At this stage the discussion on groups and networks seems to come down to two views:

  1. Stephen’s view “groups require unity and networks require diversity. Groups require coherence, networks require autonomy and so onDownes (2007)
  2. George’s view that groups are one type of network where the context is critical. A critical difference though is that networks encourage the autonomy of the self where groups often result in the subsuming of the self.  Siemens (2008)

It will be interesting to see where my first discussion topic in the Moodle Forum goes. Here I’ve posed a question re context: the structure(s) we set up for teaching and learning (a group or a network) will depend on the context and the required outcomes. Often the same “group” eg a class, will operate in the different modes depending on what’s happening – as a group for safety issues, as a network to solve a problem.