Chris' public learning, week 1

6th March

I've had some good contact with a couple of students. Zero progress on getting them into the G+ community which will enable easy hangouts (i.e. video conf) so now I add to the load by getting them to sign into the wiki and set up a twitter account. What I need to convey better is that the course is hugely flexible in terms of meeting professional needs and interests. Working against the dull, mind-numbing formulaic course, i.e. read these x articles and write an essay based on them is always tricky. The world does not work that way anymore even though many academics in education still think it does.

3rd March

This time in a course is a bit like what if we organised a war and no one showed up. I've lived through enough of these times/moments to know that there are usually two groups of students who have yet to say hello: those who have yet to get around to it and those who are for one reason or another a bit shy. I'm putting posts into the G+ community site before folk arrive, not to swamp them but so i don't forget things when a useful piece comes into view.

1st March

I have deliberately taken a short course using FedWiki, a different kind of wiki, let's say experimental. The guy who developed the 1st wiki, Ward Cunningham is participating as are a bunch of interesting Ed-Techish-like folk. I needed to be reminded about how tricky it is not to know how to do stuff which is what some of the students in this course will be going through. It, the FedWiki happening is also interesting because it is trying to mesh this way of working with conventional teaching practices, no simple or easy task.

27th Feb

This is a little before week 1, i.e. the end of what is called orientation week.

I've received my first email from a student. He told me all i needed to know. Great. I would like to get them into the G+ site as soon as possible so we can begin to share ideas/feelings/problems. There is always a sense of given all the information you dump on them at the beginning just adds to their anxiety and confusion. If I drip fed the info though, with the current constraints it would take forever.

And another email. Good. I know from other years that students struggle to get to thinking about a resource. I'd like to encourage them to think about the problems they are currently thinking about, problems in the most generic sense and then, working backwards think about a resource that might be handy or useful, something small, doable and able to be sent around for feedback. Then they can think about that part of the field we are wandering through and that can serve as a support for their resource, i.e. the 1st task.

Student-teacher relationships are always difficult to 1st establish and then maintain. Face-to-face has the advantage of all of the unspoken communication that humans are so good at. Online you have an impoverished, limited space in which to work.

Then a bit of amusement. I replied to the 2nd email, it was an EQ email address and then got this:

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

ua.ude.qe|xxxxxx#ua.ude.qe|xxxxxx (anonymised)

Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain eq.edu.au by mxa.eq.edu.au. [203.10.121.2].

The error that the other server returned was:
552 5.2.0 xJSg1p00D3oogoH02JSiS8 message rejected, spam detected (0.20)

Lesson: The good algorithms at EQ think my writing to students is spam!