Setup for the Live Presentation:
Three live sessions were held this week; two with Elluminate and one video COOLCast. For the first Elluminate session, I had no sound problems, but from what was said in the chat room, others did. In the second Elluminate session, I did not have any either, but Duval had difficulty maintaining a connection. He was frequently dropped, but then almost immediately reconnected. This must have been very frustrating for him as the presenter. The video in COOLCast worked well, consisting of about half a dozen people actively participating. I ended up watching some and listening to the mp3 audio for the rest.
Describing the content of Duval’s sessions is difficult because none of them had the typical collection of slides to guide the discussion. It was more like David Wiley’s session in that regard. All of the sessions were relatively informal Question and Answer.
The title of his topic comes from the exponential expansion of connectedness. This connectedness makes it possible to be open in ways that earlier generations could not. For example, digital copies cost virtually nothing, do not suffer from copier degeneration and can be accessed from anywhere. Work can easily be shared. Hashtags and blogs result in “classrooms without walls” where anyone can participate. He advocates that students have access to all the information all of the time.
One of Duval’s favourite classes is a five-hour block. These do not consist in doing one thing for five hours! He describes the class with these verbs: Hear, think, do, debrief and interact. Blogging and tweeting are required for most courses, except some introductory ones. His view goes like this: If you are not tweeting; you are not working on the course and if you are not working on the course; you are not passing the course.
When asked if he meets resistance to these requirements, Duval mentioned one student who expressed reluctance to post openly because she was being stalked by her ex. On the other hand, most students who expressed reluctance did so because they were afraid of spending too much time with the course and not get other things done! Recognizing this possibility in his own personal life, Duval regularly blocks out time when he is not accessible. Maintaining a balance requires discipline.
I mentioned previously that this session was similar in format to David Wiley’s. The major difference for me was that I was more familiar with the work of Wiley, but I was not at all acquainted with the work of Eric Duval. His introductory page provided a very impressive resume of organizations he has been involved in. One of the things I found fascinating was that he teaches computer programming—a field which, according to stereotype, is populated by talented, but socially inept loners. Duval’s approach requires a huge amount of social interaction, especially using blogs and Twitter.
I am speaking just for myself, but I would have difficulty in this type of course. Dave Cormier mentioned that it is not uncommon for him to have several people withdraw from his courses because of similar requirements. I find posting to a blog a lot of work, but not impossible. (This should be obvious to anyone reading this.) But I have never understood the appeal of Twitter at all. Again in a confession that may say more about my personal preferences, I use my smart phone for a lot of different tasks, but very little texting. I do not like abbreviations and hate to leave out punctuation, so I find strict character limits too confining.