Participation on the open web gives learners the opportunity to form rich networks of association and connection. In fact, “connectivism” has been proposed as a theory of learning that is particularly illuminating in the digital age. But what exactly is “connectivism?” Is there an inherent conflict between a focus on “connections” and a focus on “content?” What is the “connected mind?”

The formation of connections creates networks, and there is also a good deal of research upon the properties of networks. In this week we’ll reflect upon those properties and consider how we think of ourselves as nodes in the various networks in which we participate. An overarching goal for this module is to more intentionally and reflectively begin to think about our “personal learning networks,” how to build those networks, and why it is important to cultivate them.

EXPLORE (required reading/watching/listening, etc)

BUILD (required assignments/projects)

  • Annotation assignment #2
  • Connecting to Classmates Blog Post
    • For this exercise, explore some of the blog posts of your peers. Find three short passages or excerpts (a phrase or a sentence or two) from three different classmates that you would like to respond to and engage with in some way. Look for statements that are interesting, provocative, arresting, intriguing, puzzling, etc., etc. Quote the passage on your site and also link back to the original source on the classmate’s site.
    • Respond to each passage with a paragraph or two that further develops the idea, offers an alternative perspective, makes connections with other ideas, riffs on or remixes the statement, and/or otherwise furthers a conversation about the idea. Think of conversation as an ongoing volley in volleyball or tennis, except that the goal is not to “win” the point, but just to keep the rally going in a creative and interesting way.
    • For some further pointers on “constructive commenting,” see this post at the ds106 website.
    • This blog post is due by the beginning of class on Thursday, January 21
  • DS 106 Assignment bank project and blog post
    • A course with some similarities to this one is regularly conducted online under the name “DS 106” (“DS” stands for “Digital Storytelling”). The current version of this course is called “Western 106.” This course has an “assignment bank” with short exercised and projects of different types, including a section of “web assignments,” of which there are currently some 36. Browse through the web assignment bank, and select one that appeals to you to do. If you do not find something that you like, feel free to propose your own “web assignment.”
    • Create an artifact as described in the assignment details. Then, in a blog post, present what you have created and narrate your process of creation. Use a few paragraphs to describe why you chose the assignment or the topic, or what the thing you made means to you. What is its context? What is the story it tells? What you created ought to be embedded into the body of your post, not just hyperlinked.
    • Again, your task is more than the final product. Include in your assignment blog post a description of how you created it, the software used, techniques/tools within the software, the sources of any media, etc. Think of it as a guide to someone else who might want to recreate what you did.
    • This assignment is due at the beginning of class on Monday, January 25.


  • continue to use Twitter, with course hashtag (#HowtheWebWorks) to tweet links to all of your blog posts, to circulate ideas and resources, and to connect with others and build your personal learning network (PLN)
  • In a blog post, provide the links of three other blogs (beyond those of your classmates) that you would like to follow as part of your personal learning network. Briefly indicate you think these blogs would be helpful to follow. Leave a comment on at least one post on one of those blogs, and link to the comment in your post. This activity should be completed by Friday, January 22 at 5:00 pm.