Connectivism differs from Theory of Transactional Distance and Community of Inquiry in that its major focus is the learners. For example, the foundation and principles of Connectivism speak about how learners learn best. The Connectivism theory goes into great detail about learning, knowledge acquisition and retaining/utilizing that knowledge for good use via connectivity. It is known that behind the scenes of any course- online or face to face, there is an instructor/faculty/facilitator working to assure design of the course/activities involve connectivism. The Theory of Transactional Distance is focused on the learner but also includes the instructor/facilitator regarding dialogue and structure of a course/activity. Community of Interest also focuses on the learner (Cognitive and social presence) but includes the instructor/faculty (teaching presence) role to enhance the engagement of students.
I envision considering this theory for my project. I loved the part about half-life of knowledge and relate this section to our textbooks we currently use at my college. Our current textbooks are outdated, the minute we receive them. This is true especially in health care. Using the internet can help to acquire the latest up to date evidenced based information. Using this as an activity will hopefully be ingrained in our students so they have the know-how to search and the know-where to find reliable evidenced based information. Connection with one another is an ongoing aspect we use on my campus and know that it has produced positive outcomes. For example, we do collaborative testing for some of our tests in all courses. This is a face-to-face classroom activity, I haven’t figured out how to do online yet! Students take a unit test, turn in scantron, then each student is placed with random student groups with a group scantron. It is amazing to watch this- students collaborating and working together. Students potentially can gain up to 3 points on their original score depending on how well the collaborative test goes. With respect to my content and connectivity, I plan to have a group activity where students will have to prepare a group presentation regarding some aspect of quality care. Plans for this are evolving! There will be discussion board activities where responses have to occur between participants. I like the “How Connected Is It” worksheet. This will be used to enhance activities toward the connectivist theory.
Some of the issues here in my part of the state may be internet connection and affordability of computer. Most all students have a cell phone but connection issues occur a lot in the mountainous area. At the college where I work, this is not an issue but for online class, this is another matter. The current class I’m teaching, there is a student who lives in Dickinson County. She’s been having trouble listening/viewing podcasts. She drove at least 1 ½ hour to her local college to seek help with how to down load the podcasts. Hats off to her for going the extra mile (Ha!). I’m not sure all students if in this predicament would do the same. Some of our rural areas lack internet or lack high-speed internet. Other issues may be personality conflicts, workload equality among the group members.
Yes, there are elements of connectivist in this course. The course platform is set up from the get go to encourage class engaged with the blogging introduction and tweeting and responding to one another. Immersing technology into the course platform (Tweeting, freely, blogging) coincides with technology fluency. We have partial synchronous communications with twitter. I believe these activities are useful and effective. I feel connected with my classmates in this class even though I’ve not met them face to face except for Kim. This connection has taken place here whereas if we were in a classroom together, connection may not ever occur.