Posted by: arieliondotcom | October 10, 2008

Notes from Terry Anderson’s Wednesday Morning Presentation

Some notes and random thoughts on Terry Anderson’s presentation on Groups, Networks, and Collectives (from the Wednesday Elluminate session).


First of all, I thought I heard a collective sign of relief from other class members when he mentioned formal education.  As I’ve seen in the discussions this has been something my fellow CCK08’ers are concerned about every day in “real life” and they are anxious to know how to relate what we’re (hopefully) learning to how they can help their students learn.


I was reminded that networks “have a life of their own” as they form outside of the group (your friends may be connected to friends you don’t know which makes them part of the network and their friends have their own friends, etc.)


I liked the Siemens quote:  “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know 

to ask.” But it seemed ironic to quote George since Terry and George 

seem to have different opinions about the group/network/collective issue.


I especially liked having all three, Terry Anderson, Stephen Downes, and George Siemens together and chatting about these things, literally “comparing notes” together.  If I were smart enough (as most of my fellow CCK08’ers) to realize it, this was probably a momentous occasion to have these three pioneers together, collaborating together with each other and with us! (Well, if I had been able to be there while the group was recording…Hmmm…But doesn’t this count as collaborating, too?  I’m a part of the CCK08 network, so I’m still able to gather info from the group that was there though I wasn’t, and to input my thoughts here to collaborate with them and others, and to share my notes below for those who weren’t there either, so they can network in…roots…branches…)


During the discussion of groups and networks, and the comparison of Terry’s view and George’s view (my view?), I thought of the analogy of groups being like seeds and networks being like the roots and branches that form from/around that seed, forming other seeds/groups, etc.  (I hope to remember to ask him George if he agrees.)


Another thing I hope to ask is about the issue of being “marginalized.”  Again, probably a power issue of a later discussion.  But what do members of a group do when connections are being removed from them, like ropes being pulled off a ship at harbor from dockside, leaving ship to float on its own with no more connections?  What do you do when the group/network is cutting you off?


Well, those are my thoughts stirred from the presentation and the notes below.




– Using Web 2.0 (“What about….?”)

Challenge:  To create incentives to sustain meaningful 

contribution (which will last long beyond the course 

we’re teaching).


“Taxonomy of the Many:  Groups, Networks, 


(3 converging circles)


Social Learning:  Each of us uses all three to greater or 

lesser degrees


– Issues/granularity of each


GROUPS:  K-12, classes, cohorts “marching along 

together”; satisfaction and achievement rates go up;

Fits in with teacher/admin mindsets, Same LMS, etc. and 

behind walls; refuge for scholarship

PROBLEMS:  Synchronous; F2F or blended confined; 

relationships set; expectations of teacher control.

Isolated from world of practice (diff between learning 

and real world); control issues, ownership issues

Tool:  Edublog 


CoP is a network by Anderson’s standards


NETWORKS – Create / sustain links between indiv 

connecting; connects self-paced learners; lots of 

leadership issues; conbime socialization with 

socialization; floating membership and spiking 

activity;evolves on flow; last beyond the course; (My  

thought:  networks take on a “life of their own”); 

important to run on your 

own server for privacy and security; in most Web 2.0 



Network pedagogy=Connectivism, connections to

new people; 


Bruns “Produsage” (Producer and user); meeting our own 

needs by providing for others; Leadership can’t be 

controlled like a group;;.


Groups are managed, networks 

emerge.  ;emergent, complex, adaptive


COLLECTIVES:  Aggregated sum of all of our 

knowledge; wisdom of crowds;filter, compare, 

recommend; how people are acting, thinking, 

talking; searching technologies and comparisons within 

groups, etc. to see user reaction and compare 

opinions;being aware of each other (Amazon 

recommendations, Explicitrecommender/SocialDNA)

Social software helps integrate institution with 

students, faculty, and outward


How does an institution use these things to achieve 

formal goals?  Varies by level; struggle; group the norm 

with networks and collectives extending from them; 


independent study – networks like “study buddy” without 



DOWNES:  Groups/Networks only.  Third dimension of 

individualistic/atomistic; Closely knit organization = 

group; characteristics define whether networks or 

groups; diversity == organization


group-ike if org 

promotes or fosters sameness (votes, creeds, etc.);; 


networks promote diversity – expectation to wear 

different things, say, believe different things


Definition of collective/group/network depend on 

intention?  Participation is harvestable so collective 

activity; that becomes manifest when aggregated when 

sorted, sifted, etc.  You don’t join collectives, you 

harvest from them


Inentionality to networks but less formal than groups 

(expectations of sameness at least to show up, etc.)


Teams a synonym for group

Guidedness?  Guided by people who searched before me 

or purchased before me (collectives)


Range of guidedness from suggestion to gunpoint.  


Dividing line between collective behavior?  Most group 

behavior has in/out for group norms and exclusion which 

doesn’t happen often in networks or at all in collectives


Are networks more collaborative than cooperative?  

Mostly say collab = discussion coop = jigsaw

Can be either; depends on compulsion, leadership 

styles, time, etc.


Is there an illusion of anonymity in networks?  

Instructional Technology forum (email list with web 











TERRY:  All students need exposure to these new 

learning tools.  Group, network, collective tools.  Maybe 

the value is that it’s a guiding heuristic how exposing 

selves and students to benefits of all opportunities Net 

provides.  Start thinking about how your students 

learning can be enhanced by exposure to groups/networks/colletives 


Challenge to open up the interaction and availablity; 

need for perpetual experimentation


SIEMENS:  Instructors aven’t found (the Web 2.0 tools)

 to be wanting but haven’t found 

them yet.  Neet to “play” with them to form an opinion


What types of skills are needed by students/educators 

that weren’t needed before to function in g/n/c 



DOWNES:  Paper “Seven habits of highly connected 

people” summarizes my feelings; 

– Be reactive (watching and listening to others and 


react to them)

– Go with the flow (find the places where you can add 



– Connection comes first; most important thing in your 


work day to connect

– Share (Don’t worry about free riders but just to be 



– RTFM (Make the effort to learn for yourselves)

– Cooperate (Have your own aims and objectives, your 


own points of view)

– Be yourself (Network works well under diversity)


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