“Oh dear…” My first feeling after having tried to make sense of all the different instructions, overviews, videos, blogs, vlogs, platforms, assignments, teachers, co-teachers, learners, co-learners, open learners, groups, subgroups, zoom-meetings, doodles, google-drives, learning spaces, twitter sessions, editable powerpoints, creditable study points, rules of engagement, forms of consent, and amount of time spent. I could just see myself being part of a Talking Heads video circa 1985. 

Talking Heads video ca. 1985,

But it is good to be reminded this is how students feel when I set up instructions in the most comprehensive and accessible way in an online environment – this is not a sleight at the course instructors and designers – I do the same, everything needs to be there so that people can access it, take responsibility for their own learning, deresponsibilize myself (when they inevitably fail to read some instruction or submit something) and set the modalities for learning by second-guessing every possible question by providing comprehensive instructions in written form. The feeling of confusion is proper because we all know as teachers/learners that learning is always messy. But it is at the same time something I think that is heightened in online learning, you cannot answer questions when they arise, so you feel the need to preempt and cater to different needs, to bog down in the paper trails of learning. Of course, at the same time when you break free from the shackles of the form and consider the possibilities of learning as a process I feel immense privilege to be able to work with such a great and passionate group of teachers/learners. Even an old machine-breaker as myself can appreciate the fantastic opportunities to work across spatial scales and scientific boundaries, and you know it will work because you have been there before. Ready for the journey – there is no stopping this train!

The unbearable weightiness of being a learner