CLMOOC Explores the World: The Feldgang Variations

Lovely flowers along my walking trail

(Lovely flowers along my walking trail, image by Melvina Kurashige)

Here in CLMOOC, we’ve always actively pushed back on the “massive”. While MOOCs often were built to scale large, CLMOOC has often comfortably settled into the small. So, this July and August, we invite you to look closer at the world, to find balance with the small scale of things around you.

‘Feldgang’ is a term we will be considering for the 2019 version of CLMOOC, introduced to many of us by our friend, Terry Elliott in this 2013 writeup. Terry’s farm is often a source of wonder for him, and for others who view the poetry, the images, the stories he shares. A feldgang is a field walk or an exploration that comes from slowing down, noticing, paying attention and from being inspired by that which you might otherwise take for granted. It’s a version of the Learning Walks some of us did in the early iterations of CLMOOC.

(Feldgang Allotments, by Simon Ensor)

Otto Scharmer, in a 2003 piece called The Blind Spot that Terry cites, notes, too, his own childhood days on his family farm and the walks he and his father once took in order to notice nature, and to observe the changes underfoot on the farm. Scharmer writes of extending this Feldgang approach as a social observation concept that allows for a purposeful pause in the world:

Very much in the same spirit, this study is about a field walk across the social fields of our contemporary society. And just as we did during the Feldgang, once in a while we will stop and pick up a little piece of data that we want to pay closer attention to in order to better understand the subtle textures, structures, and principles that are involved in the evolutionary dynamics of social fields. — Otto Scharmer, in The Blind Spot

A Feldgang can bring you closer to the earth beneath your feet and inspire you, and others. It can also, as Terry has shown, be used as a structural concept for exploring text, too. In fact, the Feldgang concept is flexible and adaptable, and perfectly attuned to the ethos of CLMOOC. 

(Waterfall Feldgang, by Kevin Hodgson)

Go out and explore!

What You Might Make

  • A “Feldgang” of a text, as Terry does here and here.
  • A Walk in a State Park [photography, poetry, reflection] [example]
  • A Local Path and Map with photography and poetry [example— to here with video, audio map]
  • A TWalk (#twalk) is a learning-walk around your campus. It is noticing the focus points of the campus and how they are good/bad for learning. This can be synchronised across various campuses and use social media to post. shows a 2017 that @wentale co-facilitated.
  • Take a “learning walk” such as this one, about CLMOOC 2014 – Sheri wrote about it here:
  • Or another kind of Learning Walk, this one by Karen Young, who walks to her library, and then discovers a history in plants — and a feather:
  • Or collaborate with someone on a shared walk, as Molly and Kevin once did for Walk My World
  • A Walk through your Photo Album [example]
  • A Walk in Public Places [example, with reflection questions] See also the Write Out Project for connections to public, open and park spaces.
  • Walk and leave some small poems in hidden places for others to find
  • Wander through your public library — what unexpected texts do you find?
  • A Walk through favorite blogs [CLMOOC Web Planet is one starting place]
  • A Collaborative Walk [ Darren Kuropatwa asked participants to record and share 5 seconds of video with him via DropitTOme and then compiled them into this “Beauty” short video.]
  • Create a series of Postage Stamps to honor your chosen “walk” — here is a site for making your own US postage stamps
  • As you walk, turn left (where you would normally turn right) and see what you notice
  • Haiku and other short-form poetry are often excellent for capturing a moment in writing. The #smallpoems hashtag in social media, such as Mastodon, is another means of sharing this writing
  • Explore the Park Based Learning resources and consider how you could implement one or more of the projects in your K-12 classroom
  • Write haikus of place

Where You Might Share and Connect

Whatever you do and wherever you are, we encourage you to share it with CLMOOC. Some of the spaces you might share out are listed below.

  • On Twitter, we encourage you to follow and use the #clmooc hashtag;
  • And/or post to the CLMOOC Facebook group;
  • We also have a CLMOOC Flickr group for photos;
  • You can always post your thoughts on your own blog (and then consider posting a link to one of the networks above). Many CLMOOC blogs are now connected in the CLMOOC Planet.
  • Submit Feldgang photos to the Silent Sunday Tumblr (use the submit tab)
  • Or you can join the new now slowly built as a private network space for sharing writing and media and art. Register here and use the #feldgang hashtag in any post there (note that registration needs to be manually approved by an administrator, so there will be a small delay after registration).

We also encourage you to share your make ideas in the CLMOOC Make Bank.

learning walk

(Learning Walk, image by Terry Elliott) 

Other Considerations and Connections (Mindfulness, Noticing, etc.)


5 thoughts on “CLMOOC Explores the World: The Feldgang Variations

  1. Marvelous extension of all of our minds. Thanks for making sense of the very wide field of work that the “feldgang” represents. Plenty of food for the goats to eat…if only they will.The term itself is like a Grand Central Station hub with lots of adjacencies to many destinations.

    One could even make a feldgang of this page, mightn’t they.

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