Reflections on Blogging

In my exploration of blogging for distance education research, I’ve found the process to be freeing and intellectually stimulating. Initial thoughts on blogging left me with hesitation… Do I really want the world to know what’s on Jon’s mind today? At first it felt almost superficial, not that I wasn’t trying to be. But in my quest to post something worthwhile or witty to say I’d find myself thinking and re-thinking the words of my blog post. It didn’t seem natural. And in retrospect, I guess you could say it’s not meant to be. Who really wants to visit a blog that is random and nonsensical? Now a blog that’s intellectually stimulating and perhaps amusing? My kind of blog.

I suppose the important thing here is that I get across the message I’m trying to, clearly, sincerely, and with a simple and easy-to-understand explanation. But its hard to express oneself clearly and with sincerity without choosing the right words carefully. It’s challenging to manage a blog on distance education without really getting into the heart of what DE is all about — learning about what it takes to successfully learn at a distance, the challenges of DE, the advantages and freedom of DE, and about the future of DE.

In my journey of blogging on the topic of DE, I’ve learned there are many arguments surrounding DE given that we’re in the midst of a cultural shift with DE tools and technologies breaking new ground each day. Instructors, institutions and students are increasingly turning to DE solutions to solve the challenges of traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Traditional pedagogies are being challenged daily by the rise of new software capabilities such as instant chat, wikis, and Twitter, the likes of which are being readily used by the majority of today’s students. As DE continues to shift with the tides of change, blogging I believe will play a much more crucial role in the learner-focused knowledge-base society that encourages a learner-teaching-learner and learner-teaching-instructor role. Instructors will continue to serve as the guides that help students to navigate the complex knowledge and wisdom readily available online. But I believe the future holds that the students — to include instructors — will serve as the primary catalyst for new paths of knowledge and wisdom, and blogging is just one tool to enable it.

Knowledge-Based Skills for today’s Distance Education Student

Hello and Happy Independence Day! 238 years ago today, the great nation of the United States of America declared its Independence. I’m eternally grateful for the freedom that the many brave women and men who have selflessly served our nation have provided so that my family and I may have the freedom we enjoy today. God bless the USA!

I came across an insightful article today by Tony Bates entitled “Are universities teaching the skills needed in a knowledge-based economy?” (http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/05/29/are-universities-teaching-the-skills-needed-in-a-knowledge-based-economy/) In his article, he proposed what skills today’s knowledge-based worker requires, particularly as it applies to knowledge management (KM). I thought about what skills I felt I could improve in my own exploration and implementation of KM. In Tony’s reference to the baseline skills required of knowledge management, “how to find, evaluate, analyze, apply and disseminate information, within a particular context,” I think there are a couple of prerequisite or perhaps sub-skills that should also be factored in.

Initiative is required in today’s knowledge-based worker, to even take the first step in finding information. One can say they practice knowledge management because they understand the process, but getting one to implement KM requires initiative on their part. As much as the idea of KM has become immersed in society I believe many choose to not practice it, simply because it takes too much time or effort for what can be perceived as little ROI.

Decisiveness is the other sub-skill I think is required in today’s knowledge-based worker. I’ve found since resuming graduate study that it is very easy to be absorbed in the process of evaluating and analyzing new information, knowledge and wisdom. So much so that one can suffer from ‘analysis paralysis’ — being stuck in an endless cycle of seeking more and more new knowledge to counter or support what’s already been discovered. In the grand scheme of KM, decisiveness is what the knowledge-based worker requires to make the transition from finding, evaluating, and analyzing, to applying and disseminating. Just my humble opinion but I think it is applicable to today’s KM environment.