Connectivism deals with networks and how they help us learn. My network consists of six major branches. The first three, on the left, are my home base of people support. Family is first. Without them I couldn’t have started a degree program. Most of my responsibilities after work revolve around them and they continue to be my biggest and best support network. Then friends from church, of whom Tim is foremost. I get a lot of support from work. My boss helps me with the resources I need for class. Terry takes classes at Walden in a different program and we encourage each other.
Walden has many supporting people and features that have helped me through the first couple of courses. My counselor helped me with enrollment and program. My instructors have helped me by providing challenging and interesting material to study. Fellow classmates encouraged me to think and respond to their questions and comments. My internet network includes this blog, LinkedIn and Facebook. These have been less helpful because I’m not too social. This is an area I need to work on to get better at it. Resources are the other-than-people aspects of my support network. One of the foremost of these is the Walden library. This is my source for all things class related when it comes to my study materials. There is little that isn’t found there. The other side of the chart is my home communications network so that I can get and post assignments to my classes. Together these help me learn and grow with Walden.
Questions are handled in a couple of ways. When I have questions for an instructor, there is a link to leave them. The great thing about this link is that it is seen by all of my classmates, as well as the instructor. My classmates can answer and add to the question. The instructor’s answer and comments are seen by all. The other area in which questions are asked is in the group discussions. We ask questions of our classmates and they respond, often with questions of their own. It is a great part of the course and where most of the learning occurs.
These pieces of my network fully support Connectivism. Many people think you need to be in a face-to-face classroom to network successfully. Not in today’s technology driven world. Interface today occurs by such tools as Skype, conference calling, video chatting and webinars. Discussing subjects in an online classroom can be as effective as in a room in a building. Actually, one of the benefits of an online classroom is that I can think of how I want to word my answer as I write it. Not so in a typical classroom. Once I speak the answer it is out there for all to hear. I’m just saying, with the way I speak before I think, the online room is much safer.