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.