Visitor or Resident?

“Transparency is related to openness. Openness is most often related to content. Transparency, in contrast, involves making our learning explicit through forums, blogs, presentations, podcasts, and videos.” ~ George Siemens, Week 8: Openness and Transparency

Participation in #CCK09, the entire course thrives on learners and educators who are open and transparent in the learning process. David White joined the #CCK09 class to discuss his ideas on how Visitor and Resident learners impact the online educational environment [session recording].

Visitors & Residents: Original Blog Post & Presentation

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Much of this conversation was initiated with the JISC funded Isthmus project which was designed to bridge the gap between institutions and online learning, specifically how learners are utilizing technology. Instead of using the terms ‘digital native’ and ‘digital immigrant’ (coined by Marc Prensky in Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants 2001 publication), White sees learners as being a Visitor or Resident in their motivation for online education. Here is a quick Visitor vs. Resident comparison chart I created based on his presentation:

Visitor vs. Resident

In thinking about my own experience, as an online learner, I seem to fall in the ‘Resident’ category. I am very transparent and open online, and I am comfortable sharing my learning experiences and social experiences digitally. Although I am a resident, I can recognize a few visitor experiences from time to time, i.e. learning new tools, online resources and expanding my personal learning environment perimeters.

In thinking of the Visitor vs. Resident comparison, it is critical to think of it as a continuum rather that distinct categories. Students should not be labelled definitely into these categories since it is fluid. Each learner may have boundaries and limitations, however possess a willingness to be an open, online learner. As an educator, it is critical to create a learning environment online that provides structure and purpose online, while allowing learners to expand their creativity and knowledge as they see fit.

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