What is expected of me as a participant?


Participation is the heart of #DigPINS. Yes there is content but the learning community does not function without participation. However, if you have never been part of an online networked participatory learning community that can be tricky.

This video is an excerpt from a synchronous call with Bonnie Stewart from an earlier #DigPINS iteration. Bonnie addresses how to get started in any networked environment – including a cocktail party. (technical note: this is part of a longer video and will start in the middle. Feel free to watch the whole thing but this section on participation is what is most important for this week 0).

Sync to Async

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 scheduled through a poll of participant availability. Inevitably, finding a time that works for everyone is difficult but multiple meetings are offered to try to give everyone both synchronous and asynchronous experiences. 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

#DigPINS also blends the range of public context in which participants work over public and more closed spaces. This simply means that some online environments will be more open and public than others. For example posting to the blog is an open and public space that can be viewed by anyone with the URL while communications in Slack are invite only. Our SNC cohort will have our own Slack and our partners at Davidson and Kenyon will also have their own backchannels. Additionally, Slack provides a place for one to one communication between individuals – direct message. 


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 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.

Though #DigPINS is not a “course” we are cohort group who are learning together outside of a traditional course or classroom and heutagogy is an interesting way to frame this kind of learning.

“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 and staff 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 is an interesting 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

Week 0 is broken up into six pages –

Overview – What is this all about?

Participation – What does it mean to participate in a connected learning experience?

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.

Schedule – What about timing?