FM17 – by Josefina Howard

NOTE: Hello, Classmates and Dr. Schwandt! I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this class! I was absent for a while because I had to take an emergency trip overseas to the Philippines to attend my brother’s funeral and mourn with my family. I am playing “catch up” but I am grateful for the kindness exhibited in this class. Thank you!


In your opinion, what is Swarm Learning?

Swarm Learning is a style of learning that encourages free exchange of information, collaboration, teamwork, and feedback among members within a learning group. In Swarm Learning, no one is learning alone, and the amount of new knowledge acquired is determined by one’s participation and willingness to learn.

I enjoyed reading this article by Dr. Schwandt ! “Swarm Learning: How Student Feedback Changes a Class In Progress”

What are its Strengths?

A limitless source of knowledge from students, experts, and technologies.

What are its Weaknesses?

For people who like to work alone, with limited time, and/or prefers the straight-from-the-textbook type of learning, Swarm Learning may not be the right learning approach; it may be too much information/tools.

What are the opportunities that exist that I should take advantage of and use in the course to improve the Swarm Learning method?

Communication from students through email, comments on the learning community, Facebook, and Feedback Maps should be taken into consideration to improve the Swarm Learning method.

What are the Threats that I should be aware of that could hurt the class because of how I am using Swarm Learning?

Because of the fast pace and vast wealth of information shared, one can be overwhelmed, distracted, confused, and lose focus.

If you had to list one overarching principle for Swarm Learning (the principle or thing that succinctly describes it), what would it be?

I think Swarm Learning is Collaborative Learning:

  • Sharing of knowledge.
  • Brainstorming ideas.
  • Group discussions.
  • Analyzing problems and finding solutions.

Using an analogy, how would you describe the form of Swarm Learning (i.e. what’s the structure)?

My family lives in deep rural Alabama. Our house is surrounded by woods and fields. There are many ant hills which means there are many ant colonies. These ants remind me of the Swarm Learning method in our class. There is strength in numbers and unity. Each insect in a colony seems to have its own agenda, and yet the group as a whole appears to be highly organized – not under supervision, but through interaction among individuals. Swarm Learning’s form and dynamics are the same way.

Using an analogy, how would you describe the function of Swarm Learning (e.g. think of a door, its form is the physical structure, its function is to be able to open and close to allow passage)?

Swarm Learning is like a dam. The water in it represents ideas/information. The gates represent our minds. Open the gates and ideas/information will flow! Our minds can control the passage or flow of ideas/information.

Using an analogy, how would you describe the logic of Swarm Learning (i.e. the idea behind it)?

Got ideas? The sky’s the limit with Swarm Learning!


What did you think of creating Concept Maps? And did the CM’s help you understand the concept you were looking at?

Creating Concepts Maps helped me understand the concepts and retain information.

What did you think of creating Essay Maps? And did the EM’s help you develop a logical essay?

Creating Essay Maps helped me map and develop my essay/blog outline in a logical way.

Was I able to convince you to write a blog instead of an essay? If so, how? If not, what could I have done to convince you? Did the Video where I demonstrated how to write a blog help? Please explain.

Yes, creating an essay/blog makes so much sense; not only for the extra credits but also to demonstrate a clear grasp of a concept.

What did you think of the Essay/Blog topics? Were they new to you?

The topics for the essay/blog assignment were all new to me. The links provided to read about the specific topics served very well as introductions to these new concepts. I chose to write about Cynefin Framework.

Did you connect with an expert to assist you with writing your blog/essay? If so, what was your experience? If not, why not?

I appreciate that Dr. Schwandt introduced me by email to Dave Snowden, the lead developer of the Cynefin Framework and the Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge. I feel honored that Mr. Snowden responded to the email that he would be happy to talk to me; I know he is a much sought-after expert. I did not get to take advantage of the opportunity to communicate with Mr. Snowden; life events and work happened. I plan on continuing to learn about Cynefin Framework.

What did you think of the Swarming the Canvas assignment? How can I improve on this idea?

I thought it was really cool once I figured out what to do! The cursors with names of students moved around like ants. When information under different topics started to appear; it began to make sense. It was a little chaotic at first due to lack of audio instructions.

I enjoyed participating in the Swarming the Canvas project on Nov. 6, 2019! “Swarming the Canvas”  Video

What did you think of the Feedback Maps? Do you think they were useful? How can I improve on these?

