Article Review: A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings?

As part of my doctoral process, I have to review a lot of literature. A LOT. To motivate me to keep track of the resources as I read them, I am going to try to post summaries of the pertinent articles here. My hope is that I will get in the habit of writing and summarizing so that the literature review portion of my dissertation is easier to write. We’ll see if that works, and if I can keep up with the summaries!


Kop, R., Fournier, H., & Mak, J. S. F. (2011). A pedagogy of abundance or a pedagogy to support human beings? Participant support on massive open online courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(7), 74–93. Retrieved from


In a second study on PLENK2010 (the first published in Kop 2011) that incorporates data from CCK11, a later offering of Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (originally offered as CCK08 and studied by Fini, 2009), Kop, Fournier, and Mak (2011) investigate supports provided to learners in the courses and the supporting roles students took on.

The courses were based on 4 principles of creative engagement in connectivist courses:

  • Aggregation
  • Remixing
  • Repurposing
  • Feed Forward

The courses used a suite of technology tools to support learning, including Moodle (an LMS, used for PLENK2010), Elluminate (an online synchronous collaboration tool, now Blackboard Collaborate), gRSShopper (an RSS aggregator), and a Daily newsletter (derived from the RSS feed and delivered via email).

The research utilized four surveys from PLENK2010 (End of Course, Active Producers, Lurkers, and Research into the Design, Delivery, and Learning in MOOC surveys). In addition, the researchers used qualitative methods, including observation and focus groups, as well as computational tools for network analysis and qualitative analysis.

The small number of facilitators (four for PLENK2010, with over 1600 participants, and two for CCK11, with over 700 participants) diminished the impact of teacher presence and the amount of direction and feedback participants received, and the open structure presented challenges for some learners, particularly novices. However, learners reported that the course resources, like The Daily newsletter, the Moodle course, and gRSShopper helped them to feel comfortable in the course. Having experience with this type of learning and having a network or community to draw support from were considered important supports for success.

Potential application:

The article suggests creating a place or community within the networked learning environment where learners feel comfortable, trusted, and valued. It also suggests providing support for novices in the form of a series of activities to help them build personal learning networks and gain confidence, so they can function autonomously. I also like the model of learning on an open networked learning environment (i.e. a cMOOC). It is from an earlier article by Kop that merits researching. (Kop, R. (2010). The design and development of a personal learning environment: Researching the learning experience. Paper H4 32 presented at the European Distance and E-learning Network Annual Conference 2010, June 9–12, Valencia, Spain.)


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