Thursday, December 25, 2014

big questions: next steps over winter break

Hi Everyone,
Thank you for a very inspiring and thought-provoking Finals Week.  Special congratulations to Imanie on her work in Belize-- her video & presentation left a powerful impression on us all.

I will be posting more after I get back to town December 29; in the meantime, here are next steps for you to take over break and a list of everyone's Big Questions.  Please feel free to comment with additions, corrections, suggestions, questions, etc. etc.

Enjoy your time with friends and family.

Dr. Preston

Now that you have experienced a full semester of Open Source Learning and you have identified a topic worth pursuing, it's time for you to take charge of your own education.  Here is how to start:

1. Write a post for your course blog in which you:
  • Describe your topic;
  • Explain how you came to be interested in your topic and why you care about it so much;
  • Predict how learning about this topic will enrich your life and provide value for learners and others in your community who read/see what you do;
  • List the academic disciplines and/or skills the topic requires (for example, game development requires an understanding of psychology, math, coding, literature, music, history/social studies, and many others);
  • Map out how you will begin learning about your topic (it's OK if you don't have a formal plan yet-- in fact, learning how to make a plan in this area may well be your first step);
  • Describe the resources you will need (wave the magic wand I just handed you and imagine for a moment that time, money and access are not obstacles. Who do you want to meet?  What materials do you need?  What types of experiences will you seek?);
  • Consider which tools you will use to tell your story.  Will you continue posting on your course blog?  Will you start a new blog, and if you do, will it be on Blogger, or WordPress, or Tumblr, or another platform?  Will you use other media and collaborative tools to curate, remix, and share your learning?  Do you have ideas about what would be cool but you're not sure what's out there? 
  • REMEMBER: At this point you are merely dreaming/thinking out loud.  It's important to express your thinking even if (especially if!) you're not sure of something, or if you have questions or doubts.  Plus, we learners are all in the same boat; these are the moments that restore a small sense of humanity to the learning process.  Imagine the comfort you'll provide to a student in New York or New Delhi who stumbles on your post and realizes she's not alone after all.  For us, certainty is overrated and uncertainty is a GOOD thing.  Have a look at what some very bright people have said and written about this.
  • ALSO REMEMBER: If you're still thinking of this as "homework" or an "assignment" you're missing the whole point.  This is you deciding what you think is important and telling the world about it.  Don't ask how long it needs to be or whether it fits a five-paragraph essay format-- it's time for YOU to decide how to most effectively express your thinking.  (And don't worry, if we don't understand something we'll ask!)  This is your chance to explore fearlessly so that you can: a) get the best information, b) learn something and/or get better at doing something, and c) begin to make a name for yourself in a community of interest, critique, and respect.  Therefore, you shouldn't just answer the items above to check boxes.  Go deep.  Take the opportunity to make this thing your own.  And, at any point you have questions or need help, reach out to Dr. Preston and your peers (and your friends, families, employers, mentors).  We're here for you and we want you to succeed so that we can all hit the ground running when we meet again in January.
2.  Find a fiction or non-fiction book that relates to your topic.  Read it over break and complete a literature analysis on it.  Post the analysis to your course blog.

3. Start a conversation with at least three other people in our network about their topics, and post to your course blog about your conversations (at least one post per conversation).  Networks function most effectively when their members actually network; this is a great way to get ideas and create innovation, and you will be surprised by the benefits your colleagues can offer!

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
    Merry Christmas and a happy New Year too :) kisses
    Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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