Heli connecting ideas » Blog Archive » Just checking my habits in fslt12

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

It’s always interesting to see things from a slightly different perspective. Heli Nurmi in fslt12 expresses a different preference from mine about keeping up with online discussions.

She prefers to visit discussion pages, while I prefer to get notifications – perhaps by email, but more ideally through an RSS reader like GoogleReader. But it is true that I also like to have the posts link back to somewhere where the entire thread is available. Does it really need to be hosted in a fixed site like Moodle though? or could we have a tool that automatically put together the thread on a given topic by pulling out the relevant posts from individual blogs? Perhaps Stephen Downes’ gRSShopper will do that, so maybe I should have another go at installing it for myself and seeing what it can do.

Attacks on connectivism « Jenny Connected

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Jenny Mackness has asked “What is it about connectivism that stirs up such strong emotion?” – with reference in particular to a couple of people who seem to have taken up crusades against it in which they have engaged in disruptive behaviour and ad hominem attacks. My suspicion is that this is an example of the kind of academic jealousy that becomes particularly intense when one perceives others (especially “outsiders”) getting a lot of attention for something one considers unworthy. There is no doubt that connectivism has been getting a lot of attention and that the crusaders have let their fear of “outsiders” taint their arguments. But it is still worth asking why they see connectivism as unworthy.

Perhaps it is because they are offended by its self-description as a “theory”.  Jaap has pointed out, “the incommensurability of the Einstein View and the Toolkit View” of what is a theory, and I made a similar distinction towards the end of the discussion thread on Learning Theories in cck11 (which I will recap here mainly just so I have it in my own blog for future reference).

When people in the hard sciences see the word “theory”, they expect to see predictions of testable consequences rather than “just” statements of interest or value. If the word “perspective” was used instead, then there would be less indignation at having been “oversold” and more willingness perhaps to engage with the real issues, values, and tools that the connectivist perspective brings to our attention.

The other side of the coin is also relevant. The claim that one has a “theory” about something has the effect of appearing to claim authority for one’s assertions (and also to some extent discouraging the less adventurous from asking too many questions). If at the same time one stretches concepts and words beyond what is familiar this can feel like an attempt at bamboozlement which again can cause people to get frustrated, angry and irrational.

#CCK11 Tech Support

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Rose Heaney asked in the cck11 Facebook group about how to ask a question about course tools and structure. I would be inclined to say “start a discussion topic on Stephen’s gRSShopper site”, but the only way I know of to do that is to write a blog post and then comment on the reference to it when it shows up in the daily harvest. If no-one else does so before me, I will do that with this post tomorrow.

Relational Learning — Say What?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Lindsay Jordan just posted this to the cck11 Facebook group, and I am really glad she did.

The piece just sings for me. It both realizes and humanizes the subject and opens me up from the dry pseudo-theory that I am often perversely so attracted to.

Progress and Learning in cck11

Monday, March 7th, 2011

According to Stephen, if I achieve the following (conventional)

standards of success:

– fluency with and use of a certain vocabulary

– exposure to and familiarity with a standard body of literature

– conduct of enquiry in a generally accepted form of discourse

– acceptance of an underlying set of principles

then I will have become a groupist (groupie? grouper?) rather than a connectivist.

So I guess I should stop trying to talk the language of networks and connective knowledge, ignore the suggested readings, try to make my discourse less acceptable to a serious audience, and deny the underlying principles of connectivism.

Maybe I’m a better student than I thought!

Types of Knowledge

Monday, March 7th, 2011

I have argued with my Statistician friends against the validity of a real binary distinction between “Qualitative” and Quantitative” knowledge, but even were I to accept that,  I don’t see Stephen’s idea of Connective Knowledge as a distinct “third type” of knowledge. To me the question of connectivity or not is orthogonal to that of  quantitativity vs qualitativity, and if connective knowledge exists it may well also be quantitative (and/or qualitative).

Connectivist Theories

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Although I am reluctant to refer to connectivism itself as a theory, I do see quite a bit of potential for finding useful theories within the connectivist paradigm. …more »

#CCK11 #PLEK12 Digital identity as key competency | Learner Weblog

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

This post by John Mack is also relevant to the #CritLit2010 course that ran last summer.

In Defense of Ideology

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Some participants in #CCK11 seem to take offense at the use of the term “ideology” to describe connectivism. But I think they are mistaken.

In fact I think there’s nothing derogatory about it, and regardless of whether or not I am right about their status as scientific theories, I will be very surprised if most people don’t agree that most Learning Theories have at least a significant ideological component – as suggested by their names if nothing else.

After all, an ideology is just a system of related beliefs about values. We all have things we value, and sometimes we find an ideology useful for helping to maintain some sort of consistency in our rankings of them. But our committment to an ideology can be both conditional and flexible. (If it was always absolute then there would be no need for the word “ideologue”.) …more »

Belief Systems vs Theories

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

What’s in a name?















Newtonian dynamics

quantum mechanics


statistical mechanics



plate tectonics


natural selection

punctuated equilibrium