Archive for September, 2009

Questions to be answered from eci831

Posted in eci831, Online with tags on September 22, 2009 by onepercentyellow

is engagement more important than content?
What’s the difference between formal, non-formal, and informal learning? Why does @davecormier tell me that I’m misinformed when I claim that there are teachers and learners in informal learning environments but that they are not static roles but shifting influences?
What is the problem with community as a metaphor? Are there actually boundaries around communities?
What does it mean to say that I have become the media?
Who could follow me from platform to platform to see who I am online? Just as it is impossible to follow me 24/7 in the analogue world, it is impossible to harness who I am online as well… stalkers aside.
How can I manage the backchannel? How does it relate to returning to Canada after time in China and the difficulty I had filtering the English that was not directed at me?

On Spreading Identity

Posted in Online with tags , , , on September 20, 2009 by onepercentyellow

My last semester in university was slated to be a cake-walk term punctuated by afternoon coffee with my favourite profs and ample time to explore my last three courses.  Mid-September I had a chat with one of these notable profs who seems to intrinsically understand the art of balance.  We discussed another academic who was returning after a year of sabbatical and the struggle that ensues when you re-enter a community after a period of rest.  The time off had given him a taste of what it means to simplify life, focus on what’s important, and save all creative energy for a small circle of people.  With no students to encroach upon office hours, no one counting attendance at university events, and nothing to distract from a deep contemplative navel gaze, life reverts to a manageable pace of stimulus where one can find a familiar connection with a sense of self that is normally muddled by all the noise of community.  Inevitably this eye of calm passes and and the strain (and excitement) of living with others claims and converts even the most introverted of us all.

It is with this cyclical journey between asceticism and engagement in mind that I reflect upon establishing an e-dentity.  This creation comes at a time when my i-dentity is being deconstructed and packed away in preparation for an extended move to China. As I pack away artifacts (attempting to adhere to leaving only one box at mom’s) and say goodbye (again) to friends old and new, I am required to centre on what elements belong to me and what belongs to others.  If the social-interactionists are right (as I think they are) I have a new self to meet as I engage in a new geographical location and daily human sphere.  In ways I look forward to a world of strangers without expectations, a journey reminiscent of @plind’s summers at camp where new identity was a liberating exercise in self-exploration, but it is always worrisome to think that some of my favourite characteristics are not actually mine but someone else’s.

All this pondering of travel and self makes me wonder what exactly I’m doing in this online world.  To be sure, I am exploring a new identity in a new space, (it is full of strangers with friend potential, cultural norms and faux pas, and its own language to boot), but I am also packing up parts of myself in here, parts that don’t necessarily fit with all the parts I’m taking to China.  I’m packing up influences and friends, experiences in photos, stories, studies, and mentors into crates labeled “Facebook”, “Twitter”, and potentially “Athabasca University”, but I wonder if this is the equivalent of taking sabbatical only to come to the office every day.  I will not be present, so I am creating avenues to continue my involvement, not realizing that this also creates a host of expectations for my e-presence (though I will be saved from these expectations by the Chinese government on occasion).

There are few opportunities in life to refine and refract thought in a quiet space, and I am not known for pacing myself.  I hope to take a lesson from my last semester in school.  I spent the time working 3 jobs, taking 3 classes, and being involved in more activities on campus than I care to remember.  As a reminder to myself, in the words of Edgar the turtle, “you gotta slow down…”.

Once upon a time…

Posted in Online on September 16, 2009 by onepercentyellow

Entering a new world always calls to mind the space monkeys sent forth to explore the dangers beyond our atmosphere.  While a blog is far from being shot into space, I can’t help but wonder how many monkeys on how many typewriters it would take to make more sense than I do.  A humbling mental exercise.

I suppose that this is the place where I tell that amorphous “you” who “I” am by trailing out a sufficiently diverse, yet entertainingly short list of my modifiers. The woman who writes this blog is a magic-realist philosopher, a crafty writer with a grammar-queen complex, a world-traveling space monkey (next stop Yangshuo), and a lover of Pat.  I hope to learn from those who have gone before in how to share myself in an open and engaging way in this online universe.  Here we go, I suppose.  Another fledgling monkey wondering what happened to the trees.