I guessed it would happen, because of our experiences on the MSc in Digital Education, but I am delighted to see what is happening around the edcmooc digital artefact assignments. There are three things in particular that stand out: the effort, the sharing, and the feedback. These observations are based only on what’s been shared in forums, twitter and blogs – I haven’t looked at any of the formal submissions yet.
1. Effort. Digital artefact creation seems to inspire great creativity and effort. Inviting people to go ‘beyond text’ to represent academic knowledge, and to create work in public, appears to be motivating in a way that, say, writing an essay that only three people will read, generally isn’t. I think this is about audience, and about the pleasure of sharing and expressing understanding in multimodal ways. We are seeing people drawing on their own personal and professional expertise (coding, writing, film-making, music, photography, expertise with web-based tools, knowledge of interesting bodies of literature, and so on) to really grapple with course themes. I love it and will have a terrible time tearing myself away.
2. Sharing. A number of MOOC participants are rejecting (sometimes explicitly) protectiveness and secrecy in favour of sharing their ideas, drafts, processes and final artefacts. We could claim that we have reached a utopian state of trust within the MOOC (of course!!), but the networked nature of the assignment makes it possible, too. In a public, web context, sharing doesn’t take anything away from the sharer, but rather stamps ideas as theirs, drives traffic to their artefacts, and gives a reputational boost. This is digital scholarship in action. Those who are sharing in this way are providing helpful examples for others to build on, too. (The merits of the ‘exemplar’ are sometimes contested, but in general I am a fan.)
3. Feedback. The generosity of those sharing is matched by the generosity of those responding with enthusiasm, suggestions, constructive advice and audience responses. Particularly impressive has been the references to the assessment criteria, which a number of people in the forum are making in their informal feedback. By bringing these criteria into play at this stage, discussing and debating what they mean, and trying to apply them in context, MOOC participants are involving themselves in the feedback process in ways that I think will be extremely helpful during the peer assessment activity, and for those still working on their artefacts.
To sum up: heaps of praise for EDCMOOC participants, and the work they are beginning to do on these final assignments.