So, I started watching Week I of The Online Educator course on FutureLearn run by the Open University with some very interesting articles by Audrey Watters and an interview with Rebecca Ferguson about second life and how it was used in education (so far so good) and then suddenly at some point the course required that we made a generic profile (?) of a student following a MOOC (personas: fictional yet realistic descriptions of a potential learner/ not intended to be a ‘typical’ student, but rather a non-typical student with particular characteristics that might exclude them from learning).
I know how analytical the English can be, but really? Who cares who the participant is (educational past, interests, competencies)? He/She can be anyone and will keep on following the course as long as there is something he/she can gain out of being in it. If we are looking in ways to understand the learners I don’t think this is going to come out of profiling them in abstract ways. Anyone can be in a course just as long as he/she desires to be. Assigning generic characteristics to participants isn’t going to resolve the chaotic character of learning and is somehow underestimating learners’ ability to come up with their own ways of being in a course.