I believe Feedback Maps are an excellent source for suggestions on how to improve the class. I think the all-in-one feedback format (FM4 & FM8) with all students writing their feedback on one Plectica map was too big and chaotic.  It is best to allow students to present their Plectica Feedback Map individually.

What did you think of the Syllabus (specifically, the syllabus in blog format)? How can I improve this? Was it a good idea to write in blog format?

The Syllabus was much different than what I was used to getting from other FHSU professors. It was at first overwhelming because new tools were introduced, and Blackboard was not going to be utilized. However; the printable syllabus and the extended version online were handy tools to review and use as a checklist to stay on task.

What did you think of Tableau and how I used it to show grades?

I think the dashboard showing grades in graph bar format is an innovative way to show the class progress and to encourage action and competition among the participants. Honestly, I liked seeing my name when I was leading the grades; then as I started to fall behind in my work and my grades became lower than my classmates, I became anxious and worried to some degree 😊

What did you think of the WordPress Learning Community?

I think the WordPress Learning Community gave me and my classmates a unique, dynamic, think-outside-the-box, and safe platform to express our work and our thoughts. The colorful maps showed creativity; feedbacks are well-thought of and edifying.

What are your thoughts on the Facebook Group? Was it helpful? Will you continue to use it and interact?

The Facebook group was very useful because I get quick feedback from my classmates, current and previous students, as well as experts! I benefited from the exchange of ideas and information! I also liked the extra credit opportunity. I plan on continuing to follow the group.


What did you think of Plectica? And will you continue to use it?

I like Plectica for the variety of templates, presentation mode (Waypoint), and the ability to share projects online. I use Powerpoint often; but now, Plectica provides a fresh approach. I am not ashamed to say I have become obsessed with Plectica! I see myself using Plectica for future academic, career, and ministry projects.

What did you think of Thinkquiry? And will you continue to use it?

I think Thinkquiry is a great tool to stimulate and structure thoughts on a subject matter.  I like that DSRP is integrated into this online tool. Yes, I will continue to use it!

What did you think of Thortspace? And will you continue to use it?

Thortspace is a fun and an out-of-this-world approach to mapping thoughts and concepts! I see myself continuing to explore and use it!

What did you think of Rationaleonline? And will you continue to use it?

I think RationaleOnline is a versatile tool! I like being able to create multi-level maps and have printable/editable outlines at the same time. The many features are worth the student discount rate of $39/year subscription. I see myself using this tool more for both personal and work purposes.

What other programs or resources did you use from this class that were beneficial?

e.g. Pyramid Principle, Thesis Generator, books, etc.

I’ve tried to explore and use at least once each of the many new tools/resources that were introduced in this class. The Thesis Generator, Pyramid Principle, Ooda Loop, Baloney Detector, Soldier/Scout Mindset, VUCU, and others.


If I were to outline 4-5 specific rules (think boundaries) for you as students in Swarm Learning, what would they be?

My Recommended Rules (especially for procrastinators like me):

  1. Visit the WordPress Learning Community often, preferably daily.
  2. Watch instruction videos and review the Plectica instruction map/presentation.
  3. Pace your studies to avoid information overload.
  4. Dedicate a specific time daily reading the textbook, recommended readings, writing answers to weekly assignments, and building concept/feedback maps.
  5. Dr. Schwandt said, “Don’t overthink it!” When in doubt, ask questions.


What was your favorite topic or concept to learn about? Could I have delivered it better?

I enjoyed the topic on Communication: Sender, Receiver, Feedback, the Curse of Knowledge, and Communication Barriers. How we communicate to others impact our lives, relationships, work, and business.

What were your thoughts on the structure of the class? And what were your thoughts on the structure of the Learning Community (WordPress)?

I think there were times things seemed overwhelming and chaotic due to the volume of new information. The WordPress Learning Community provided a stable platform to see how perspectives of fellow students and how they understood the concepts.

What were your thoughts on the Assignment How-To Video’s? How can I improve on them?

I would absolutely be lost without them!

How could I have structured the class to help you embrace the idea of ambiguity? Does this class help you embrace this (being comfortable with the uncomfortable)?

We all fear the unknown! However, the students’ and instructor’s willingness to assist and the transparency of emotions within this class were very helpful!

What was your favorite article and/or video (i.e. Scout mindset, General Semantics, etc.)?

I liked the Soldier vs Scout Mindset video so much that I passed it to my sons who are serving in the Navy and Army National Guard!

