A Few Words About Taking Risks

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOegmM6qQmc?rel=0&w=420&h=315]

My hopeful audience for this blog post is my Univ 200 Summer MOOC students in Section 008. But truthfully, because our blogs are aggregated on the thoughtvectors.net site, anyone who visits our site or joins our open online course can read this post —– which means, anyone can see the video above, which I made as a silly course “trailer” in an “oh well I”ll just give this a try” moment. Now it lives on the internet, and I can’t figure out if I should be bemused by it or slightly embarrassed.

But I realize, a few weeks after posting it, that the video serves as an important artifact in our class. I am not a singer or expert videographer (as you can see). But what I am is excited about our summer class, and I needed some way to convey that excitement to my future students. Would I ever consider singing on the first day of my face to face classes? Absolutely not (in fact, the thought horrifies me). The online space allowed me to do something I would never do in a “real” classroom.

The video, though, is real, and the people who view the video are real, and my students are real. The online classroom “space,” then, is a real space, no matter how web-like, scattered, enormous, and unwieldy it may seem at first (to my students and to other people reading this post).

I would say that the video is evidence of my willingness to take a risk because, in the spirit of play, in the spirit of what Gardner Campbell Calls “exuberant discovery,”   I experimented with new technology. I made it work for me in a way that felt original.  (Is it original to sing to would-be new students? Likely not. But maybe.  And even so: it was new to ME, as a learner and user of digital media, and that’s what’s important).

To my students:  Univ 200 asks you to take risks, because in risk-taking we create trust and shared experiences, and both of these are critical components to the kind of active learning environment I hope to create in our online space.

Use technology to try something you never thought you’d do.

When it gets quiet at the end of the day, hear a little voice inside your head that says, “Make something.”  

One thought on “A Few Words About Taking Risks

  1. I’ve spent the day trying to get caught in this course by reading as many blogs as I can by fellow participants. One trick that has helped facilitate this task was by downloading the opml file from the main Thought Vectors site and importing the file into NetVibes. This gives me a page with mini-window panels for each of the 129 blogs.

    All of this is to say, that the process of reading the blogs has been a bit slow going. There are so many interesting ideas at play. There are thoughtful and thought provoking replies in the comment sections. What’s happening with this course is really quite remarkable.

    I suppose, I’m more responding to the “What If” question raised in your previous post than commenting on this post (which I still intend to do). As I see it, ‘failure’ would occur if students just went through the motions of meeting the requirements. And that is certainly not what I’ve seen in this day of spelunking through the concept space. I would say ‘failure’ is not an option.

    And now, let me respond to your video. I’ve seen a lot of awesome stuff today. But this video is absolutely the awesome-est. Thank you for taking the risk and for sharing it.

    I’m so looking forward to seeing how this course unfolds over the upcoming weeks.

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