If life is what happens to our plans, then dance is what happens to our steps.
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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Ownership and Personal Revolutions

Here are some thoughts about ownership. I think that there is a different kind of ownership when working on the web as we are doing in this course. By ownership I mean feeling like you belong or are involved. (Part of my Research interest is in how experiential learning is valued.) The course sets up a number of tasks for you to engage in doing. We are hoping you will learn from the experience. You would do this by reflecting on the experience of the task and adding that to other experiences you have (particularly in your Professional Practise) in order to widen your knowledge.

When you are in a traditional classroom-setting you feel that ownership, that is feeling you are a part of it all, seems to be held in the teachers hands. You go to the teacher and develop a relationship with them, with the other students and with the activities themselves and you see yourself fitting in. As this happens you start to take ownership of the experience from the teachers hands into your own.  Its like when you first go to a place you feel everyone around you in that place must know what is going on, you give ownership to the people around you (like Alice in Wonderland). But when you keep returning to a place you become familiar with it and you start to feel you know what's going on more than the people around you. In more traditional Distant Learning there is the image of someone somewhere receiving your mailed in work. There still seems to be a place that is the central hub as it were of which you are on a long string from. It was as if everyone on the course is on long strings all connected to the hub. (This is why some people feel the campus sessions are useful. "put a face to a name", "put a place to a string".) But we have changed this dynamic through the set-up of this course.

By having a course like this using blogs we changed this central hub. In the classroom example above the students connect but under the eye of the teacher, in the distance example the students are single extensions from the teacher (although they might bump into each other like tethered balloons). In both examples the teacher can be used as a central owner of the knowledge, the sense of belonging, the feeling of being a part of things.

Many social scientist have pointed out how knowledge ownership can be used as power, as can communication be used as power. We at BAPP are aware of how the internet has an impact on the teacher holding the knowledge, the ownership because of the simple fact you can go look-up (x) on the internet. We feel that this is a dynamic shift in knowledge and in power. The connections that the internet gives across people regardless of place and authority has massive implications. It is making history at this moment in the Middle-east. It is a shift in the rhetoric of Power of knowledge and connection

The way we are using the blogs and web 2.0 is a part of a shift in power and a shift in ownership. Your own personal revolution is dealing with that. The ownership of this course is not in the hands of the teachers. (Which we think it never truly was in the classroom setting either) It is just out there and you need to grab it for yourself. It is not in someone else's blog who looks like they know what they are doing. It is not in waiting until people arrive in your life that make it seem more interesting, like getting a job. It is not taken away from you by anyone, people asking you to work, being too busy. Ownership, being a part of the course is in You. (We have tried to say that the task experiences can be put with whatever you are doing in your day-to-day professional life so there is no need to wait for something.)

We feel that being aware of this ownership is a big part of what we all learnt as we became professional workers. We feel it is a lesson in professional practice as much as it is a lesson in the changes the internet brings. In fact it is a lesson that goes beyond the internet. The internet just exemplifies it. You do not have to be all over the blogs to engage with a core lesson which is you do not need permission to blossom, if you make a mistake you can survive, (just try to be kind to yourself and others), you just need to own your own engagement.

People in 3002 are getting into Reflection task by now and 3835 are getting into Ethical thinking tasks. These things are about you. You need to own the tasks. You need to decide to move through the tasks 'get on with it'. Do not get caught-up with the tools. Blogging about blogging or blogging to be heard saying something can be a distraction. Blog to engage further with the thinking you are doing.
What are you finding? What interests you? How do you own your learning?

This is what I think. What do you think?
Adesola





  

3 comments:

  1. I found your thoughts really interesting Adesola and quite a relief actually. This evening I sat down at my computer to write a piece for my blog about my thoughts on reflection, and try to do some research to go deeper in some of the theories you brought up in the reader. However, what I have ended up doing is sitting reading other people's blogs and feeling a pressure to comment on every single one (for about an hour and a half now!).

    Whilst I think interaction is vital for this course to work, I agree very much that it is easy to get distracted in this way. Today in my reflective journal I mentioned that I was feeling a bit disheartened at the lack of communication with others, particularly the academic advisors. But actually you are so right - at this level of study you need to own your work and research. Seeking constant reassurance and praise for our learning is a result of conditioning from a young age in a classroom environment.

    Of course, we all want to get a good grade and do well in the course, but your comments have encouraged me to let that go a little and really focus on the opportunity to study in whatever way I choose. The BAPP course offers a lot of freedom and I am already excited and inspired by the possibilities and new directions that the course is taking me in.

    At the Campus Session one thing that struck me is that nearly all the students (at teachers too) are following a career path that has to be self-motivated. As creative artists, we do not have a set progression route or work within a company with a clear path to promotion. It's therefore vital that we are independent thinkers who are able to analyse, process and act upon our ideas.

    Lots of food for thought...

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  2. Hi Adesola. I have been super busy with rehearsals doing 10hr days at the theatre this week. Show opens Monday so all should calm down then. So with limited time I have been logging in and checking up on the blogs to catch up on campus sessions and engaging in some facebook discussions. However with a short amount of time this has become a daily distraction from the tasks themselves. I need to "get on with it" and reach out and engage in the tasks. I think the hardest thing about this course has been the fact that no one is telling you to sit down and study. I can get very easily distracted as thats my nature but as Stephanie points out many of us are trying to get into a career path that is self-motivated therefore this course it developing that skill for me.

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  3. Thanks for keeping the conversation going Adesola (I refer to the comment you left on my blog post http://stephaniethomas-blog.blogspot.com/2011/02/tacit-knowledge.html)

    I really like the idea of trying out some poetry as a form of reflection, although I don't think it's something I will necessarily share on my blog. I am glad you mentioned the fact that you are only meant to spend short amounts of time on it...I am interested in exploring which methods of reflection produce the most 'organic' and honest responses. Sometimes I feel like when I think to much about how to phrase something...I begin to loose track of the original gut feeling. Perhaps poetry is a way that we can release those instinctive reflections in quite a free way, without concern for structured sentences and convention.

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