My big question for #ocTEL and #fslt

It has to be fostering collegiality and community; how can collegiality and community – or a sense of community – be developed in open online courses? #ocTEL has a strong institutional, first person plural voice and a buttoned down registration process. Very professional but not warm. “Here are the aims we set.” It is We and You. This is a fine line to tread, of course. Participants on courses want different things from the teachers/facilitators. Confidence, authority and institutional security are good things for many. But I will often act up the Rebel without a cause when faced with these virtues. I need another way in and look for cracks in the facade to find the humans behind it.
But back to my question. We know the answer. Or parts of it. Bounded openness, heterogeneous homophily, inter generationality, shared purpose, diverse modes of participation, welcome attention. These aren’t really TEL answers but we can look at the technologies available and select or adapt them to afford these features.
I will always look for the human – human interaction: dialogue first then dialogics if I need it. But I am a poet not a quant. I want easy access to all areas. A clear map with multiple pathways. Few if any restricted areas. Places to be in the course but out of role for a time. Friendly folk. And different folk. Making a critical difference.
I won’t say it is easy, given TEL encodes power relationships, competition, and in/exclusion deeply in its fabric.

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