Right now, as a PhD student, I´m a participant in a course named “Cultural awareness in health and social research”. This course is a great collaboration between La Trobe University (Australia), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) and Malmö University (Sweden). We have meet once in a Zoom meting. At this webinar we presented us for each other and one of the instructor held a short opening introduction to the topic “cultural awareness”. As a common digital space our competent instructors have made us a Facebook group were we have been asked to post our personal reflections after this first webinar.
I guess we are all products of our experiences… I´ve participated in the ONL course and that have of course made me to who I am today 😉 No, but really… The experiences I had in this ONL course goes beyond oral explanations. The more I think of it… it has helped me and shaped me and my digital literacies in an amazing way (both personal and professional).
So, back to the course about cultural awareness. I was surprised by reading the other participants reflection since most of them dealt with the idea of coming together and interact with fellows worldwide. I am trained in the spirit of ONL and started with great joy to comment the other participant reflections, eager to discuss cultural awareness. I got an answer to all of my comments but then… nothing happened… ABSOLUTELY nothing! Until this day, no one else have made a comment and the Facebook group is a “dead” place for posting reflections and there is zero interaction.
We are a total of 18 participant and we have been divided into three smaller groups. And here comes trouble again… I find it extremely hard to get a group discussion going and a productive atmosphere to appear. It´s not that it is hostile, absolutely not, it just isn´t… it is nothing, as I said, lack of activity. Some of my dear group fellows don´t even return with answers about suggested times to meet. Some of it has probably to do with absent motivation but I am quite sure it also has something to do with digital literacies.
Lastly, I am utterly thankful for the time I spent in the ONL community! And you know what…? Today, I´ve been accepted into another Facebook group – the ONL alumni 🙂
In accordance with Vygotski´s belief, learning occurs in human interactions which is embedded in social context. In Vygotski´s sociocultural learning theory he acknowledge the individual learning and development dependent on collaboration with (sometimes more capable) peers and in relationship with others. Bandura, one of the main social learning theorist, claims that individuals learn behavioral patterns from each other through observation and imitation. Those observed response patterns have an inhibitory or dis-inhibitory effect on the learner who decides whether the observed response patterns are worth imitating. Thus, the individual decides whether or not the learning leads to a change in behavior (Jarvis, 2010). Considering this, it is of great importance that the community has a lack of pessimistic culture or toxic atmosphere since observing and imitating such behaviors and beliefs ought to be negative for the participant/learner. A community spirit is a reflection of its mind and soul and I believe that dedicated communities needs a leadership with emphasis on equality, engagement and contribution. Even with strong basic values such as, NOT allow bullying for example.
The phenomenon, Community of Practice origins from the sociocultural learning theory and is developed and described by Lave and Wenger (1999). The theory is based upon several assumptions, where among other things, knowledge is dependent on collaboration. The knowledge is described to be embedded and integrated into social relationships and communities. A key factor, in a community where the participants have a shared interest and passion for something, is the commitment and the desire to interact regularly. Social media can be used as a facilitator for this communication. By participating in the Open Networked Learning I´d experienced how it is to be a part of a great community where we collaborated and shared our precious ideas with each other. Still is by the way!
Sam Heughan is one of the leading star in the filmed version of my favorite story Outlander. He has founded a community named “My peak challenge“, which is a great example of how a supportive and encouraging community can be build. The peak challenge is about making positive changes in life, to simply live healthier, happier and more balanced. The challenge could be either physical or creative – you decide and make a promise to yourself. The physical part comes quite natural for me since I´ve regularly been exercising for years… Guess I´m addicted to the endorphin. If I should make a promise to myself and become a peaker, I think my challenge would be of another kind. It would be to build a friendly and enhancing community with my students and fellow colleagues on the exciting topic Acid-Base Balance.
To summarize, I say – YES to Community of Practice – Je Suis Prest (I am ready)!
References Jarvis P (2010) Adult education and lifelong learning. Theory and practice. (4th ed.) London & New York, Routledge.
Lave J, Wenger E (1999) Learning and pedagogy. I Leach J, Moon B (red.) Learning and pedagogy. London, Paul Chapman.
I sense increased opportunities by participating in this iteration of the ONL course. So what´s the secret to sucking me in to engage once again? Opportunities to interact and engage in this amazing community of fabulous, creative and knowledgeable people. Yesterday, when I was casually looking into our Goggle+ community I got inspired by Anita Berlin. She´s made a great post about digital literacies and ended it with a hilarious clip from the Ellen DeGeneres show with title “You posted that on Facebook?“. Ellen is showing pictures from some of the audience Facebook timelines and… oh my goodness – what did they thought of when they published some of the photos? The photos were (I believe) intended for personal amusement but obviously easy to find for those who wanted to. So we really have to think of what we upload to this thing called internet and we need to reflect of how we want to be perceived.
I try to keep my digital identity clean and sober. I do have a weakness for guinea pigs and that has resulted in their own Instagram but apart from that, I don´t think I have any skeleton in the cupboard…
David White (2014) is talking about our motivation to engage and that we have different modes that we use depending of the context we´re in. When we´re in visitor mode, we don’t leave any trace of our-self online, comparing to the residents mode, where we choose to be present with other people.
Last year I started this blog (in residents mode) and I felt then, and still does, that it is scary to write “in public” like this. I see this blog posting, as a challenge and it is a part of a plan for my professional development as a lecturer. I want to reflect, to write down my thoughts and get comments from wise colleagues and by that process and interaction grow and enhance my digital literacies.
First of all I have to clarify that I´m alright, I´m actually fine. And with that statement I also would like to add a new sudden feeling of loneliness. One year ago I participated in the ONL161 together with Nour, Marc, Åsa, Jennifer and Alastair. Some weeks the struggle was real, especially when it came to find time for the studies. When completing the course I felt like I was on top of the world. I had a feeling of achievement, that I had accomplished something. Last term I was a co-facilitator in the ONL162. This term I am… nothing…
I´m the only one at my department that have participated in the ONL course. To be honest, I have a lack of companions and friendlessness at my department. No one to share the experience of ONL with. In order to take away this feeling, I guess I have a need for new strategies to keep in touch with my personal learning network. As a first step I have decided to be an open learner in the ONL171!