We are afforded ways to do it though, such as this MOOC that calls for active online participation. Admittedly, I could do a better job at keeping checked-in. The live session was largely an overview rather than very deep discussion, which was probably a good thing for me the past week or so.
One of the assignments was to articulate my participation in this course, so I’ll do that in detail here. While I have tried to read and comment on a few others’ blogs, I hope to engage a little more deeply in Topic 2 and the rest of the course by (in order of involvement):
- Very occasional tweets
- Reflecting on topics, readings, newsletter items, and live sessions through my blog
- Using metaliteracy as a guiding framework for my courses and other instructional projects
- Meeting regular in-person with a cohort of colleagues also participating in the MOOC
- Reading and discussing on other participants’ blogs
To wax a bit, there was time that I used to blog and check my now-defunct Google blog fairly regularly. At the time, my part-time job wasn’t very demanding, I tended to neglect my coursework, and I tolerated sleepless nights. As a full-fledged professional today, not so much. But the truly metaliterate individual is nonetheless expected to engage–nay, create!–online though, right?
Don’t get me wrong; I love creative efforts, writing at length about a variety of topics, and participating in online communities. It’s a part of how I learn. But it feels like the academic or knowledge-worker environment are the only environments in which I am afforded the time or resources to do so and reflect. And then I sometimes feel like it’s at the expense of my offline hobbies.
This is a brief illustration of the tension I feel–and perhaps have always felt–with technology and one that came up in a discussion with a MOOC meet-up with my colleagues the other day. More than consume, metaliteracy seems to demand that we as individuals are able to produce (or see ourselves as creators, at least). And it almost feels a little too prescriptive; and in some ways, perhaps even privileged (would love to hear any of your thoughts on this!).
Despite this tension, I personally don’t think it’s a high expectation for the critical and collaborative online individual. Figuring out how one can best learn and participate in a digital world as well as how to keep up with the ever-changing environment (or at least the huge shift that is slowly occurring from traditional research to new ways of understanding the world and managing knowledge as afforded by technology) is a difficult task. Society as a whole is still trying to figure out the balance.
When viewed that way, I see metaliteracy as an aspiration. We’re all still trying to figure out what it means to do all of this, and maybe we’re not in context in which we can effectively juggle the concurrent roles of a metaliterate learner, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for it.