Further Defining LOOM: autonomous persistence in relation to ethos

I was asked to be part of a panel discussion at the Winter Symposium on Digital Literacies in Higher Education as a part of my work with Virtually Connecting. This time I not only had distance as a barrier but also time – I had a meeting scheduled at the same time.

The panel was on networking and digital literacies so we were talking about how Virtually Connecting is a learning movement; how we use networking as a way to learn about digital tools together in community. To illustrate this point I told the history of how I got involved with VConnecting which is tightly tied to #Rhizo15. I could have gone back even further because I found #Rhizo15 through Hybrid Pedagogy and I found Hybrid Pedagogy because of the #MOOCMOOC MOOC but I only had 5min.

Some of the other folks on the panel asked me to tie it back to the idea of LOOM which I wrote about a few months ago and it was nice to articulate the Little Open Online Movement again. In doing so I found that the concept grew in my mind a bit. It was in the rethinking of “Movement” that I found growth.

In this particular articulation of it I again stressed the “Little” and the “Movement”. Little being important because you can’t have meaningful project with 10K people. I’m reminded of all the little projects that broke off in the many MOOCs that I was in as evidence of this.

As I had stated originally, “Movements” are not events; they don’t start and stop at defined points the way that courses or twitter chats do.  I still think that this is a key to describing online movements.

But then I added a new nuance to the description of a movement this time; the idea of autonomous persistence: No one is there or continues to be there because they have been told to be or because they have negotiated some kind of pay off – not that there isn’t a pay off. I attribute this to the biggest definer of a movement (which I had included in the last definition) – the ethos or character behind the group. Because the group has defined itself in some way it stands for something, and a kind of  personality has arisen from this.

This relationship between autonomous persistence and ethos was an interesting one for me to consider. I think that autonomous persistence of participants and the ethos of the group are tightly tied. It is not that the participant has to even agree with the ethos to be autonomously persistent. Just that there has to be interest and reciprocation between the two.

3 thoughts on “Further Defining LOOM: autonomous persistence in relation to ethos”

  1. More….I want more 🙂 i feel like ur onto something here and there is more to come and I can’t wait to hear it as you think it through. Before reading ur post i had a thought about this persistence of VC as a connectivist movement rather than a connectivist COURSE. But I didn’t think of the idea of autonomous persistence but rather something else…. That in a MOOC like thing, leaving makes it harder to return. With vconnecting, there is a sort of permeability that just naturally allows for people to fade in and out at will without feeling like they’re excluded. I am talking about the different possible levels of participation, and how people can smoothly shift from one to another at different events or even the same event, based on interest and time… And it’s not a problem… I don’t know if i am articulating this clearly but your post is opening up a lot of ideas for me…and I want to see how your thinking develops on this. My mind is racing between private and public convos we have had to put all these ideas together

    One that’s coming to me now is the shifting of roles like Gardner being keynote at OpenEd but also being our organizer point of contact for some things… Of the idea of me being a keynote and guest but also a buddy at the same conference… Because why not?

    1. Thanks for the comment Maha.

      Yes my mind is racing too. Persistence is a big one – I mean if we could figure that one out – whooo. And of course it makes me think of the MOOC that never was as resilience and persistence go hand in hand.

      I think that VC gives structure to the community through the foundations that we built with the website, the manifesto, the processes and the history that is collected through recording videos, blogging, and publishing. It seems to me that there is always a connection between events and persistent community. Often many of the Connectivist and independent MOOCs have a core community around them. Even when the MOOC ends the community continues. I bet the same is true for conferences – through the planning committees and board members and such.

      What VC does is it provides a persistent layer in the form of a community that traverses events. The event may end but VConnecting continues.

      I also see this in something like DS106. There is a core community that is persistent but various events as the course is run in any number of iterations at different institutions around the world.

      I think you are on to something with permeability. Is permeability perhaps the secret behind persistence? There seems to be something about allowing people to come and go as they have time and interest that is very powerful.

  2. I am thinking as you say this about the ways VC is different from those things. We have that paper where we talk about what makes a cMOOC community endure…but VC is different from that…in that showing up after 1 year of VC doesn’t (or should not) make it difficult to blend in (not case for every individual of course).
    Maybe the frequency of events makes a difference also. Conferences happen once a year so between one and another is quite some time. Even courses happen once a semester. Whereas VC events happens usually 1-2 times/month which allows more opportunities for someone to jump in, in various roles. What comes to mind as similar in terms of timeline is tennis events. There are tennis events throughout the year and some are bigger than others, with more popular or less popular players and different sports presenters who sometimes were stars themselves in the past… This isn’t about community per se but just the timeline part…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *