Sunday, July 8, 2012

Produsage. Are participants in connnectivist MOOCs producers AND/OR consumers?

In a recent post in the blog by Bonnie Stewart an interesting topic was exposed. Basically, that in the new digital culture practically all digital users are in some way both producers AND consumers of digital media. In clarifying my ideas for a comment I made there I analyzed if this statement held true in the case of participants in connectivist courses (c-MOOCs).

Connectivist MOOCs are supposed to be “the place” for networking and where everyone is sharing, producing AND consuming. But if we look at the evidence from the research literature related to c-MOOCs, we realize that already early in the courses participants polarize into either an active or lurkers role. In other words they become either producers OR consumers.

One of  most  surprising facts of participant`s behavior in c-MOOCs is that 10% at most are producers and 90% consume. In some weeks of Change11, there were even less than 2% of active participants (producers) of the 2435 registered. Where were the other 2376 (98%)? During these weeks only 35 active participants and a facilitator were producing and 2400 consuming (lurkers).(see figure)

From this we can extract two conclusions:

  • we need to re-define a c-MOOC as courses with an enhanced number of tutors (those 10% active participants) and the rest that retreat to the lurker status.I`m not sure this is connectivism,
  • or we need to improve the way we deliver c-MOOCs finding ways of including the 90% that lurk to participate.

I personally believe in the need for the second option.

I always associate  the value of c-MOOCs with the concept of “eventedness”which was defined by Cormier and Siemens in their Educause paper: “The course members resemble the people in a corner having an in-depth discussion that others can choose to enter. Enough structure is provided by the course that if a learner is interested in the topic, he or she can build sufficient language and expertise to participate peripherally ror directly. The more people who walk over to talk, the better the chance will be that people will contribute to the conversation”.