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Week 0: Participation – SNC #DigPINS

What is expected of me as a participant?


Participation is the heart of #DigPINS and we rely on a Heutagogical (self-directed learning) approach. Yes there is content and there are facilitators but the learning community does not function without self-directed participation from you. However, if you have never been part of an online networked participatory learning community that can be tricky. So here are some descriptions of the kinds of environments and approaches we are inviting you into.

Sync to Async

One key to understanding participation in digital environments is to consider how time is affected by the digital.

Your time spent on participation will be spent on asynchronous communications (compose, post, wait, get responses) like blogging and commenting as well as synchronous activities (real-time) such as video calls.

Synchronous online activities are tricky as it requires a lot for us all to make the same time available. Synchronous events in #DigPINS are scheduled through a poll of participant availability. Inevitably, finding a time that works for everyone is difficult and this year is particularly tricky as we have global partners who are ahead of us by six hours. When a synchronous meeting time does not work for a participant facilitators encourage them to be creative with finding asynchronous ways to engage the community in the topic.

Backchannel to Public

Another key to understanding participation is thinking about who will see your content/communications.

#DigPINS blends a range of public context; participants work over public and more closed spaces. This simply means that some online environments are intended to be more open and public than others. For example, posting to the blog is a space that is intended to be open and public which can be viewed by anyone with the URL, while communications in Slack are intended to only be seen by those in the Slack workspace.


Heutagogy: Self-directed learning

I’m sure that you have heard of pedagogy – which (in case you haven’t) technically means the teaching of children; though in higher education we often use it as a catch all term for teaching in general. However, have you heard of heutagogy? Heutagogy is a different approach where learners are more autonomous and self-directed; it is not for every learning experience but it is part of the adult learning theories.

Over the year’s we have been careful to not think of #DigPINS as a “course”. We are a networked group of community cohorts who are learning together outside of a traditional course or classroom. Heutagogy is an interesting way to frame the kind of learning that is possible in such an environment.

“A heutagogical approach recognises the need to be flexible in the learning where the teacher provides resources but the learner designs the actual course he or she might take by negotiating the learning. Thus learners might read around critical issues or questions and determine what is of interest and relevance to them and then negotiate further reading and assessment tasks.”(Hase, S. & Kenyon, C. 2000)

As a learning community for faculty in higher education the expectation in #DigPINS is not one of teaching novices but of learning together in community around some shared resources. Heutagogy is not the only learning theory that #DigPINS aligns with but when thinking about participation it can be a helpful frame.


Hase, S. & Kenyon, C. (December, 2000), ‘From Andragogy to Heutagogy’, Ulti-BASE In-Site, retrieved December, 2018 from https://epubs.scu.edu.au/gcm_pubs/99/

Week 0 focus areas

These following Week 0 pages focus in on helpful information about #DigPINS

Overview – What is this all about?

Participation – (Psst… you are on the Participation page)

Time and Structure – What is a connected learning experience?

Digital Tools – #DigPINS uses a variety of digital tools and this page has details about many of them.