Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A MOOC Has Become a MOLE - edcmooc

  *audio recording below text and lower image

I joined a Massively Open Online Course (edcmooc)
knocking on an unknown door 
with 40 thousand (maybe more)

A seasoned online
course designer

skeptical and prejudiced of what I'd find

sure that no one could design
a "course", a MOOC
to engage me,
much less make me learn -

But even in my lurking stance

I read
and thought
and viewed
both content and community

realizing that I could
pick and choose
my own path
and learn
while others shared their thoughts
and insights

using media to discuss media,
teachers and students 
learning together 


a MOOC has become a MOLE:
a place where learning 
can occur

challenging my once sure notions
of course 
and design

Still unsure,
My door is OPEN
and begs you to come in.


080409 Revolving Door
and Revolving Door-1
courtesy of Dan4th

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Utopian View in a World Made of Glass - #edcmooc

Corning presents a Utopian view of the use of technologies and in particular their glass products, which seem to be pervasive in all aspects of life, including education. Although the story attempts to create a futuristic view, there are elements of the 20th century (industrialist) learning environment, as the students are initially shown being driven in a car to a physical location and sit in a classroom with seats all aligned, facing the instructor. Much about the video portrays the ability to connect with the Internet at any time and place. Education is implied to be a continuous process, both in formal and informal settings. Learning tools generally use touch or motion sensitive glass devices, such as a touch/motion sensitive screen/table, where they can interact with content and with each other by using something that resembles an interactive Prezi presentation (or perhaps a collaborative development “space”). (Note the metaphor for actual space)

What is being learned and taught?

Various subjects seem to be addressed, but what is also being taught is a way of accessing information, interacting with content, instructor, content experts and other students. In the forest, a Forrest Ranger appears to teaching content related to Earth Science and history. Photo recognition is used by the students to capture the shape of an animal track and identify that a Roosevelt Elk created it. Waving their glass tablet over a hot spot in the woods presents images of dinosaurs within the environment. These are later being shared with an adult, (presumably a parent) on a large wall as they review recordings of their field trip. Homework is done on a touch screen and submitted electronically from home.

This Utopian view incorporates many of the best features of technologies that are available today and some that seem very possible in the near future. However, it assumes many things about culture, access, availability, financial resources, high technological skills and a world without technical problems; beautiful picture that will require more than glass.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

First View From the Balcony: MOOCs 101 - #edcmooc

In my world, the notion of "open" and the world of MOOCs is increasingly a topic of conversation. As in all conversations, we come to the table, encumbered by our past experiences, preconceived ideas and assumptions. It's hard to lay these down, but I'm making every effort. My concept map is open for edits.

I've enrolled in the MOOC, E-Learning and Digital Cultures ( #edcmooc ) in the attempt to expand my thinking about the concept of a "course", see how an enrollment of thousands in an online course approaches becoming a learning community, learn how online student and instructor presence becomes visible and discover how participants interact with content and with each other.

My early impression of the course site is positive. It is a visually clean presentation, with clear links to general course information, Block 1, Block 2 and Final assignment. The first assignment presents four videos for viewing, guiding questions and readings about utopias and dystopias. All provide food for thought, concepts and some words that lack familiarity.  So, the MOOC has put me onto my own learning path. However, I'm a slow reader and I find it difficult to commit the required time; time that I tell myself competes with other obligations at work and at home. However, at the end of the day, I know it simply boils down to CHOICES about how we spend our time.

Although I have not publicly shared my comments about the Block 1 videos and the reading I have done (as I still feel behind), I have he luxury of being able to converse with my colleague, Dr. Britt Watwood and read his blog, Learning in a Flat World. We discussed this today and I realized that Britt's and other blogs can serve the same purpose as Cliff Notes to assist one in gaining insight and learning. 

Britt and I jointly watched the Google Hangout that was hosted by the Instructors on Friday, February 1 and we monitored the accompanying Twitter conversation. I found this to be engaging. I felt like I was present with the instructors, who shared their personalities, their sense of humor, their knowledge and their own desire to learn. I felt that the instructors were engaged with the content and with questions and postings by several of the students. So, my question: how does one engage with thousands of students?, began to be answered. Instructors sampled various student input, seemed to find the common concerns and they addressed them as if each were present "in the room". Their advance preparation and attention to real-time Twitter posts was brilliant! 

It is clear that there are many "in the room" (like me), who are here to learn what a MOOC is all about. As though the experience of one MOOC will define all MOOCs. Ha! We are participating in various ways, but we are all looking down on the stage to see the action; hence the title of my blog, A View From the Balcony.  

One gets out of learning opportunities what one puts into them. I see that a MOOC can provide the opportunity for sustained and/or serial engagement, provide the benefit of communit(ies), encourage asynchronous and synchronous conversation and promote learning. I still wrestle with the definition of a "course", but I'm far more OPEN than I thought I would be; and I'm learning.

PS: I should have read bwatwood's post before I wrote this. Once again the master could have saved me time. :=)

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