Rhizo14 – Cheating and Learning

This is my introductory post for the MOOC Rhizo14.  I have joined because I want to understand more about rhizomatic learning.  I have been quite interested in MOOCs in general (less so in the enormous MOOCs run by high-profile universities and then spun out into commercial services.  What interests me is the comparison between informal learning that can be enabled by the Internet and social media platforms, and more formal forms of association such as MOOCs, forums, online communities, etc. that seem to me to sit between the informal associations that learners make and formal education institutions.

What actually prompted me to join at Rhizomatic Learning – The community is the curriculum was the excellent post by Jenny Mackness Rhizomatic Learning and Ethics.  Both Jenny and Chadia (in his excellently titled post I do not agree with Dave Cormier ) question whether cheating is the same as rule-breaking.  I went to Dave’s video and Things to Do via Jenny’s post, and it seemed to me that dear Dave was being a teeny tiny bit provocative by choosing the idea of ‘cheating’ to link to learning.  Cheating is a great concept – definitions can be personal and it definitely evokes strong feelings. So it was really good to kick things off in week 1.  Then I noticed that Dave (in his FB  comments on Jenny’s post) was gently redirecting discussion of the posts back to the source, her post – a practical act that displayed his ethics by modelling a behaviour.

Dave asks of us:

What does it [cheating] say about learning? About power? About how you see teaching?

I suspect that cheating is more about assessment and ‘winning’ than learning.  I noticed that several people have spoken about gaming. Whilst I am sure that playing games can be an important activity in learning, if winning the game became a surrogate for learning I would question the value of the learning.

Power relations in teaching and learning are complex and it’s such an important topic that I hope we will look at power relations and rhizomatic learning.

If I saw teaching as about exercising power by means of assessment, sanctions and qualification I would not have stuck at it for so long.

The second part of the title of this course ‘community is the curriculum’ arouses a lot of curiosity in me.  What sort of community will we become? what will our curriculum be?  That will be practical ethics – what might ‘cheating’ be in our community?  I don’t know but I strongly suspect it won’t be defined by rules.

Poor sad schizostylus

Finally I offer you the poor sad schizostylis that is a rhizome plucked up from South Africa and deposited in the cold wet soil of Cheshire, bravely still showing a flower in deepest darkest January.  I have just discovered that it is only a rhizome by habitat and that others in the species are corms.  What does that have to say to us? that rhizomaticness might depend to some extent on habitat?