But first, a few confessions about me:
- an instructional designer by profession, I believe I'm a pretty lousy online learner. Why? I tend to wander off the path fairly easy, particularly if there isn't a well defined set of bread crumbs to lead me safely through the woods.
- far from a technophobe, but I have comfort in using tools that I'm familiar with. Throw me into a Moodle course, as in this case, and I tend to go "what the..?". It isn't that Moodle is any better or worse at structuring learning experiences, it just doesn't feel right. Sort of like driving a friend's car - you can get it out the driveway ok, but adjusting the A/C, fiddling with the radio, and oh yes, eyes on the road...well, it's a bit of a challenge.
- lastly, I struggled a bit with how in the world could you form a successful learning cohort from 1,000 strangers. Then I thought a bit about one of my hobbies: collaboratively facilitating a listserv for living history (that happens to have 2,000 plus subscribers). Obviously, none of us knows all the members personally, nor do we ever engage simultaneously at full scale. Rather, cohorts fall along natural groupings such as:
- affiliation with a given unit (local structure)
- affiliation with others from a given geographic region (regional/local structure)
- affiliation with those of simliar research interests
- affiliation with those who happen to know you because "hey, you're the guy from Revlist". Yes, indeed I am...