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Frances Bell
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Frances Bell

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Have you got any examples from rhizo14 of people speaking or writing about it with scientific objectivity? You are not the first to mention this and I can't think of any examples
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+Keith Hamon I agree that we are not that far apart in this post. Thanks for the heads up on Flannery O'Connor - always glad of a 'new' author at my age. 
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Frances Bell

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I hope that you don't mind me replying again so long after the event of you publishing this.  I have come here via a survey respondent who referred to what you said about lurking, and I re-read your post and the comments.  As is not unusual, I took some different meaning this time in addition to what I read and responded to before.  It's very interesting because today I have been thinking and writing about the Week 2 incident that you refer to.  I heard from another participant what some saw as the 'cause' of the problem - an assumption/attitude expressed and later edited out of a blog post.  I watched  and participated in the Rhizo14 FB group trying to show compassion and failing to comfort those who felt belittled and subsequently left. Re-reading your post chimed with what I felt at the time - that the anger and feelings of being offended were as much a clash of assumptions and misunderstanding as anything. So if the general assumption (I saw very few differing from this) was to explain the incident by local causality, how does a community pedagogy deal with this? The sort of pedagogy that rhizomatic learning seems to try to move past might also use local causality, and a feminist or critical pedagogy would take a different approach.
The second thing that I wondered about (and I am hoping you might help me here) was whether or not the ideas of global/circular causality might link to rhizomatic thinking - perhaps via assemblages.  I find myself resisting the idea of causality  and looking for sets of relations and connections.
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Welcome back, Frances. I'm always pleased when you drop by for comments, but especially with this topic. Non-local causality is on my mind much, mostly because I have not worked through it. I have intuitions, but nothing clear, not even a working hypothesis, so take everything I say here as tentative and uncertain.

First, I agree that traditional pedagogy overwhelmingly limits itself to local causality, with its linear curricula and lesson plans that lead to specific educational goals and assessment regimes for both students and teachers, and cohorts marching lock-step toward graduation. I don't have an issue with this, as such; rather, my complaint is that it is too limited to account for all of education. By itself, local causality limits our field of reality. All of life—certainly education—is better, larger, richer if it includes circular and global causalities in the mix. These additional causalities, for instance, enrich our views of and interactions with events and people such as Rhizo14. These causalities make something such as Rhizo14 possible. I have a better handle, I think, on circular causality than global, but I'll try to apply both to Rhizo14 to make abstract concepts concrete—not just for you, but mostly for me. I'm convinced that if I can't make it concrete, then I don't yet understand it.

For me, circular causality is most easily understood in the feedforward/feedback loops that exist among entities and their environments. Edgar Morin describes circular causality as an engagement between systems (let's say people in Rhizo14) in which energy, matter, information, and organization is fed from one entity into the other, modified, fed back, modified again, and so on, around and around for the duration of the engagement. In Rhizo14, I fed energy, information, and organization into the group, the group processed and fed it back, and I processed and returned the feed. This is the appeal of a Rhizo14: the ability to cultivate many loops, connections, and interactions, as opposed to traditional education which limits feedforward to an information flow from teacher to student and feedback to responses on formal tests, with interactions between students and with other information flows severely restricted and managed. Circular causality obscures local causality as it becomes impossible to tell what locally caused what, landing us in the old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, which is a confusing question only if you are locked into local causality. Circular causality reveals the silliness of the question.

Global causality is more difficult for me to illustrate, but just now, I'm thinking of it as more the pull to local causality's push. As a group such as Rhizo14 emerges, the group pulls the participants into arrangements and relationships and begins to increase the likelihood of some behaviors and configurations while decreasing others. Leaders, followers, and lurkers emerge—Facebook becomes viable, Google+ less so, LinkedIn not at all.

The key is to remember that all these causalities are working at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive. Thus, looking for the single, local cause of some event (the reductionist approach) is often too limited. It misses the other causes and influences from which any event emerges. This approach is especially tragic in a community such as Rhizo14 in which circular and global causalities are much more obvious and brought to the foreground. The first step in coping with such incidents as happened in Rhizo14 is to enlarge our field of reality to include circular and global causalities in trying to understand such incidents. So while one person did in fact say one thing that seemed to affront others, that local cause—while necessary—is not sufficient to explain what happened. We also have to account for the circular causes—what others were feeding in, processing, and taking out, engaging and disengaging—and for the global causes—how discussion of Deleuze and Guattari became less likely, much to my own dismay.

