Making Sense of Open Education: Day 2 Building an Open Community – today’s learning centered on understanding a Community of Practice (CoP) and ways to find one. This connects neatly with my professional development efforts using OntarioExtend and my beginning development of a Professional Learning Network (PLN).
Let me begin by saying that I am very new at this. I have been working on my PLN for five weeks using Twitter. I am still sorting out what it is that I might be able to contribute.
In the readings, there were two aspects that struck a chord with me. In discussing the challenges of CoPs, Hayman pointed out that:
“If you are a marginalized person in your local context and/or workplace, if you feel like your opinions and voice are not valued, joining a new community can feel very risky.” Making Sense of Open Education Day 2 by Jenni Hayman is licensed with a CC BY 4.0 International license
I hesitate to admit that I am a marginalized person because there is a potential backlash for even saying so. I am a faculty member, as outlined in our Collective Agreement, but because I work in Student Services, I am often discounted by faculty who teach in the classroom. Part the reason is the structures we work under where faculty who teach are in the Academic Sector and faculty (generally counsellors and librarians) in the Student Services are in another sector. When surveys or registrations require you to “pick a school,” faculty like me who are school-less, cannot be heard or participate (unless you complain). When information is disseminated by schools, I don’t hear about it. Because faculty who teach are the majority, the professional development opportunities are geared to their needs. This and other experiences leave me feeling as an other.
I struggle to not feel like an other in Open Education professional development experiences as well because I don’t teach in a traditional sense. I do small-scale teaching with one time workshops, training tutors, seminars and other out-of-class experiences for students. I work on pilot projects that don’t fit anywhere else but this could mean that I have more opportunities to be open.
So yes, joining a new community feels very risky! I don’t know if I will be accepted or if I have something to offer and I don’t want to just take from the community. But at the same time, being new to this PLN building, I have found lurking to be a good strategy.
“It’s also completely okay (you don’t need anyone’s permission) to observe the course and the behaviours and communication of others in the course as part of your learning. This is sometimes called “lurking” in the online teaching and learning environment, but it’s not a very positive term. Observing (as many new-to-something learners do) is a valuable activity in the learning process.” Making Sense of Open Education Day 2 by Jenni Hayman is licensed with a CC BY 4.0 International license
I am learning a lot by observing including how to participate, what kinds of things to post, how to respond to posts, and what the social norms are like in this online community. At the same time, I am finding thought leaders to follow, organizations of interest, technology I can use, sources of OER and lots of information about Open Education. Oh yea, and I am learning to blog too!
NOTE: I am participating in a 15 day MOOC on Open University called Making Sense of Open Education and will blog entries to fulfil the activity requirement.