This is not the third paper. I want to place my thoughts here to let them go, to reflect on them and leave my morning's non practical thoughts behind.
When I signed up for the CCK08 course I knew it was beyond my league, now I see that to participate in an online course feeling so detached from the "teachers" or moderators and participants doesn't work well for me. I had fun as Sia Vogel mentions, but not during the entire journey as I'm used to have at the EVO sessions.
As participant, the Webheads provided me with readings that helped me to understand my role as participant and to succeed in online courses. Issues like "Personal Learning Environments" (PLE), Online Courses Design, Learning Theories from the Online point of view, Properties of Networks, Instructional Design, Complexity and Chaos, Power and Control, Epistemology, History of Networked Learning, Collectives, Roles of the Teacher, Openness, etc. were all new concepts to me. Unfortunately, before this course I have never heard of Stephen Downs, George Siemens and connectivism.
The fact that I plunged into a totally new conceptual environment did not help me either to have fun, the people I'm learning from/with are more savvy, experienced and better conceptually placed than me. Most of them are recognized figures in their fields, busy people, with little time and low inclination to waste time explaining the obvious to me. This is not a complain, it's a description of a fact, I understand their position.
When I opened my own online course, BaeL, I did not have access to all the readings I have given access now that I'm part of the moderators EVO team. I have access now to tutorials to set up groups, readings to help me select which venue suits best my courses targeted outcomes, readings about online learning, emails with information about the "back stage", the set up, the management of the courses, the facilitation role, etc. I set BaeL course on my own, selected the venues and tools with my instincts as guide and once armed I invited the Webheads to join. Of course I asked thousand of questions, some were answered and some were not.
Some Webheads joined and have not interacted, some were active during the online course and then backed away, some are still participating with me in that learning journey. I'm thankful to all. The remaining Webheads at BaeL are having fun while learning, we are learning all sorts of things, we became a caring tight knitted group with no teacher appointed, we learn from each other, we encourage each other, we learn practicing together and sharing experiences, we are open to our feelings and respect our cultural differences.
When I joined FaceBook, I had so many friends already there that I started feeling concerned by my slow answer rate. Rita Zeinsteger, one of my most admired Webheads, told me then: "If it's not fun, it's not worth". It's one of the best advice I have received.
To work online you need discipline, to set times to be in front of the computer and respect them, otherwise the overload may threat your life and well being. The new term I learned is: Burn out. Today at Ustream, in our weekly live session, Stephen Downes shared that "We have to focus, to know what we are looking for" If we surf the net with something in particular in mind we can handle overload better by narrowing our choices.
How do you handle the feeling of overload?, How do you manage your weak ties?, Do you feel comfortable in an environment where most of your ties are weak? This network environment is kind of new for me, your insights will be welcomed and very helpful.