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The Art of InquiryImage by Candace Nast via FlickrCommunities of inquiry take less time to develop, and are often time-bound - such as in the case of a course, which is likely to have a fixed duration.

Jennie Swann argues that "students never claimed to be digital natives and we should stop beating them up for not being expert online learners, and uses this as a segue into exploring experiences in MOOCs, in particularly the age of participants. The ones who participate effectively are the ones who have the skills. So there is a gap between Prensky's original assertion that the digital native's students' thinking patterns have changed, and the need to work with things that are familiar.


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Learners in tertiary, also, are diverse. Research shows that students are skilled at using LMSs, Google, Wikipedia, emails, and mobile phones. They have little familiarity with collaborative knowledge creation tools, virtual worlds, personal web publishing, and other emergent social technologies. The students do not appear to have radically different patterns of knowledge creation and sharing (Margaryan, Littlejohn, and Voijt).

It has been asserted that learners can, through social software can easily connect and share with each other leading to conversations. But what do these conversations look like? And what do you do if they don't?

Ways of knowing underpins forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college environment. Students often, for example, believe that knowledge is certain and it is the role of the teacher to cram this knowledge into our heads and we'll regurgitate this in our exams. Lecturers often feel the same - and the focus is on lower order thinking skills....Jennie wonders if this is because there is no compulsory teacher training in tertiary. Once knowledge is not seen as certain, then people can have different points of view on's OK to disagree and discuss.

Contextual knowledge judged on the basis of evidence in context which promotes the application of knowledge in context and promotes evaluative discussion of perspective. In this discourse, teachers and students often critique each other. Lecturers can also use a range of open questions to help initiate discussions.

You can check out more of Jennie's thinking and experiences in one of her papers, Dialogue and connectivism: A new approach to understanding and prom....

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