The “Soldier vs Scout Mindset” video reminded me of my two sons currently serving in the military!

What did you think of DSRP?

DSRP provides an alternative set of lenses through which I can examine concepts. I like that it asks me this essential question, “Am I seeing or not seeing distinctions, systems, relationships, and points of view?” When my husband was seminary student, I audited some of his classes. Several professors like to ask, “What do you see?” during lecture and they drill down to the most obvious detail to the least noticeable but important word, fact, or idea.

What did you think of Red Teaming?

My first time to look at the 238-page Red Team Handbook 9.0 overwhelmed me! I think it is fascinating that there are independent groups out there that assume adversarial roles or points of view to challenge organizations to improve their effectiveness.

What were your thoughts on the textbook? Was it useful? Is it needed?

The textbook was essential for me to learn about the US Healthcare System and Healthcare Administration concepts.

What do you think of Systems Thinking?

I enjoyed Systems Thinking and have a better grasp of how to understand complex systems.

What do you think of Lean Six Sigma (LSS)?

I think Lean Six Sigma’s focus on waste elimination (defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra-processing) is useful in business and other fields. I wish I had known about it years ago when I was building an organization of insurance agents; I would have saved a lot of time and resources. While I do not plan on pursuing Lean Six Sigma as a career path; I think the principles apply to any career field or area of life.

I did not use formal Tests. What were your thoughts?

Thank you, Dr. Scwandt, for allowing me to think freely and not be held captive by Multiple-Choices and True or False quizzes/exams!

What were your thoughts on how I graded your assignments?

Thank you for being gracious and generous!

Do you think I had too many assignments? And did I have the right type of assignments?

The number of assignments was very reasonable. However, the volume of new information in each assignment was overwhelming at times.

Were your able to learn from other students? Please explain.

Yes, I learned from fellow students by viewing their posts and concept maps. Also, most students were kind and quick in responding to my questions that I posted on the Swarm Learning Facebook and the WordPress Learning Community!

Did you feel empowered to create your own learning experience?

Absolutely! I am free to think independently, to be creative, to learn from others, and to help others!


How would you describe this class to students taking this class in the Spring?

Welcome to the exciting world of Swarm Learning – where learning has no limits!

What advice would you give a student who is thinking of dropping this course?

Please do not drop. This course opens a whole new world of learning that will benefit you in many areas of your life, academics, and career! Your instructor and fellow students can help you! I know this because I am a recipient of this class’s kindness, grace, and compassion as unfortunate life events happened while I was taking HHP 630!

What can I do to improve this class?

You introduced us to many excellent information, concepts, tools, and resources! I feel like one semester is not enough to absorb them. I wonder if you can break down this course into two courses (6 credit hours / 2 semesters).

Did this class prepare you for working in health care administration or in any other area? Please explain.

HHP 630 is my first course in health care administration! I learned a great deal about the US Healthcare System, management styles, and leadership concepts

Did this class make you think? Please explain.

Yes, this class stimulated my mind and made me think freely, creatively, critically, and logically! Creating concept maps were very helpful in reinforcing and remembering new concepts.

If you had to list one thing, what is the most important thing you took away from this class?

No man is an island! We all can learn from each other through Swarm Learning!

What was your least favorite part of this class?

I always drafted my answers in Word Document format. It’s the cutting and pasting of text from my draft to WordPress Learning Community and Plectica Map that was most tasking.

What did you enjoy the most?

I very much enjoyed creating maps on Plectica.  It was therapeutic! I became obsessed with creating Plectica diagrams while working on my CM9 Assignment!
My CM9 Plectica Waypoint Presentation

Would you consider using Swarm Learning in teaching, life, or in your job?

Yes, I would use Swarm Learning in teaching, life, academics, and career!

Were you aware of my class and the Swarm Learning method prior to this semester? Please explain (i.e. if you were aware, how?). And what were you told by other students, your advisor, or others, prior to taking this class?

I have not heard of Swarm Learning prior to this class. No one told me anything about it.

Have you ever had a class similar to this? Please explain.

This class was nothing lake any course I have taken before. It is so unique!

Did you feel as though you could be candid and honest with your feedback? Did you think your grade would be negatively impacted if you were honest? Please explain.

I have been most candid in my answers. No, I do not believe my feedback would hurt my grade.

Finally, what is one thing I can add to this class (or take away) right now… immediately?

One or two fun collaborative group presentation for extra credits.

Plectica Feedback Map & Waypoint Presentation Links:




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