#EDCMOOC: shifting and reshaping

Our email to those signed up for next session of EDCMOOC has just gone out.  Although the MOOC doesn’t officially start until November, students are already tweeting, blogging and generally getting to know each other.  There is also a community of EDCMOOC1 participants still active in Twitter and elsewhere, and one of the really fascinating things this time will be to see if and how these two groups connect with each other.  There are currently over 11,000 students enrolled for November and we’re looking forward to meeting them.

This is only the second time we’ve run the MOOC so it will be interesting to see how the cohort dynamic plays out here.  EDCMOOC2 will have the same open structure, encouraging dialogue through blogging, Twitter and a range of other social media as well on the Coursera site itself.  We’ve made some changes in response to issues raised by the previous cohort, while maintaining our commitment to an exploratory and critical approach to digital cultures, to e-learning and to the whole idea of MOOCs themselves.

Some participants reported that they felt overwhelmed by all the activity on the site and beyond.  We realized that some people were trying to follow up all possible conversations – the numbers meant it was impossible even for the five tutors to do that.  On the site, there will be a page of strategies for dealing with the ‘massive’ aspect of the MOOC.  We’ve tried to help orientate people through adding some video introductions to the five tutors and our themes, but we’re still not using the traditional ‘talking head’ lectures that some students may have come to expect through taking other MOOCs.

The two Google hangouts we ran last time proved very popular, and in EDCMOOC2 we’ll have one on the Friday of each week.  This way, participants can hear our discussions about the course as it progresses.   But the main ‘content’ will still be created by the participants themselves as they critique the films and readings we provide, and form their own understandings about the issues involved and their implications.

We loved the digital artefacts produced by our first cohort and heard reports of some fantastic feedback from fellow participants.  There were also some less positive views of peer feedback: we’re revising our advice on this and have agreed that it’s fairest not to focus on grades, but to create a pass/fail classification instead of 0/1/2 that we had before.  Some people reported that didn’t manage to submit because of confusion about timezones and the deadline for the assignment – we’re taking steps to minimize this for the next cohort.

Our approach will not suit everyone; the massiveness of MOOCs often seems to be the first thing that people want to try to control or curtail.  We still find it new and exciting ourselves: we’re continually revisiting what teaching means at this scale.  We’ll still blog here about this occasionally.

We’re really happy to be doing this again.

For EDCMOOC2, go to https://www.coursera.org/course/edc

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