Inquiry, Motivation, Diagnosis: How P2PU Poetry’s Been Revamped

I’ve been reading about Learning Theories and Adult Education with interest, especially as Tracy Tan and I begin to revamp our P2PU course in light of Networked Learning. I’ve learned a lot from previous attempts at P2PU Courses and think I’m finally shaping the kind of facilitator I want to be.

Here are a few things I’ve been keeping in mind as we put together Hack this Poem: a Workshop, which is now open for sign up.

To wit:

  • Establishing a Community of Inquiry. Based on the comfort level and interest of the participants, we’ll be doing audio and video introductions, and talking about what makes a poem “good” in our first week. Folks will select their own content to De/compose, prompting them to comb through poetry websites or recall their favorites.
  • Evaluating Prior Experience of the Learner. We’re taking some time to assess the participants in the course at the outset. What are their perceived strengths? Weaknesses? Instead of posting all the materials for the course at once, I’m thinking about posting week-by-week to give us space to revamp the course in light of the learners in it. Though several of these principles existed in the P2PU Course Design already, I’d like ask learners about their experience and motivation before we start, so we can have a sense of why they’re interested in the course, and also so we can pair up more experienced people with less for mentorship to take place.
  • Reframing in terms of Hobbies. The Dooley team claims “Learners want to increase their competencies. They are motivated by internal motivators, such as learning for the sake of learning, self-esteem, enjoyment or quality of life. To a lesser degree, they are also motivated by external motivators, such as higher pay, better jobs or advancement opportunities” (Dooley p. 82). People are more motivated more by personal interest than professional advancement!!! This has direct implications for humanities-based or “long-tail” open courses. I thought these kinds of courses got lower enrollments than, say Javascript or PHP because learners needed those concrete skills for their jobs (the School of Webcraft listserv is massive, 5,000 people). But I haven’t framed “long tail” courses in terms of hobbies, or learning for learning’s sake.

Needless to say, this is very exciting.

In light of what I’ve learned about adult learners, we’ve revamped and relaunched everything, from course sign-up, selection of content, and assessment. P2PU asks course participants to complete a signup task before starting the course. In my experience, facilitators usually use it to get participants to prove they’re committed, so the course task resembles the exercises conducted in the class. I’ve done that before, and I think it might drive folks away and doesn’t give the kind of benchmark data with which to adjust the course. Instead, I’ve put together a survey that asks for:
1.) The reason they joined the course
2.) Their experience with poetry and workshop
3.) What they’d like to do for their summative assessment–should we make a kindle version of our poems? Have a class blog? A virtual reading? What are their ideals?
4.) Signature of a social contract that they are going to be good human beings 🙂

Hack this Poem will run from October 1s-November 1st. We hope you’ll join us!


2 thoughts on “Inquiry, Motivation, Diagnosis: How P2PU Poetry’s Been Revamped

  1. Vanessa, I’m really excited about this! I wish I could even think about participating, but October is freakishly busy for me. Instead I shall follow along. I’m really looking forward to reading more about how the workshop goes.

  2. Thanks Pippa! Hope all’s well with you!

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