Thinking about Structure, Sites and Instruction

DALMOOC is complex

In a recent tweet Prof Siemens commented about a fellow learner’s observations of distributed learning:

Its years since I was at university, but the unmistakeable roller-coasterbutterflies-in-the-stomach feeling of terror without actual danger is unmistakeable. Simply put, the the instructional landscape of DALMOOC—spread across seven different web sites—is complex:

  • Edx
    • Courseware (videos)
    • Discussions
    • Quick Helper
  • Assignment Bank
  • Third Party Software Sites (Tableau, Gephi)
  • ProSolo
    • Learning
    • Competencies
    • Status Wall
  • Bazaar
  • Twitter
  • Google
    • Hangouts
    • Plus (Posts)
    • Docs
  • Personal Blogs

Haphazardly checking all these sites, I’m anxious of missing information, and generally, spending a lot of time tending to all these feeds.

Diagram. A simple diagram of Student Instruction Flow. (Google Docs). Links between activities and sites are linked qualitatively (see below).

What’s more, as a stop gap solution for lack of a personal blog, I started using Adobe’s portfolio site for presenting my Gephi assignments. Behance is great for a fast page. The screen real estate for my projects share space with the site’s branding. I could see immediately the experience was not ideal.

Its Blogging Time


Browsing some of the blog links at ProSolo I was inspired by fellow student’s blog. Laura Hickling writes in an easy style, and uses a variety of enticing graphics. Her tag line, “I love”, reminds me how thankful I am for today’s online learning opportunities. A blog for DALMOOC is a fitting way to express my gratitude and tell my learning story.

Last night I made a sub-domain at my project site just for DALMOOC: [1]

WordPress template system makes for quick work. Its not perfect, but its a permanent address where I can take more control the presentation. This leads me to the next diagram describing the sites where my learning data can be distributed:

Diagram. Student Data Flow (Google Docs)

Planning My DALMOOC Data Flow

I hope to create two processes for managing the rest of my experience with DALMOOC. First, knowing where to look for DALMOOC instruction. (Maybe even building my own Visual Syllabus into the diagram?) Second, planning the distribution of my completed assignments and interaction with the community—When to tweet? When to post?

In both diagrams, I work to evaluate the entire field of available sites & activities (or all that I can think of). Each node has multiple potential outlets based on feature qualities. For example, the Q&A activity is stronger in my opinion on Edx Discussion forums compared to Bazaar. Carefully crafted questions are effective for achieving specific answers. In chats, you can only ask the same question so many times of the same person before they get bored or change the subject, whereas a Q&A forum post wait until someone wants to answer it. As long as you don’t mind the wait.

The Next Plan…

Actually, this is the next plan. I had a plan, but it changed. I fully expect my plan to change again. The more engaged I become with the material, different areas become clearer. Like rereading a favorite book.


[1]: Seriously, I know, the Naive Approach is a ridiculous name. I wanted it to be evocative, but also something silly which can’t be mistaken for something really serious. In the years since, I’ve warmed and cooled to the site name. I read a critique of Derrida describing a colleague’s work using a similar phrase with the word ‘naive’. I can’t decide if I I’m thrilled, or if I should think better of a phrase used as ridicule by Derrida.

And, of course, “the Thing” is a character owned by Marvel Comics.