Thanks to all who attended the webinar yesterday. Sylvia has posted the recording. This was our first attempt at going through the drawing process online - an interesting experience. In the past we have only run face-to-face workshops, so it was good to see that it can work online. The proof is in Lisa Lane's footprint, which she has posted on her blog and in the wiki and I have copied here below.
Lisa's blog post raises the question of when, why and how you might use footprints. Our focus has been to explore the ways in which emergent learning can be described and the factors which might influence emergent learning, but I think others might have more pragmatic uses for the footprints. It would be interesting to hear how people intend to use them, and if not, then why not.
It has occurred to me that it might be interesting to 'interrogate' Lisa's footprint. She has shared it openly on her blog, so I'm sure she wouldn't mind - and if she doesn't visit us here in the forums we can always copy our questions to her blog.
I find this footprint interesting in how it depicts tensions between prescriptive and emergent learning in the course. If I knew nothing about the course I would want to ask Lisa to tell me more about how the course is designed to encourage learning in many modes (X-Modal factor) and give me examples of unexpected outcomes. Both these factors are in the challenging/edgy/scary emergent zone.
What other questions could we ask about this footprint?
Jenny and Lisa,
As a participant in Lisa's POTcert 12 and 13 courses I plan to do a "student" footprint. (My actual role was somewhat different). The course is free and open to anyone and focuses on introducing instructors to online teaching. This includes selection of online resources for presentation and activities for try-out and consideration. There are a lot of this type of course out there, I've investigated quite a few and found POTcert to be one of the best.
Two factors making the course successful. First, the group is supportive and the second, participants are allowed to be themselves. Agency is very strong in this course and it isn’t by chance that this happens. It might be that people self-select rather than having the course pushed at them but I felt everyone participating genuinely wanted to increase skills and teaching presence. That might sound obvious? Very many teachers I’ve encountered have their self-identification as educators pounded out of them by miss-handled training forced on them without explanation in a manner disrespectful of their identity as teachers.
Where I used to work, faculty meet on their own and avoid speaking freely at formal PD sessions. Their autonomy has been trashed by admin and government assuming the throne of director of necessary skills without knowing a thing about the profession. This lack of trust is to be found nowhere in the POTcert course and the progress made by participants I think is directly related to the insistence on autonomy in Lisa’s design.
And that autonomy leads to participants to remain intact in themselves. Many of these courses seem to require a person to re-invent discard pieces of themselves as if everything is done better and faster by software rather than by the accomplished, thoughtful people they are. In POTcert confidence and capability remain intact. This environment affords curiosity and the natural experimentation people learning new skills need. Especially if it is also expected they will be the ones selecting which technology works best for their purposes.
My question to Lisa: Does she feels confined by the prescriptive aspects she has to follow? If so, is there a way to soften required portions?
That's a great question Scott. As you know I am also familiar with Lisa's course and have had a few exchanges with her about it in the past. I don't want to say any more at the moment as I'm wondering what effect that might have on how you draw your own footprint. In fact I wonder whether having already seen Lisa's footprint of her design intentions, that might have an influence on your footprint.
It'll be very interesting to see your footprint and compare it with Lisa's when you have it ready. Let us know if you need any help.
Scott, Lisa, devils advocate question:
If you (Scott) can describe the course and its (many points of) value so elegantly, who needs footprints?
On the other hand if you do create a footprint (each: Scott and Lisa?) and then share them with each other (and we would love to see them too, but only if you are comfortable with that) - how would that be different to just describing the course in text? Would it prompt different conversations, and if so, how might they turn out?
It's and empirical question, and I would love you (both), and Jenny and me, and the forum participants to be able to explore it together ...
Scott, you do highlight what for me are the crucial points of emergent design and learning: identity, agency, presence, trust, and people 'remaining intact in themselves' (what a wonderful way to put it).
We have recently revisited some of the Meyer and Land stuff on transformation and thresholds, and I was taken by their description of loss ('discarding a piece of themselves') and even mourning (if I remember correctly). But achieving growth of agency, identity, presence, within trust is would make for an infinitely more elegant design, and makes me question the underlying assumptions that I now see (?) in Meyer and Land's conception of learning - with 'loss' as a necessary condition for learning - unless I have that quite wrong.
Lots of food for thought. Thank you.
