Posted by: lindapemik | January 20, 2013

Setting sail, master of my own ship…

vidor feeling beam

Vidor, “feeling beam” stock.xchng

From the moment I discovered that #ETMOOC had started, I signed up and started to explore the new online community. Within hours I felt totally engaged and felt an inner spark, being fanned into a raging fire—a fire to learn and apply my learning to my current work challenges.

This beginning was significantly different from my first foray into the MOOC world last year with #change11. Although interested in the topics,and impressed with the organizers and participants, I never engaged. The two courses are quite similar: the organizing principles are the same, both provide the opportunity to connect with the world’s leading experts in the ed tech world, both moocs encourage networking using a variety of web-based tools, and attract a similar group of learners. So what hooked me into #etmooc? Why did I feel an almost immediate and overwhelming desire to immerse myself in the learning?
There are two differences that I think have significance and both have emotional roots. I have a prior connection to Alec Couros and some of the other community members through #eci831, joining #etmooc felt like coming home and evoked positive feelings and anticipation of more good things to come. Joining this community has also been facilitated by the tips and tools provided by Alec and other group members, decreasing the frustration that comes from not knowing how to engage.
Tools that I found helpful:

All these aids helped me ease back into the connected learning mode. This reminds me about the importance of creating “job aids” for our students. We want to encourage the development of independent problem solvers but in the beginning of a courquestion-markse, aids help ease learners into the learning environment.

What learning aids do you provide your learners  to support student engagement.

Thinking about the role that emotion plays in cognition led me to revisit some neuroscience research that illustrates the inseparable connection.
Immordino-Yang talks about this critical connection in the following video. Although the context described here is adolescent learners, my experience with adult learning tells me that her research is just as relevant to my own learning and that of our College students.


ngould. Master and Commander, stock x.chng

“‘Emotion guides the learning of our participant much as a rudder guides a ship. Though this guidance may not be visible, it provides a force that stabilizes the direction of a learner’s decisions and behaviors over time, helping the learner to recognize and call up relevant knowledge” .      The positive emotional connections I felt when I joined #etmooc have put the rudder on my ship. I am now equipped to sail through the heavy seas ahead in a way that I never was in #change11.


What implications does the emotion-cognition connection have for learners in our formal learning institutions? How do we as instructors support the emotional engagement that leads to positive learning outcomes? And how can we do this in the on-line environment?



  1. Wishing you all the best on this new learning journey Linda! 🙂

  2. Linda an engaging post! I love the pic! Describes my emotions in the process today! Maybe I overdid it on the learning this week.

  3. This is key for adolescent learners — and for some classrooms and neighborhoods, it is the first focus: “What implications does the emotion-cognition connection have for learners in our formal learning institutions? How do we as instructors support the emotional engagement that leads to positive learning outcomes?” It will be a good conversation to consider. Thanks for adding it to this mix.

  4. […] then led me to choosing the bit info about cognition and emotion which Linda Permik wrote about in her post Setting Sail Master of My Own Ship. She embedded a thoughtful video by Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang on the topic. In order to build […]

  5. Hi Linda, Thanks for a wonderful post. Of course your sailing analogy appeals to me! In a somewhat different context I too have been thinking about learning. I recently received funding here at the university to run a pilot project with biology and engineering grad students. Myself and a colleague in Education are trying to develop pedagogic tools to equip these grad students with the reflexive skills to think about what knowledge means, their own relationship with knowledge, the privileging of some knowledge systems over others, etc. And so we’ve been thinking about transformative learning – something my colleague knows a whole lot more about than I do, but I’m starting to get into the literature. It seems to me that emotion is a key element – indeed it’s the denial of emotion that lies at the heart of a great deal of positivist Western thinking and that’s got us into the pickle we’re in. I’m going to an international Geographies of Emotion conference in Holland in July, which I’m really looking forward to. There’s also a wonderful Geographer called Hilary Geoghegan who’s work is all about enthusiasm. Here’s a link to her blog:
    Keep learning, keep writing, keep well,

  6. Great to meet you here again Linda. Love the colourful abstract. Reminds me of an incredibly beautiful dynamic art gallery that’s now disappeared from Second Life.
    “Real thinking is never divorced from emotion.” That resonates. I hear, “I’m learning so much.” only when the reading or math content has touched an emotional issue for the learners.

    • Hi Jim,

      My thirst for learning, never ends. wish I had the same enthusisam though for my course work at U Wisconsin. working on a totally self directed professional cert in online teaching, How’s your year going?

      Sent from my iPad


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