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Dave Cormier at EMOOCs 2015



Dave Cormier, educational activist and Project Lead for Student Relations Management at the University of Prince Edward Island, will be the speaker at the first keynote session of EMOOCs 2015, where he will evoke and explore the question of Rhizomatic Learning - potentially Massive, radically Open but still an Online Course. Here is a glimpse of the main concepts and ideas he will be talking about, based on his own blog posts.


Rhizomatic learning is a concept inspired by the rhizome idea described by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari : “the rhizome pertains to a map that must be produced, constructed, a map that is always detachable, connectible, reversible, modifiable, and has multiple entryways and exits and its own lines of flight.” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 21)


Its application to learning experiences is understood as the network’s ability “to ‘self-reproduce’, to grow and change ideas as they explore new contexts”.  For successful learning to take place, we have to establish a context and a curriculum structured in time. And these abstract ideas also need to be discussed and applied within the context of opportunities offered by MOOCs. MOOCs have been attracting a lot of criticism over the last months, as they remain the learning support that offers some of the most disruptive potential.

Giulia Forsythe’s visual notes from Dave Cormier’s talk at Connect 2013

Dave Cormier has designed courses and sessions which not only develop the concept of rhizomatic learning but examine it pragmatically.  You can learn more about its practical applications here.  Overcoming the standardised vision of learning today could be seen as the contemporary challenge of education in the 21st century, in the same way that universalising education was in the 18th and, ironically, standardising it was in the 19th.


MOOCs offer great opportunities to connect different people, enabling them to exchange  ideas and information. Compared with traditional learning, it offers a multiplicity of viewpoints. It reverses the notion of assessment as this notion would traditionally impose a single view. MOOC as a rhizomatic learning asset would offer an opportunity to branch out and develop various learning directions and different ways of teaching.


So, what are the perspectives for tomorrow’s education ? MOOCs may provoke the collapse of the modern university system by offering unique chances for a mass audience to benefit from a different type of higher education… maybe through on-line community universities. A further preoccupying result could be an analytics university, where analytics and data not only help but even constitute the heart of the process of learning and assessment. Corporate takeover is another possibility to consider, as corporate structures already use contemporary MOOCs as part of their business strategy.


If you want to learn more about the ideas and outlooks of Dave Cormier (and many others!), register soon and be part of the EMOOCs 2015 summit on May 18- 20,  2015…