CCK08: Reflection for Week 5: Part 1

Nonline Learning

 I am experiencing some kind of inner revolt this week. The Internet feels like a dead metaphor for connectedness, and the use of the word in an online context is cold, tired and empty. Nonetheless  the reality of connectedness via the Net is also a literal truism that cannot be denied. That doesn’t change my feeling today I want to look into another person’s eyes and experience that I am being acknowledged on a visceral level.

 Stephen Downes’ Seven Habits for Highly Connected People promotes the maximization of efficiency in the online arena. It’s hard to argue that one would benefit from doing otherwise. By contrast, Downes himself suggests, “It’s good to take a break and go out camping, or to the club, or whatever. But the idea of replacing your online connecting with busy-work is mistaken (#3, para 2).”

 Yes, spending time in a natural setting is good, but being present in that setting is even more important. If in our minds we are still back in the office or the classroom, then we are missing out on the wealth and abundance that can be found right in front of us, and which can take us out of ourselves. In Groups vs. Networks, Downes states “I’m most at home when I’m in a forest and there’s nothing around me, there’s no walls or no barriers.” (para 16) Toward this end, being highly effective in one’s connectedness is highly desirable: “If you make connecting a priority, you can take that walk in the forest on vacation in Cadiz without feeling you are not caught up.”

 Today the luddite in me want to start a nonline learning movement, a reinfusion of the sacred and the sane into this high-paced, frenetic life that so many of us lead. Something akin to the slow food movement in the culinary arts. To point to the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of all creation is to emphasize that sacredness. I just started reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. His book is testament that important meaning-making and learning arises out of experiencing contact with nature. This is not to suggest that anyone is arguing otherwise; however striking a balance between the online and the natural worlds is imperative to our collective well-being.

 In Terry Anderson’s Elluminate session this week, Anderson pointed to the means by which networks may improve our current relationship with one another and our world.

 I think that we are collectively managing the planet earth and that being aware of each other in multple different dimensions is an important evolutionary step for human beings…and I don’t mind having part of my individual, my group, my network activities aggregated to draw meaning and to try to better manage our networks and our communities and our world.

 Kudos to Dr. Anderson for providing a practical spin on that unwieldy beast that is the Internet.



2 Responses to “CCK08: Reflection for Week 5: Part 1”

  1. Bradley Shoebottom Says:


    I too was concerned about Stephen’s number 3, but no I get it after reading your post. I am most at home mentally when reading a good history book and physically/philosophically when pounding down the pavement on my road bike trying to break my normal 33 kph average speed. In both cases, I need to be present in that moment so I get the most benefit. I actually like to both activities becasue it give me a break from the “normal” world which is the online connected world. If I can’t focus on the history, or the ride, then I have become a connected “junkie”.

    I also realize there is another aspect, when I read that book or achive an almost heart attacking causing 40 kph average speed, I should connect with others as to how that book or ride resonated within me. Failing to do that makes me a passive consumer of life. In the field of history, anyone can watch severla years of the old History Channel (when it was the War Channel) read a couple hundred military history texts and become a armchair general. It is quite another thing to read, comment via book reviews or blogs, then eventually publish a new piece of historical analysis. The journy to publication should ne as inteactive as possible with outer (conferences, teaching, blogging etc). I do teach as a second job, and write beook reviews, but have not activialy publsihed. Between you and Stephen, you have convinced me to get off my behind and as soon as this course is over, publish that historical article I have had ready for several years on the Battle of the Petitcodiac Sept 4, 1755.

    Thanks for the clearer understanding.

  2. Adrian Hill Says:

    I can relate to your passion for biking; I enjoy both commuting with my road bike and mountain biking on weekends.

    All the best with that article. I’m glad that you got something out of this post

    All the best,


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