I love this ds106 data visualization put together by Martin Hawksey at JISC. This video is a representation of the community activity that occurred in ds106 – the unMOOC MOOC developed by Alan Levine, Jim Groom and the rest of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technology at U Mary Washington (whose innovative work I have gushed over before).
With each white circle representing a blog post, and circles clustered around individual blogs, you can quickly see just how much activity occured during ds106, and how much this beautiful visualization represents a model of learning that reflects the qualities of the internet itself – distributed, networked, nodal, autonomous yet connected. It’s no accident that this visualization looks like the internet itself. As Alan points out, ds106 was specifically designed this way.
The very essence of ds106 is that it is made of the same stuff that the web is made of, a distributed, open, decentralized connected network managed by participants in the space it inhabits. You will hear people talk about their organizations or projects being on the web. but there is more than a shade of difference of ds106 being of the web.
In an environment that has proven its resilience, growth, and capability, should we not emulate the very ideals of the internet in the learning experiences we create? For the most part, while being on the web, the majority of MOOCs are operating via a structure that is not built by nor cared for by its learners. The truly open, syndicated model of ds106 works because it acts like the web itself.