Building a better #EDCMOOC?

One of the most interesting aspects of my participation in this course so far has been the attention paid to the MOOC format itself.  In a course about education and technology, discussion of the MOOC seems inevitable, but also pertinent to our focus on cultural influences and ‘e-learning’ histories.  Perhaps most significant has been the interest in developing strategies for ‘dealing’ with a MOOC, both from a student and teacher perspective.  It comes as no surprise that a significant proportion of EDCMOOC participants are educators interested in how they might go about delivering such a course.  We are asking ourselves the same questions as we explore the new territory of the MOOC, and it has been a privilege to read numerous responses from a broad spectrum of experienced educators.

I’ve been thinking about this relationship between content and process, and I keep returning to this useful Wallwisher which I came across the other day.  While this, and other great posts like it are helping me to think through the experiences of designing and teaching a MOOC, I have some concerns with a focus on process.  Strategies for teaching people ‘how to MOOC’ often appear disconnected from ‘content’, and indeed this attention to ‘process’ is what the connectivist-informed MOOCs have advocated.  At its extreme, this approach seems to disregard the centralised curation of content in favour of strategies for independent information retrieval.  Learning to use social media is clearly important in this kind of course, however many of the suggestions for building a better MOOC appear engaging enough to constitute a five week course in themselves – an indication, I’d suggest, of the depth and merit of these strategies.  Given the incredibly diverse skills apparent in EDCMOOC participants, crucial questions are emerging for me this week regarding this relationship between process and content.

For the moment, one of my main concerns with ‘process’ is the assumption of a ‘right way’ to go about things.  For me, this seems to tap into the same inferences as the ‘digital natives’ debate; that there are people who know how to use technology correctly, and hence can get better ‘results’.  I’m slightly wary of an orientation towards achieving the ‘right’ answer through a ‘correct’ aggregation strategy.  While I value the articulation of strategies and the circumscribing of approaches, particularly in relation to the overwhelming information coming together in the EDCMOC, I’m also concerned with what is lost in such classifications.  The ‘correct’ way to use Twitter, for example, should perhaps be contested, rather than reduced to a bullet pointed list.  In the same way that ‘digital immigrants’ are devalued, strategies which call for the ‘technology savvy’ to teach others seems to diminish the worth of a fresh insight, an alternative perspective, a view of technology that does not come from ‘within’ technology.  EDCMOOC participants appear to be rich and varied, and it is perhaps from diversity, not homogenisation, that we can learn the most.  This week I’ll be looking out for the ‘mistakes’…

Jeremy Knox


8 thoughts on “Building a better #EDCMOOC?

  1. Jeremy,

    You posted:
    EDCMOOC participants appear to be rich and varied, and it is perhaps from diversity, not homogenisation, that we can learn the most. This week I’ll be looking out for the ‘mistakes’…

    Amen! Diversity. Diversity. Diversity.

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  3. I was very interested to read this post as at a mooc f2f meeting at my uni we spent most of the time discussing the process (i guess because most of the group were edtech staff). Some of our group hadnt yet viewed the first weeks videos. It was useful and i am sure it helped some of us understand moocs better but i was hoping to talk a bit more about the content (videos and readings). Still i am going to the Bristol evening coffee mooc today, maybe this group drawn from several institutions will focus more on content than process (a second thought hits me – maybe as the course progresses people will naturally start to focus on the content more? Or will they jump straight from process to how to complete assessment

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  5. Interesting topic! I noticed that I focused on the process a lot during the first week. Also because I am a teacher interested in the Mooc itself and how it evolves and the content. But this second week I focused on the content more, made sure I read everything at the beginning of the week and then took a stroll around the different social media. The result is that I got more interested in remarks and blogs wich are really going into maters instead of those “just” making remarks on proces or tools. I also thought about the use of tools and the final digital artifact and that some people are better users of helpfull tools then others. But then again, I think within the product should be a message right? And no matter what ( helpfull) tool you use, if you do not get the content clear it will turn out a “poor”product anyway.And to me there are no “right answers” only “good questons”..And I could not agree more that in the diversity of the participants lies one of the greatest strengts of so called “connected learning”.

  6. As humans we seem to have an almost inbuilt need to control our environment. I think this is why so many people are asking about the process. However, we must also remember that to many people unused to healthy debating, arguing with someone else’s point of view seems rude and ungracious.
    Personally I enjoy a good philosophical debate. I have left many open-ended questions on various thread to get people thinking.

  7. Thank you, Jeremy – Speaking from my own perspective, I am a “newbie” at MOOCs or any kind of online education. I have been well educated, but because I am older, my education was primarily the traditional teacher in front of the class, lecturing while we took notes, and having students lead discussions on readings we did for homework. So, for me, being part of this vast interactive class, of 40,000, is overwhelming. Having never taken online classes (other than LMS classes at work), it took me an entire day to figure out what to read/watch and how to go about finding some personalization in this huge class. Plus, I wondered where the “professors” are. OMG, that reminds me, I probably missed today’s hangout, didn’t I?? I really enjoyed that, as it brought me in touch with our teachers. As I joined a small study group (also a very diverse and wonderfully thoughtful collection of fellow MOOCers). I felt more comfortable about the process and could concentrate more on the content. I am not a teacher, and my training experience was a few years ago, and so much has changed. So, from my own perspective, getting the “hang of” this MOOC and what is expected for our final project is a challenge for me. Perhaps others feel a similar feeling, especially if they joined this MOOC a day or two after Jan. 28.

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