FM17: Stephanie Flores

First and foremost, Plectica notified me I had to pay a $96 amount for more cards as  it said I had reached my card limit of 250. So, I am writing all my answers in this post. However, I am adding the link of what I managed to get into Plectica as the beginning of my map. I included the image of this message within the Plectica CM link I provided.

Swarm Learning

In your opinion, what is Swarm Learning?

Swarm Learning is a method that allows for feedback as the learning is taking place within any environment from classroom to workplace. This feedback allows for the evolution and improvement of the curriculum at hand with the end goal of reaching a desired destination.

What are its Strengths?

  • Its strengths are in the collaborative aspects it opens up for classmates to “have a voice” in a way and display their experience with the learning firsthand such as what is working or not working.
  • Students gain experience with different platforms they may not yet have been exposed to through Swarm Learning such as Plectica and Thortspace. When the feedback is presented through a medium that is also visual it lends to the potential of it being more engaging.
  • When the whole class partook in the live Swarming activity, it showed how efficiently, productively, and thoughtfully a group could come together and create a bubble of information (and I’d add to create something meaningful in general)!

What are its Weaknesses?

The only weakness I perceive is if there are too many differing views that it may be more difficult to find a common ground, which can impede the progress made towards the desired goal.

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

The opportunities that can be taken advantage of might be to do the Class Swarming activity more than once, and even have an assignment like our last Blog/Essay due that is of a topic of their choice regarding healthcare administration, and then allow the individual assignment at the end of the course. However, I feel Swarm Learning being experienced all at once really brought it home for me once we had gathered all the text and information Dr. Schwandt presented to us.

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

I feel just relative to my own experience that the hesitation that comes forth early on due to the ambiguity at times could lead to someone falling behind or dropping the class, but this threat is not necessarily one I would worry about as I feel the class is an experience and the challenge itself is one that provides personal growth if the individual embraces it.

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

Students partake in the customizing of the curriculum through the feedback maps they share.

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

I think of a swarm of bees working together to find a location to nest, while being led by the queen be can be analogy for warming. They all do their thing, and take charge of their own duties (while still as a group) to reach their goal.

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

I would say professional social networks are a good analogy for the function of Swarm Learning. The very first visual and functional example that comes to mind is Netflix’s show called Diagnosis which is comprised of a social network of people helping 1 patient figure out a condition that has proven almost impossible to diagnose. Just like Swarm Learning, multiple people weigh in on what they feel the diagnosis could be and help this person find new answers and take on new tests that had not been considered before. There is an end goal and minds from all over the world come together to this end.

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

The logic of Swarm Learning is teamwork in that the constructive feedback and the approach coming from different point of views also allows for meaningful progress regarding the topic at hand.

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

I think Concept Maps were the best feature I will continue to use because it is primarily a great organizational tool. The CMs certainly helped me further understand the concept and put all the informational pieces together.

Mechanisms of Swarm Learning

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

Essay Maps were such a practical way of starting to structure an essay especially in the case of writer’s block. It is a useful way to lay ideas out in a more organized and logical way from the planning phase. It added the efficiency aspect when developing a logical essay that made sense.

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.

The blog was more intriguing in the way it was presented and the tips on the blog added to the comfort and confidence of creating one in the first place. The video was great in that it broke down how approachable it is to create a blog.

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

The topics were new to me, but in thinking about which to take on they were all so intriguing that I had to even do process of elimination to decide on Biomimicry.

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 did not connect with an expert when writing my blog. I felt that I would be more inclined to do this if I knew where I wanted to go with this blog and organize my thoughts and information to not waste an expert’s time, but in the end I ultimately decided to take it on by myself.

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

It was great!! This assignment was interactive, engaging, and even motivational when seeing all our classmates working together at once.

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

I think Feedback Maps were lengthy but useful because it included each student’s honest feedback on the class thus far. It reflects if the students are getting something out of the class and curriculum. I cannot think of an alternative to feedback maps, but the only thing that comes up is how the website takes up a lot of energy from the laptop when the map gets bigger and bigger.

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?

I think this is great! At first the length of it was overwhelming but when I took the time to deconstruct it for myself by going through it section by section and taking time to ensure I was following, I found it to be a resource I revisited very often to refresh my mind of the concepts to keep in mind when we moved on from assignment to assignment.

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

Tableau’s use of grades is great! I think it allows for us to not only see our position relative to everyone else, but it really does add motivation to how we perform throughout the class as well.

What did you think of the WordPress Learning Community?

WordPress Learning Community was a lot more fun to read through and navigate than blackboard which feels more restricting, and less user friendly.

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

The Facebook group was another great resource with which to collaborate and gather thoughts, ideas or address any lack of clarity there may be. It felt like a safe haven to feel confident taking on the assignment even further. I feel it was helpful especially when someone asked a question I came across as well, and the interactive aspect was fun. I do hope to continue interacting within the group.


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

Yes! I feel this is a system that I have needed in occasions before this class to help me organize my thoughts and learn better visually. This will continue helping with that.

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

Thinkquiry is also a valuable resource given that it helps me think of new ways of processing information and truly think about concepts instead of just regurgitating what it is I have read. I plan on continuing to use it to help me think more critically.

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

I felt Thortspace was challenging as I took a while to figure out its mechanisms and structure. However, once I played with it and found a system for myself, I was finally able to enjoy using it and making progress. The interactive presentation and different spheres are visually appealing when presenting information.

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

Rationalonline is useful when you can pay for the extra features. I unfortunately was unable to do anything as it kept reminding me that I had the free version.

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

The textbook itself truly helped drive home all the benefits this class provided for us at the individual and group level.

Simple Rules for this class

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

  1. Login to WordPress Learning Community for class
  2. Follow each assignment accordingly as presented in the video and the assignment presentation link
  3. Think critically, creatively and be open minded
  4. Provide feedback on the class and to your classmates in an interactive manner
  5. Be comfortable with ambiguity

Plectica link:

2 thoughts on “FM17: Stephanie Flores

  1. The structure examples of Swarm Learning are spot on, and I am sorry for the Plectica issue. I am happy you seem to keep wanting to use it though. Must just be a technical error. Thank you for the wonderful perspectives and class work.

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