Structure and Agency

My colleague Jutta Pauschenwein and Jenny Mackness will be presenting a paper at the Networked Learning Conference in Lancaster later this year – Jutta, who is also responsible for the ZML Leseclub I am proud to take part in, asked to put their paper on the agenda for our next meeting. It covers an interesting topic, namely the tension between structure and agency in learning environments – and this especially from the instructors perspective.

In reading through this paper I get the feeling for the need to discuss several topics:

  • agency of the learner depends on internal, personal habits as well as on the designed and presented structure of a course
  • agency on the learner side can only be managed to a certain degree from the instructors side
  • agency of the learner is an indirect result of the design of the course and the relationship between participants (and instructor)
  • As an instructor I have to take care of an environment that suits a maximum of learners
  • and I have to be aware that role identities change, but according to a given expectation management roles do not vanish and shouldn’t be expected to do so

Although this paper refers to our COPE15 experience and so covers a MOOC learning environment, I believe that as an instructor I have to navigate through the dichotomy between structure and agency (of the learner) in designing every single learning experience – in my case, in the field of journalism, public relations and public communication – every single course. In a lecture as well as in a seminar. Accepting and recognizing that (e)-learning takes place everywhere and always.


It is something else – #NRC01PL

What a strange hashtag for a new mooc: „#NRC01PL“. Normally we find acronyms in there, refering to the title of the mooc. This time I had lots of questionmarks in sorting out, what this hashtag stands for.

… until I digged a little deeper into the links Stephen gave at the first blogpost refering directly to the new „Personal Learning MOOC“:

„NRC“ refers to the National Research Council Canada and „LPSS“ is a funded program therein named „Learning and Performance Support Systems“.

And WOW: When I look through this presentation, without understanding every single slide in detail, a feeling of how huge this program is designed emerges.

#NRC01PL as the mooc I got and get involved into seems to be a (or part of a) research site to develop this program further. Nothing bad about that. If, as I did, one can find this information easily.