Hi Roy and Jenny,
Though I know what I liked about the POTcert course it interests me to ask questions prepared by others to discover things I might have missed. Having observed first hand the failure of well-intentioned efforts to help instructors through the transition process I'm curious to know why Lisa's system works. It may be the footprint won't help but it interests me as a way to analyse in a manner that seems more genuine.
Not familiar with Meyer and Land though I've been through some significant transitions and wonder what they mean by 'loss'. To me the idea of being lost is a devastating unraveling of the self, not an affordance for learning at all. Will look at some of their things. Will do the footprint tomorrow.
Scott, the Meyer Land & Baillee (2010) is an updated on previous work on threshold concepts:
They describe learning firstly as substantial epistemic shifts, or shifts in conceptual content, clustered around their notion of key threshold concepts, which are transformative, integrative, irreversible, and troublesome. They emphasise the disruption that this entails, when common sense frameworks are overturned (transformative); hidden relations are exposed (integrative): irreversibly - you may reject the learning, but you can never erase the learning experience: previous ideas – and learning - may have to be discarded (in a process of decay and even grieving), all of which is, not surprisingly, often troublesome.
(from an article - still WIP - on emegence and transformation)
You have reminded me again - thank you - that "unravelling of the self is not an affordance for learning at all".
Learning can be a fragile business, indeed. The market place approach to xMOOCs just doesnt do it for me for precisely that reason.
In blogpost Critical factors for learning and teaching I did try to translate these factors in Dutch. Now I try to comment on each factor about my experience of Lisa's Potcert course. After that I will draw the footprint. But in order to do the drawing I need some scoring of the critical factors. Where to put the dot of each factor?
When I am thinking of a factor I need some benchmark, and other courses, schools, classes and memoiries come in mind.
When the commented list is ready I will publish it and let you know. These comments and the drawing of the footprint will tell a lot of my view on learning, and it will not tell much about the Potcert course of Lisa.
Hi Jaap - looking forward to seeing your POTCert footprint. I expect it will be of interest to Lisa and Scott too.
There are two ways in which you can approach the scoring. You can actually assign a number to each of the factors using the scoring sheet attached. (Some of the wording in this scoresheet might be slightly different - as we are constantly working on the vocabulary we use - but they are essentially the same). This is how we started drawing the footprints and Jutta Pauschenwein still prefers to draw the footprints in this way.
After much discussion we decided that scoring the footprints numerically was not possible to do with any degree of accuracy. My question was always - well should this factor be 14, 15 or 16 - and so on for the other factors.
This is how I approach it now.
For each factor I consider whether it should be in the prescrsiptive zone, the sweet emergent zone, the edgy/scary emergent zone or on the edge of chaos.
Having decided this I position the point within the zone according to whether I think there was more or less emergent learning. If more then I place the point nearer the outer edge of the zone, if less thit is nearer the inner edge of the zone.
I think it is inevitable that the way in which the footprints are scored will depend on prior experience. For example, if I am very familiar with the openness of cMOOCs, I am not going to find the learning as disruptive as someone who is new to MOOCs.
Looking forward to seeing your footprint. Very interesting that you have translated the factors into Dutch. Roy might have mentioned soemwhere that Jutta also translated them into German - see her blog - http://zmldidaktik.wordpress.com/
Here is my first try and the footprints, can you see if I have scored these correctly cheers tony cairns ps when its correct can you upload it to wherever its meant to go cheers tony
Tony - it is really great to have your footprint. Many thanks for sharing it. I have posted it here for everyone to see without opening the document and I am also copying here the comment you sent me.
In an email I asked Tony these questions:
Hi Jaap - I was not able to open your link and surprisingly, for some reason I can't understand, when I go to your blog, I can't see your footprint - BUT - I do subscribe to your blog through feedly and (even more surprisingly) I can see your footprint and post in my feedly list. Strange!
So hope it's OK with you if I copy your post here - so that people can easily see it.
My footprint of Potcert
- Risk. No risk.
- Liminal space. For me lots of space to grow and try out. This certificate would be nice, but its not disaster when I fail. Knowing that means freedom and lots of space.
- Unpredictable outcomes. Some unpredictable outcomes.
- Ambiguity. I could bend items in the course into lessons that fit me.
- Disruption. the course and messages from Lisa and participants are disrupting. They want me to give attention.
- Self-correction. Learner and teacher look at my assignments and comment, no correction as such.
- Multipath. Participants do publish and ask questions and make me learn. I could choose where to go.
- Diversity. multi path gives a lot of diversity, jumping from one question or assignement to another, but within the limits of the course.