Well, I could say more, and will eventually, but I've been traveling this weekend and deeply engaged in a conference, so I'll stop here. Let's keep talking this. I always learn more when I talk to you.
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Frances Bell

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Thanks for your lengthy reply Keith. I appreciate it. I suspected you were being unfair - I certainly didn't suggest you were being abusive. I certainly know the name of the person whose name you had forgotten. I read their Rhizo14 posts before responding.
I am still pondering the issue of having intentions ascribed in #rhizo14 - had that experience myself in last 30 mins.
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+Frances Bell Agreed. Good intentions are necessary, but not sufficient. We need more strategies, and the ones you mention are an excellent start. Unfortunately for Rhizo14, people did not use those strategies. Any idea why not? Is there a way to teach those strategies up front? Should a group assume the responsibility of teaching that up front? That seems awkward. Well. Thanks again. You and I make great conversation.
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Frances Bell

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Thanks for linking to this post in the comments of Simon Ensor ' s post. Having used the ideas of noun and verb recently in thinking about networks and communities, I was curious to see what you said. I like the idea that a PLN can be a more active resource than say a book. This has really made me think. In my post http://francesbell.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/reflections-on-community-in-rhizo14-more-questions-than-answers/ I explore 'performing' communities and networks. Having read your post, I am wondering how we can think about PLN, as something shared or individual. So we each have our own unique PLN, an example of an individual network. As you suggest, whichever way we think about it, a network seems more active than a book. Our individual PLN has all sorts of more and less useful, people and things. Your post made think of the value that our shared PLN (perhaps the overlap of our individual PLN with the PLNs of all the people in it) can bring to our learning if we can only minimise distractions;) Thanks Aaron.
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Thanks for your comments Frances. Isn't it funny how I was inspired and am inspiring back. It's certainly a complex world and the least we can do is recognise it, I guess. Love following the #Rhizo14  stories as the ebb and flow.
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Frances Bell

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Ha ha Ravelry! I have a magazine article on that due out on 14 June at http://lifewideeducation.co.uk/
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Frances Bell

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I have just come across this post and it made me smile when I noticed the connections to a blog post that I am currently writing with 'soft boundary' in the title. Ethics can help us with questions of boundaries and the goodness / badness of bacteria, I think.
I have been edging up to this post for the past few weeks, but a Rhizo14 Facebook discussion today (Saturday, 2014 April 12, -5:00 GMT) and a comment to my last post by Frances Bell have pushed me into it. The Facebook discus...
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+Keith Hamon I have written a very long post, attracting some long comments and I still feel there's a lot more to explore and say on ethics of research and practice in online communities http://francesbell.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/ethics-and-soft-boundaries-between-facebook-groups-and-other-web-services/  Still, there's always the change to write the shorter version as I am not bound by rhizorhetoric ;)
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Frances Bell

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It's not a part of speech but I think Wordles give a different perspective on a text and even our own writing.
What I propose here is a travelog, the flow and emergence of an idea. I want to ride the Chattooga River of my blog posts over the past year, and along the way, I want to map the desires of prepositions and determine what the...
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Yes, Wordless are great. They certainly capture the swarm concept in writing, a concept that is becoming central to my thinking about writing. Good stuff.
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Frances Bell

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Great post Inge. I love the learner rather than course focus. It's really interesting to think about learner journey for those who engage with MOOCs - MOOCs may just be a minor learning source for them. Your work is very relevant to my own - please share any pubs:)
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Frances Bell

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Keith,
I read this post last week and it troubled me. As I was feeling generally troubled, I put your post to one side to come back to when feeling in a better frame of mind. I have done that and your post still troubles me because your treatment of an unnamed person seems so unfair and that is not what I would expect of you. I think of you as a kind and fair person. So one of the reasons I am posting this comment is to check my understanding of what you have said.
I haven’t read McGilchrist’s book and think that many of the left brain/ right brain generalisations fall into the category of neurobollocks, see http://neurobollocks.wordpress.com/statement-of-intent/ . However, I am going along with the left brain/ right brain thinking for now. I quite like the idea that the right brain is master and the left brain is its emissary. You quoted Mc Gilchrist “The left hemisphere is not in touch with the world. It is demonstrably self-deceiving, and confabulates—makes up a story, when it cannot understand something, and tells it with conviction.”
I could quibble with your analysis of Gamergate but that’s for another day.  What did disturb me was your juxtaposition of the manipulative actions of the ‘haters’ on Gamergate (not all of Gamergate) with your discussion of the actions and motives of a person on #rhizo14.
My first concern is the role of anonymity.  You did not name the person but anyone present on #rhizo14 would know exactly whom you meant. It’s unlikely that person will find your blog post but what if they did? Did you alert them? How would they feel? Would they be able to challenge your interpretation?
My next problem was with your statement “From this distance now, it seems to me that the initial person was trying to manipulate the conversation to their ends, recommending rules that they likely believed would elevate the conversation to a more productive and scholarly level.” My gut reaction was – how could he possibly know this? I wondered if it was left-brain thinking making up a story when it cannot understand something or right-brain thinking of connection and exploration that influenced you by hearing of the interpretations of other observers/ participants in the disagreement who are within your network. I am still wondering but it seems to me to be unjust and counter-productive to ascribe intentions to people.  To use a parlance that you favour, it seems like looking at people from the outside in.
You say “Almost all of us in Rhizo14 have written things that confused others and that could be construed into an insult, but we seem to have developed more faith in our continuing relationships. Basically, we are convinced that our connections are for mutual relationship and not simply for manipulation; thus, we can continue dancing even though we occasionally step on each other's toes.” That leaves me wondering who we are – the unnamed person is not part of that we.
Between the “we-ness” and the collective ascription of intent Rhizo14 can seem bleak for some.
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Frances Bell

