“Chill, it’s a MOOC!”

This was one of the comments in the course today for which, almost inevitably, I have now lost the reference in the tidal wave of text that is EDC MOOC. However, for me it’s a useful response to one of themes that has been quite prominent in the course discussions so far: the sense that participants have of being simply overwhelmed by the quantity of postings, opinions, tweets, blog posts, Facebook exchanges, G+ posts and so on being generated by the course.

Some participants find this frustrating – they are looking to the course teaching team to structure the discussion boards, to group students, to regulate in the way we might regulate a ‘normal’ accredited course. This can be done with cohorts of 20 online students; it can’t with a cohort of 40,000 and a platform with rather basic functionality.

Others like the relative lack of structure – the freedom to roam, to do the readings (or not) at will, to forge their own connections and make their own study groups via their blogs, or in one of the many other social environments being used, or in a light-touch way through the #edcmooc hashtag on Twitter.

There has been a lot of generous sharing of personal strategies for how to be part of the MOOC in a meaningful yet manageable way. Here’s a summary of what people are saying:

  • Read selectively: no need to be comprehensive here
  • Choose one or two media streams only: impossible to be everywhere at once
  • Let go of the notion of ‘being on top of things’ – this is also impossible – instead, enjoy the serendipity of the random encounter
  • Relax, select, investigate, think, write when it makes sense to write, and write in a space that you enjoy
  • Forget traditional online teaching methods: this course has a teacher:student ratio of 1:8000

These points feel to me a bit like a starting point for thinking about what it means to ‘do’ MOOC pedagogy – the strategies our MOOCers are developing are already helping me to re-think what it means to teach.

Sian Bayne


7 thoughts on ““Chill, it’s a MOOC!”

  1. So far I have not found a way to engage with this course.

    I killed my Farce-buck account long ago, and stay as far as possible away from Google. I use Twitter only for incoming news from abroad, if I am folllowing a developing situation, and never ‘tweet’.

    The reasons for this should be glaringly obvious to anyone interested in social networking, and a modest interest in developments unfolding over the last few years.

    To what ‘platform’ are you referring ? I have not yet found one with a modest functionality.

    Perhaps one of the distributed networks running free software would be more appropriate a forum..

  2. Thanks for the positive comments marce71 and lifepathtiger. iteratedsnowdrift – the platform I’m referring to is Coursera. If you have an idea for a good alternative forum, why not try setting it up and seeing if you can engage some of your fellow participants in it?

  3. Hi Sian.

    I am a working man, and have little time or ability in that direction.

    I have not actually found or seen any ” fellow participants”.

    The reason I enroled in this course is that I was proposed to run an online seminar for a college in Cyprus and had no experience of the method.

    So far, I am seriously underwhelmed.

    It is, surely, the responsibility of the provider of the course to supply a clear and safe environment in which the course can be conducted. That is not my job, and those of your enrolees who engage in farcebuck, googoo, and twitting clearly do not understand the current digital environment.

    You are an accredited university, with the funding and resources commensurate with that status; why are you asking me to re-engineer your programme to allow for secure and private interactions ?

    Serious education does not happen in a surve4illed environment.

    I was a professor, at university level, and proceedings in my class were sacrosanct.

    You need to provide such a secure environment if you wish to produce anything further than a socnet of mutual appreciation.

  4. Pingback: the accidental technologist » Blog Archive » Reflections on the #edcmooc (Part 1)

  5. Pingback: Digital Artefact for EdcMooc | lifepathtiger

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