“The first reason to learn online with others is opportunity” (Dron & Anderson, 2014). One of the opportunities an online Master’s Degree gives the student, is the ability to form networks and communities, types of impact structures. As stated before, “my goal and purpose to support the cultivation of my digital presence in this course is to meaningfully utilize the current technology I have in order to make them more than just tools, but agents of change” (Regan, 2019, para. 1). Impact structures can be a dynamic tool to allow my plan to be realized. This course is filled with technology and allows myself to gain access to multiple impact structures. We know now that “there are more networked devices than people in the world” (Broadband Commission, 2012, p. 44). Dron and Anderson (2014) state that these devices will “allow us to connect with networks and communities;” and more specifically, they will allow myself to connect with networks and communities I currently am apart of and new impact structures that will develop throughout this course. The valuable role impact structures have on learning cannot be understated. I look forward to growing and effectively using my networks and communities around me to succeed in my digital learning plan.
Broadband Commission. (2012, September). The state of broadband 2012: Achieving digital inclusion for all. Retrieved from http://www.broadbandcommission.org/Documents/bbannualreport2012.pdf
Dron, J, & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press.
Regan, M.J. (2019, April 29). Cultivation of digital presence [blog post]. Retrieved from https://malat-webspace.royalroads.ca/rru0114/cultivation-of-digital-presence/
Mark’s Facebook Visualization Connections
“Community is frequently encountered in the education literature” (Veletsianos, 2016). As you can see in my visualization of Mark’s Facebook Connections, you can get a sense of my three distinct communities. When starting this visualization activity, I assumed that my Facebook was merely an online tool in which networking occurs. This to an extent is true; however, Veletsianos (2016) states “a network may approximate that of a community, but the two are distinct as networks are relatively loose and communities appear to exhibit commitment, coherence, and continuity.” One can see three distinct communities within my visualization: family, friends, and military; all three are arguably communities within my overarching life and not just networks. It should be stated that Facebook can be described as a networking tool to form network connections (see Pempek, Yermolayeva, and Calvert, 2009) as much as it can form communities as well. To take this activity a step further, I wanted to relate my community-based Facebook visual with my goal to be an agent of change within the aerospace control instructor community. Veletsianos (2016) in his latter conclusions elaborates on the significance of learning designers being of a critical mindset. By doing this, Veletsianos (2016) concludes that “developing a critical mindset will allow learning designers to counter simplistic assumptions about design, pedagogy, and the role of technology in education, thus becoming better equipped to create effective and empowering learning opportunities supported by technology.” I agree with Veletsianos (2016) that communities can effect change within both education literature and education in general. By having a critical mindset and using my military community, as seen in my visualization, I believe my goal can be realized. This is why I believe communities, as described by Veletsianos (2016), can be an extremely valuable tool for any instructor or learning designer within a particular digital learning environment.
Pempek, T.A., Yermolayeva, Y.A. and Calvert, S.L. (2009). College students’ social networking experiences on Facebook. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(3), 227-238. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2008.12.010
Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds), Handbook of Learning Technologies (pp. 242-260). UK: John Wiley & Sons.