- Experimential: not only my answers and new solutions, but participants share theirs too. Course wants me to try new tools and new ways. I do use new tools.
- Adaptive: freedom to adapt parts of course. (video viewing is not very open to adaption, one could view or view not. scanning a video is not easy)
- Co-evolution: I feel the course will grow with me. The assignments are open and one could do them in ones own level. Interactions, the comments on thew blogs are ways of interaction, and some assignments too.
- Trust: OK. Feel some low trust because of the certification and the scoring that goes with certification. But Lisa is very supportive.
- Theory of mind: I do meet new people from new cultures. and that sharpens my ToM.
- Agency: I can make my personal chosen way through the course within the limits of the course.
- Cross-modal. online course, FB, email, websites, video voicethread etc. rich on modes.
- Open affordances: lots of open possibilities to learn. Course sets some limits
- Self organization. must organize my part. course is structured and that makes lesser need for self-organization
- Autonomy: almost as much as when i did a personal study, (no class, no school, no teacher no course), but it is a certifies course.
- Negotiated outcomes: within the limits of the course outcomes some freedom of interpretation is possible.
- Identity: course is part of personal learning network and adds personal growth.
- Solitude: It is up to me to look for solitude. online courses give room for this factor. POTcert seems to like me to connect and be busy.
- Encounters: doing POTcert made me meet some people. No discussions as in #Change11 or other moocs.
- Networks. I did not paricipate in hangouts and synchronous events. (Due to time zones)
- Hybrid modes of expression: it is possible to choose from a wide range of modes.
- In/formal Most writing and communications are more informal than formal .
And here is your footprint, Jaap, side-by-side with Lisa's i.e. her designer perspective and your participant perspective.
To me the footprints look quite similar in many respects - but there are some differences. Do you have any comments about this Jaap, Lisa?
Differences could just be the use of a different scale ( Like Lisa is using Fahrenheit and I am using Celcius).
I had to look at the wiki when writing this post for reading the description of the critical factors. So my interpretation or understanding of the factors could be different from Lisa's.
Big differences in opinion is in our view on diversity and multiple pathways and on IDentity and on Theory of Mind.
On ID: Being online student in this kind of course is new to me. Have to adopt some new roles. I guess Lisa expects students of Potcert being used to this kind of online learning. (Is this a good guess, Lisa?)
On Diversity and Multiple Pathways: The difference could in part be a difference in scale. But it could be the newness of online learning and my personal objectives with the course. One goal is to learn from within how an online course in a community college is done. (In the Netherlands online teaching is not yet part of our "Community Colleges ")
On Theory of Mind: I am from another culture. Mutual conversations in Southern California need to be understood in a kind of anthropological way. (e.g. Compliments in US conversations have a different value than compliments in Dutch conversations) That is why I put the dot for ToM on another place than Lisa.
I did participate in some MOOCs (e.g. CCK11 and Change11) and that could be a cause of my different view on learning even in a rather prescribed course like Potcert. (I really do like Potcert. A prescribed course does certainly not not mean a low-value course). A course will be emergent if student and course do have a fit together. A non-imaginative student in a very emergent course could experience the course as a non-emergent course.
Many thanks for these explanatory points Jaap. I think inevitably indviduals will be working on slighty different scales - and I would suspect that this is the case in any form of reflection/evaluation exercise. What I like about the footprints is that they show so clearly how unique the learner experience is - and therefore how challenging it is to draw any generalisations about it at all!
However, you have pointed to the influence of prior experience on the drawing of footprints. I do agree with you that past experience, for example of a MOOC, is likely to affect how the factors are interpreted. I myself have found that I tend to judge factors such as autonomy, diversity and so on in relation to my experience of CCK08 - so I am not challenged by these as much as maybe someone who is more used to working in prescribed learning environments might be. That is why the descriptions that go with the footprints are also very important.
I completely agree though that a prescribed course does not mean a low-value course and I very much like how you have described this - A course will be emergent if student and course do have a fit together. Fitness for purpose is something we have always thought important, but perhaps we should emphasise more.
Hi Lisa, Jaap and Scott
Thought you might like to see your footprints all together.
Mine's biggest! Is that important?
Only if you are competitive ;-)
Helen attended the webinars and has drawn a footprint of her experience of the Exploring Personal Learning Networks online seminar. She has blogged about it here - and I have copied her footprint below.
