Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First steps in MOOC and PLN

This is my very first blog, which I created especially for this course and my very first experience with MOOC, PLN and PLE. I have never been too active in any social networks (excluding facebook which I usually use to keep in touch with my friends scattered all around the world) nor applied too much technology either in teaching or learning processes. As this is totally new and experimental experience for me, it appears quite motivating and exciting to me. In general, I love to learn new things through any given opportunity, interact with different people and learn from this interaction, although I have to admit that such interaction has taken place only in a real, face-to-face setting in my case. I am happy to discover that this very course gives an opportunity to interact with people from diversified backgrounds; I was pleasantly shocked by the number of participants and I am still fascinated by the diversity of the class.  
The reason for attending this course is the desire to learn about new trends/innovations occurring in Higher Education field, but also the theme of this course is related to my PhD (Networked Innovations) which makes it even more interesting for me.
I myself always believed that any kind of learning should not be restricted to set and predetermined requirements/content, it should be learner-oriented and offer some freedom of choice and flexibility for students. While reading about PLE/PLN, I discovered that it actually offers the opportunity for the learner to launch creative learning process/exploration/discovery, compile valuable resources/information in one or few easily accessible/retrievable virtual spaces (by creating PLN), express personal viewpoints/reflections about different issues and share resources/opinions about them with various other people all around the world; but the most exciting point is the outcome itself: the knowledge acquired through interactive learning, through discussions and sharing of reflections made possible only through PLN.
At this point I cannot make a very explicit or clear distinction between PLN and PLE, I see them as interconnected concepts, PLN: a virtual space, mirror of our interests/ wonders/ likes/ dislikes/ storage of resources and a destination for interaction with colleagues/people with similar interests. I see PLE as a system consisting of various web-based tools making the PLN functional.
To sum up my post, I am very excited to be a part of this course and I am very eager to learn with all of you. But as I don’t have much knowledge or experience with PLE/PLN, sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed with loads of information, find it hard to keep up with all the discussions or actively participate in them, although I do hope to catch up and become more active in them.

Wish you all productive, exciting and creative learning process.

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