The Living Artifact: An Open Letter/Invitation/Call for Help to the #rhizo15 Community

Dear #rhizo15 community,

You guys were an awesome curriculum. I need to thank you all for helping me to put some structure around what I have long considered the natural way that I learn. That may sound really strange – the rhizome as a form of structure – but all of those metaphors, memes, arguments, conversations, contradictions, challenges, questions, cartoons, music, etc. were like a solid example of the way that I try to make connections in learning. I think that most people do but I am just speaking of my own experience here. As I consider the last prompt I had to start with a thank you to all of you from me as the individual.

Now on to my response to the prompt –

Dave, in the last challenge you asked us “What would you say, do, show, explain to a colleague about the rhizome to explain it to them?

I’m not sure if the rhizome can be made intelligible by saying or explaining.

I think that we may have better luck with showing and doing.

A few times a term (but at least in the summer) I try to get the faculty at my home university to do a book discussion together. It is a great success for some reason, getting better attendance than any of my other workshops.

This year I settled on Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom will Improve Student Learning by Jose Antonio Bowen. Several of my faculty have recommended it in the past and though I have not done a deep read of the book I have gotten into it enough to find some of the arguments compelling for conversation.

Again “What would you say, do, show, explain to a colleague about the rhizome to explain it to them?

When I try to explain the rhizome I get some interesting looks from people. Maybe I’m just bad at explaining it but I think that maybe it is not something that can be explained by showing examples of what it was. Not that reflection is bad – please don’t take that from what I am saying. It is just that as a metaphor of something that is living it needs a living artifact to truly reflect it’s essence.

I wanted to offer my book group as a living artifact and see if I could get others to join. Besides opening it up to the faculty at my home university I approached the leadership of a group that I knew was looking to create some shared professional development between different local universities.  They loved the idea but what they did not love was the idea of doing it on the Internet open and free. They offered a closed LMS.

I said yes – I never want to leave anyone behind but I have been wondering… Can I still do something open, connected, rhizomatic, with this book group? Can I do it simultaneously with a face to face group and a closed online group? Can the face to face group and the closed online group be my colleagues that I am doing this explaining for and the open rhizomatic group be a living artifact of #rhizo15 that serves as a kind of explanation? They might get it – they might not.

Maybe I’m crazy.

I put out a tweet. Maha Sarah Honeychurch (the rhizome is so helpful I can’t keep up) connected me to Laura Gogia. We scheduled a hangout.

Laura, you blew my mind in about an hour listening to my ideas and talking to me about Twitter Journal Club, Connected Courses, Creative Makes… I had no idea so much was already going on. Whew. I’m still spinning after that conversation. I took notes but I should have taken better notes.

So, now here I am with this face to face book club and this closed online book club and what I want to know is if there is any interest in a rhizomatic moocified connected book club that is open?

We would not have to read the whole book right away – it could run over the summer and we could chunk it out.  We could do Twitter Chapter Chats based on the type of stuff that Laura is doing with the journal club (did I mention that I’m doing my first one of those in June) we could do some creative makes around interesting ideas from the book…

As #rhizo15 comes to an end everyone in the community will start working on other projects. If we take parts of our #rhizo15 experience and incorporate them into our new projects then they become living artifacts. My little book club will be a living artifact even if we are not able to moociify it… and that is okay. However, I think that it would be a great example to the other two communities that I am working with if I could even organize a few open conversations around the topics that they will be considering.

That is only one reason why I would like to do this – the other reason is somewhat selfish. I think that I learn more and learn deeper when I am getting more input and when I am able to make more connections. I think that creating this other layer to this experience will deepen it for me, that I will learn more, and that I take more away from it.

If you are interested in participating and can get your hands on the book leave a comment, send me a tweet, message me on facebook or g+ and I will gauge what kind of activities people are interested in…

If you have ever run a twitter chat, creative make, mooc, or connected course and you have ideas or would like to help me organize please reach out – I have virtually no experience in doing this.

Again, I want to thank the community for an amazing course.

Let me know,

Autumm