CCK08: Writing Assingment #1: A Personal Reflection

I decided write a bit about how I wrote the first assignment, in part to show some anecdotal support for my thesis that Connectivist learning is a revolution in learning affairs. (See my earlier post)

I read the details of the assignment on Sept 27 and realized that I needed to get organized since I did not recall all the details I had read re Connectivism. Luckily, one of the course requirements is to maintain a Concept Map for later grading, so I spent 4 nights Monday-Thursday (or about 6 hours of work) playing catch up on all the readings to day summarizing them in the Concept Maps. My concept map got really messy as to how I laid it out so I had to spend an hour reorganizing it. While logging summaries of the readings, I embedded hyperlinks in the file. This would save me time later.

On Friday Night, Oct 3, I laid out the draft outline of the paper and formulated my introduction including the thesis that Connectivism is a revolution in learning affairs. I then caught up on the forums and discovered an energetic discussion around the Revolution in Military Affairs/Learning affairs metaphor. So I spent Saturday mulling the thesis over and its proof while doing things with the kids. Saturday night I was wiped form a week of staying up till midnight working on the concept map, so I just limited myself to some forum posts and rereading of Week 1-4 stuff.

Sunday night I started at 9:30 writing the essay. It took until about 11:30 to nail down what Connectivism is, differences with other theories, what the critics say and what I think about it. Then I started in on my last 3 paragraphs discussing the revolution metaphor. When looking for some material in the forum, I discovered another student did not like Revolution, preferring Transformation so that I incorporated that into discussion. I also included Stephen and Georges Ustream comments that they did not consider themselves Revolutionaries. I then compared them to Marx and Engels. I found myself thinking Marx and Engels were academics and not revolutionaries. The real revolutionaries were Trotsky and Lenin. I felt uncomfortable with that assertion and I thought I was going to have to dig out some old Russian history texts. But Wikipedia had my answer. Marx did advocate revolution and even went back the Germany to start a paper to help incite it. Engels actually participated in a military uprising. With my assertion negated, I included that into the paper and calmed my argument. I spent a few minutes critiquing my thoughts about where Connectivism leaves me felling “hollow” and brought in some readings I had found on free educational materials at MIT to back up Stephens’ hopes for the Web. I spent the last half hour documenting and hit the publish button at 1:45 AM

All told, the actually essay writing took 4 hours and 45 minutes for 1875 words. (Yes Stephen, I was only a thousand over, but I had a lot on my chest and a thesis to prove.) The preparation (note taking so to speak took 6 hours or so, which was kind of equivalent to attending classes for course up to this point. Forum reading and replies which helped clarify my ideas and forced me to re-learn my old college major, took another 2 hours. The interesting point I wanted to bring out was that the writing phase was under 5 hours. In the old pre-internet days, I would have had to stop writing at 11 PM and race to the library before it closed to validate Marx and Engels. The U of Windsor library would have closed at 11PM so I would have had to wait until 8 AM Monday morning to validate that and then skip first class to write it out and submit in time.

I estimate that the Social Web 2.0 and all the free internet materials saved me at least 50% of my writing and research time because I was not wasting time going to and fro to the library and wasting a lot of time validating some basic facts. Google gave me what I wanted. Also, the idea of concept maps did not exist in my undergrad days so studying involved a lot of re-reading of the same lecture notes hoping I picked up on enough concepts to pass the mid and final exams. I think Concepts maps were a critical part of me navigating the readings as I drew linkages form one other to another. Also, the Forums gave me an excellent chance to practice my ideas, without having to physically go out and find a classmate on campus to play “bounce the idea”. The fact that everyone’s ideas were available for instant recall by using the Moodle search was a real joy. Remember college days when discussions took place over beer and wine and learning was adversely affected by the buzz and a hang-over?

So, long story short, Connectivism really worked for me.

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2 Responses to “CCK08: Writing Assingment #1: A Personal Reflection”

  1. CCK08: Spirit of Openess for Assingment 1 « Bradleyshoebottom’s Weblog Says:

    […] CCK08: Spirit of Openess for Assingment 1 In the spirit of openenss and to fllow the wave Lisa set, here is my assessment of Assignment 1(paper1_bradleyshoebottom) and my original post. […]

  2. ruthdemitroff Says:

    Reading your post makes me nostalgic for the beer and the wine and the buzz and the hangover and I didn’t even have that experience. I tried the free online access to SAGE publications and enjoyed what I read but I needed more than is in the synopsis and less than is in the articles. I can see developing networks just to divide up the reading and analysis if you are right about the ability to produce twice as much in half the time with A+ level quality results. Remember those old eye chart posters that said “too much sex makes you go blind”. Well I’m wondering if continual reading of computer screens is going to create a rise in macular degeneration and a decrease in seasonal affective disorder through increased exposure to the light.

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