networks is partly due to the fact that most analyses have theorized the digital network only from within (what I call a nodocentric approach), while I am also interested in looking at the social, political and economic impact of the digital network as it looks from the outside (except that in networks the outside is everywhere)
Now these are the same issues and questions that are arising in CCK11, and as has been stated in many locations before, it reinforces the value of a well designed Open Course freed from most of the restrictions of a walled garden. The participants, even the peripheral learners (as defined by John Mak) are exposed to a kaleidoscope of perspectives from which they can formulate their own thoughts and beliefs. Sean's ruminations then led me on a quest to explore rumination as a thought process, which directed me to:
As I processed what I read, I perceived an analogy between the ruminant's digestive process and the node's process in a network. Now the image of a cow is much more in keeping with the term MOOC, however I felt a sheep, being a fellow ruminant was as good a mascot considering the significance of not sheepishly following any node, irrespective of reputation or credentials, so I thought i'd go with the flow, so to speak. It's a return to my thoughts about the dangers of 'hive think'
"....Sheep belong to the ruminant classification of animals.The rumen is a large storage space for food that is quickly consumed, then later regurgitated, re-chewed, and re-swallowed in a process called cud-chewing. Rumination or cud chewing occurs primarily when the animal is resting and not eating. Healthy mature sheep will chew their cuds for several hours each day...."
The ruminant's digestive process parallels the node's in a network.  The reality is that the ruminant/node needs to quickly consume large quantities of information (aggregate), and the expectation according to Connectivist principles is that it is then remixed/ regurgitated, re-chewed, and re-swallowed   
The rumen is also a large fermentation vat. Fermentation in the rumen produces enormous quantities of gas that ruminants get rid of by belching (burping). Anything that interferes with belching is life-threatening to the ruminant and may result in a condition called bloat. (infoglut) Mild cases of bloat can usually be successful treated with an antacid (personal reflection) One of the global impacts of ruminant livestock production is that when ruminants belch, they produce methane/'crap', one of the greenhouse gases.
which directed me to:
 which directed me to:
Howard Rheingold has some strategies for crap detection............

 which directed me back to Sheep 101:
"....A small amount of methane is also produced by manure. Scientists are currently study ways to reduce methane production from ruminant livestock. For example, it is known that livestock fed certain plants (accurate information) produce less methane. Australian scientists are testing a vaccine to reduce methane production. "Fart" taxes have been proposed to help fund the research. They have not been implemented...."
How proud am I to be an Aussie! We get right down to the basics, even our scientists. Is imposing 'fart taxes' a possibility for networks ? Could this be a strategy for dealing with trolls ? For this to be effective, networks would need to be both self regulating and highly evolved. And I certainly believe that these kinds of networks exist. But all is not perfect as in any facet of life, both online and RL. 
Now this has ramifications for my interpretation of Gordon Lockhart's MOOC infographic, however I'm focussed enough to not become distracted by drawing version 2 of my own interpretation.
Now in an endeavour to not fall off the semantic merry-go-round, I Googled whether 'distillation' was the most appropriate term for ellucidation of my thoughts,
and I uncovered a wonderful new resource: Webster's Online Dictionary with multilingual translation.......
which directed me to
which has proven to be a resoundingly worthwhile discovery. Now, whoever doubted the power of serendipitous learning when one is not burdened with the time restraints of credit courses ?
Reading back, all this post has done is document my propensity for being distracted. I believe it has been personally productive distraction - it continues to contribute to the distillation, (or should that be filtration) of my ideas .


  1. Seems Malawi has beaten Oz to the farting ban:

  2. Well, thank you for that profound contribution Ken :)! Found myself being distracted again at this site. Was motivated to explore - "strange laws around the world"

    "............In New Orleans, La., and Memphis, Tenn., a woman is only allowed to drive if her husband walks or runs in front waving a red flag warning pedestrians and other vehicles. This law no longer exists, with good reason!....."
    Now that did bring a smile to my face - a good way to start the day (smiling, i.e)

    Had a particularly trying day yesterday, so thank you ! Hope all is going well with your studies