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Hi Keith - came across this late in the day.  Thanks for the link to the Learning Space blog. The author is Phil Wood from Uni of Leicester I think.  You might like to read his latest post if you haven't already see it http://learning-space.tumblr.com/post/87884877746/teacher-professionalism-subverting-the-society-of 
Motivated by Bon Stewart's efforts to unpack the MOOC buzzword and now by Jenny Mackness' thoughts about the explosion of MOOCs in higher education, I want to say a bit more about the appropriation of MOOCs by universities an...
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It is an amazing article @Sandra Sinfield.  I like the breadth of his consideration, from classroom to teacher networking to institutional/ state appropriation of social media. 
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Frances Bell

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Thanks for the link to Peter Bryant's blog post and for your acknowledgement of the contribution of 'lurkers'.  However, I have surprised myself with my visceral reaction to your analogy of team and audience all being one in the context of a CMOOC.  I can see at one level that unity emerging from the experience of all at a live event - I love theatre and an excellent dramatic performance seems to bring the audience right into the performance on the stage.  This is one of the reasons I love the setting at the theatre where I have season ticket http://www.royalexchange.co.uk/page.aspx - an intimate setting.
So why is my reaction so visceral? - I want to know whom you think is the team  on rhizo14.  Let's take that back to the 'noble game' - (association) football or soccer as you would call it.  I come from a family of football supporters and players - father, brothers, sons.  Although I am only mildly interested in football, I still recall the excitement of my first live match when, I saw a youthful George Best (only 6 years older than me) play for Manchester United at Old Trafford. A lot has happened to MUFC since then. The relationship between the New York Stock Exchange and the sacking of their football manager has been played out on the media this week http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidnicholson/2014/04/23/manchster-united-soccer-club-dances-to-a-new-york-tune/  I guess that the season ticket holders at Old Trafford ( having paid £800-1000) will expect to be drawn into and feel part of the spectacle).  They will also be aware of the transfer market and amount that the team players are paid. However the financing of MUFC goes way beyond running a football club - this is big international business. Fans set up their own club http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/ in protest at the Glazer brother's takeover of MUFC.

So I ask again  - who is the 'team' on rhizo14? I resist your new vision of 'there is no audience' as, by using the analogy of a football crowd, it seems to confer the high emotions of (let's remember) bi-partisan audiences of football matches onto the 'participants' in rhizo14. 
I agree with you when you say "cMOOCs are complex, multi-scale systems". The experiences of peripheral participants in rhizo14 is important and should be acknowledged if we are to understand what is going on - and how learning can happen best.  I just don't think this analogy helps - well, not for me anyway;)
I had a real snow crash this evening. Given that I was walking through a balmy twilight beneath an ultramarine south Florida sky, a snow crash was the last thing I expected, but there it was: I have profoundly misunderstood c...
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+Keith Hamon It is almost impossible to define a boundary for rhizo14 or any other MOOC and I would not try to do that. I consider myself to be an active participant of the phenomenon that is rhizo14 (that has no clear boundaries) and I have already explained why the metaphor you introduced doesn't work for me.  It was the use of the word team (that can be pinned down in football by looking at the lists of who was the starting team, who were the substitutes and who actually played) that made me stop in my tracks. It felt like you were drawing me in a boundary that you had previously drawn in your mind but were now rejecting in your more enlightened state.  It felt as if I had been written;) I don't want to be on your team - I want to connect with you, each on our own terms.
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Frances Bell

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I am fascinated to see how the collaborative ethnography will develop.  I have done my writing on it - I submitted my contribution, but declined to become a co-author or to be quoted.  Hence my contribution is available for interpretation, or not.
I fully intended to write another post about power, and I will, but not today. My thoughts have been redirected by a marvelous Twitter chat some of the Rhizo14 group held this past Thursday. As a result of that chat, we are p...
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Thanks for being here, Frances. I always find something rich in your comments.
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