(Initial) Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali's blog has now moved to http://blog.mahabali.me

Why #rhizo14?

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I am writing this post as my first for #rhizo14, introducing myself and stating my goals for taking this course (though I have written about rhizomatic learning earlier, when I first read about it).

The brief: my goals
I am excited about #rhizo14 for many reasons:
1. To experience my first connectivist-type (M)OOC (Dave says it might not reach the “M”). i keep saying, though, that I thought #edcmooc from Edinburgh offered via Coursera was a good mix between xMOOC and cMOOC
2. I am interested in the ideas of rhizomatic learning, community as curriculum and want to explore them in practice online, rather than just read about them (Dave has a work-in-progress book online).
3. I hope to network with others of a similar mindset and approach to pedagogy. Already started on Dave’s blog and twitter, and this blog post inspired by a discussion on Dave’s blog (i was actually impatient waiting for my comment to be approved – timezone differences will do that to you.
4. I hope it will help me think of ways to support faculty other than traditional instructional design. I recognize this might not work for all disciplines and faculty mindsets, or institutional structures, but it would be an option
5. I hope it influences a d helps me rethink my own teaching. I already follow a communal, flexible approach to my teaching (which baffles my students for a while), but from reading about rhizomatic learning, I am thinking more about my teaching philosophy.

The slightly longer: more about me and why I joined #rhizo14

I am a faculty developer just starting a new position as an Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo (been at the center since 2003, started new position 2014). A large part of my new responsibilities relate to promoting and supporting blended learning at my institution (currently not done formally). I am also a teacher educator, and have been teaching a diploma on educational technology for classroom teachers since 2008.

I came across Rhizomatic learning when I asked around about online learning philosophies that do not follow traditional instructional design approaches. Though I had heard of Dave Cormier beforehand, I didn’t notice rhizomatic learning until recently (advice from the Hybrid Pedagogy folks). I have written elsewhere about my own approaches to pedagogy, and I have also written about why rhizomatic learning seemed to resonate with me. I think it goes beyond the more well-known student-centered learning movement, and might be taking the ideas of process-oriented curriculum and Pedler’s learning community concept further than what I have read before.

I look forward to being part of the action!

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Author: Maha Bali

Associate professor of practice, American University in Cairo

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