Our Why #ccourses

I have already mentioned in another post how I stumbled upon Connected Courses, how it was basically a call to arms from my friend Maha Bali and how I extended that call to another friend Carla Arena. I’d browsed some of the pre-course resources available on their site and remember finding it most invigorating to read Mike Wesch’s reflections on why the whys are so critical for the whole open and connected learning environments to thrive. I then watched the amazing video suggested for inspiration, This is Water by David Foster Wallace, and was absolutely blown away by it. All that had really struck a chord within, yet little did I know that it would yield precious fruit so soon. I guess that’s my why for sitting here and writing this post right now. I feel truly compelled to make a record of the process which naturally ensued after that in order to reflect on the project that blossomed from it and, of course, to share it with all of you guys #ccoursers #rhizo14ers #edcontexters #clavierers and all.

So the following day I shared the link to the This is Water video with a fellow course supervisor in my institute. He watched it, was blown away by it, and moved to share it on with other fellow course supervisors in my institute. I have to say that I had no idea that what it might have happened right there and then, the moment I shared that link with my friend, was that a seed was being sown, and his subsequent sharing it forward would be the watering of that seed, which began growing, and showing, and stirring the creative juices of those it touched.

Flash forward a few weeks. Yesterday night I came across Jim Groom‘s tweet on Mike Wesch’s video Why We Need A “Why?” and was instantly reminded of the exhilaration I’d felt when I first read his words on the importance of ‘whys.’ It was while I watching this amazing talk by @mwesch that it dawned on me that I’d already been put into motion to make an old project fly, one which had been sitting in the back of my mind since the beginning of the year, even before I went on my rhizomatic learning experience, even before starting my blog. I’d been longing to find a way of nurturing stronger connections among my fellow course supervisors. I truly wanted to see the ten of us be part of a close-knit group, reflecting on our educational leadership identities, exerting/exercising our agency, in the hope of boosting our professional self-confidence.

So it was that about three weeks ago I seized just the right moment to share my idea of a collective website/blog with my fellow supers. The idea itself had sprung up from the depths of my mind a while back, but it hadn’t yet been aired up to the point of being ready to get out of me in the form of a ‘what if’ sentence. The idea was instantly embraced by all. It was as if it’d been there all the time, just waiting for it to be articulated into words somehow. The next step was to find our why. Somehow I instinctively (creative juices spilling out) drawn by the idea that we needed to have our very own ‘why.’ Together we managed to come up with our mission statement, our why. And it is amazing to see how all this movement to fly this collective venture has generated just the kind of flow, the kind of dynamic which is naturally bringing us closer together, both professionally and personally. We are connected.

We will launch our collective site soon, probably this next week, and we are very excited and happy about it. It is just awesome to see how empowering it is to allow yourself to be moved by your ‘why’, and yesterday, watching Mike Wesch talk about it, made me realize the magnitude of the journey we’ve just embarked on as a group. I am certainly sharing Mike Wesch’s talk with my fellow supers for more inspiration. I have a feeling that these words might linger and yield new fruit within the work we do as teachers and administrators:

quotation1If you’re animated by the ‘whats’, by what you’re supposed to teach, you’re gonna be constrained by the model of learning that that entails, which is to say just how to deliver that content. But if instead we’re animated by a ‘why,’ then suddenly the ‘hows’ become open.  ~ Mike Wesch

So, I guess we have found one of our ‘whys.’ Thanks to #ccourses for the inspiration.

To connections and to learning!


  1. Love this: “I have to say that I had no idea that what it might have happened right there and then, the moment I shared that link with my friend, was that a seed was being sown, and his subsequent sharing it forward would be the watering of that seed, which began growing, and showing, and stirring the creative juices of those it touched.”

    I am excited to learn from and connect with you, as well as see your collective site.

    1. My dear, dear Maha, this has been so much fun, hasn’t it? First it was/has been Rhizo14, then EdContexts, and Clavier, and CCourses, now it has spawned something new and precious, something I had to do for myself and for the beloved colleagues that are shoulder to shoulder with me everyday. An amazing group of educators, like yourself. Looking forward to introducing them to you all. Warmest, C. p.s. can’t wait to read that. 😉

  2. Great post. I really like how you’ve used the WHY in your desire to create a close-knit group. Sometimes we’re all so busy with the day-to-day that we forget to make time for such fundamental questions – and questions like these are not to be underestimated! I sat with my colleagues last year and we shared our assignment briefs and used them as a starting point for discussions around our personal philosophies of learning and teaching. Amazing to think we’d been part of the same team for years, but had never shared our WHY(s). It definitely led to increased understanding between a fairly disparate group of individuals.

    I hope I manage to find your collective site – sounds like a useful model for others 🙂

    1. Hello there, Helen, and thanks for reading! Sounds like you have a similar work setting as ours here. When each member of a team is in charge of tending to a different piece of a garden, it may become difficult to sometimes see the picture of that garden in its entirety.
      We’re launching our collective site tonight, and I’ll be sure to let you know how to get to it. We’re counting on your finding it, and connecting with us!

      Thanks again for connecting.

  3. Your upcoming site sounds interesting. Years ago we tried to get instructors to work together but administration saw it as a threat to their power and well…the instructors were gutless wimps (scientifically verified) and nothing happened. Too bad.

    Will people be able to hack into your club and cause connected mayhem?

  4. “Know no evil” is in there too but 3 out of 4 is almost Saintly–almost:-) By being connected I’m exposed to whole suites of new attitudes. Like the medical system drives me crazy yet if I turn just a little it becomes a fascinating puzzle. Dangerous makes it even more interesting.

  5. Hi Clarissa, we are swimming in water, we seem to be seeing the same sort of things, coming to similar ideas – example collective blog. Thank u for this. Hope to converge our streams very soon – next week? Just DM if/when u and @carla want a moment 🙂 Maybe we can share ideas/energy.

    1. Hi Simon! Carla has been looking at clavier docs you shared. She’s excited and a little puzzled, which I think is quite a promising mix anyway, so… Yes, let’s share ideas and energy. Lots of things going on right now in our institute, so it’s all a bit hectic (a bit more than usual).
      We’ll keep that rhizome sprouting.

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