Helen has provided me with more information about her footprint today - which I have added to our wiki - see
Now that we are getting to the end of our time here, I would like to start copying all the footprints across to the wiki. If you have any objections to me doing this, please could you let me know.
Many thanks to all for your footprints. It has been fascinating to see them.
Adding my footprint to this list. My response is based on the first half of POTCert 13 where I combined roles as a moderately abscent student and helper / "expert" / discussion mixer / irritant. Found the template a bit of a pain and hope to get my tablet running for drawing rather than mousing.
Put notes here and there on the graphic and made a list of my reactions to each of the 25 characteristics which I would like to discuss with Lisa first.
I'm not personally good with novelty and have to settle new things before I can work with them. So to me, each dot location varied as initial edginess eased back into familiarity.
Conclusions I wrote previously remain intact. The challenge I found with the footprint was the implied valuing or judgement I feel from all rating systems. Much of what we deal with in life is what it is and rating it from the outside is a kind of absurdity. From art class critiquing the primary point is whether someone achieved something from their creation that matters to them. External comment that doesn't focus on assisting someone to be settled in themselves is not useful.
Scott - thanks so much for sharing your footprint. It is fascinating to see this - and now that we have received 3 POTCert footprints I am quite tempted to do one of my own from my perspective of contributing to the delivery and moderation of one of the weeks in the 2012 course.
I am really interested in the way you have given some factors two scores. This is not the first time this has happened. As you have found out - it is only possible to draw a footprint for a snapshot in time, because the learning experience is constantly dynamic and changing. That is why it is helpful to draw footprints at different stages in a course to see how your perceptions change over time. I picked up this wonderful Prezi on Twitter over the weekend which describes a PhD student's rollercoaster ride. She is describing the changes over 3 years - but my experience is that these ups and downs happen through any course, however short.
You have said that you found the template 'a pain'. My sympathies - I did too to begin with. It took me a long time to get used to it - and in fact the way I work now is to take an existing footprint and use that as a base - moving the points to where I need them to be for the new footprint. And Yes - we haven't yet sorted out how to get this to work on mobile devices or even on all versions of Word - as we found out in a face-to-face workshop we ran. So we still have a lot to do in that respect.
And finally you have said The challenge I found with the footprint was the implied valuing or judgement I feel from all rating systems. Again - I completely understand this having struggled with it myself. For me drawing the footprints forces me to be committed to how I position the points at that time. The evidence of what I think at that time is made very concrete and visible by the drawing process and outcome - so that puts a greater owness on me to make sure that I am being as honest and fair as I am able. An interesting if somewhat uncomfortable challenge!
Regardless of how I feel about assessing things this way the fact is we need some way to express our experience of a course that rises above the usual exit surveys that are brief and meaningless. As this is my first serious attempt, it's not surprising I found a bit of a slog. As I learn the 'language' of the environment things should get easier.
Comparing mine to Lisa's and Japp's prints reveals as much about the polarized, all-or-nothing way I think. Trying new things unsettles me, making first reactions judgemental, but strangely often correct. While it helps me in editing on a tight schedule it also requires being mindful and 'versioning' my judgements. So a first reaction may be critical that eases back into a second opinion as I become comfortable with something.
My model of reviewing things comes from critiquing in fine arts classes which is about supportive honesty. Acting as another set of eyes for someone obligates you to respect their effort the way you do with anthing you are asked to do by a friend.
Do you think a way around being too bound up in the time element would be to think in cycles of experience? I'm thinking that emergence might seem most afforded by the disorientation of chaotic beginnings but Maria's mentioning not to underestimate the power of young children to sort the world suggest we might overestimate 'innocence' or inexperience. (This comes to me from the idea that emergence is a form of misunderstanding "rules" or the process of completion. When, in fact emergence is actually a new understanding that is amazingly or unexpectedly complete).
Hi Scott -
> Comparing mine to Lisa's and Japp's prints reveals as much about the polarized, all-or-nothing way I think
For me, this is a great sentence, because it is evidence that the footprints are not just a course evaluation tool; they support reflection and surface tacit knowledge and understanding.
> emergence is actually a new understanding that is amazingly or unexpectedly complete
And - yes - this is exactly how I see it.
Thanks for your comments.
Seeing the sharp spikes made me think about how similar my reactions are at the begining of all new courses. After a while I settle down to a less pointy footprint without the exreme shifts. The image shape made me think about this as something to think about rather than just "know." Surfacing of tacit knowledge as you call it is a very useful outcome. Looking at the course I see myself looking--interesting.