Despite the launch hiccup, OLDSMOOC appears to be off to a flying start. There is a lot of activity in the Google group discussion forums and on Cloudworks.
These are the links I have so far gathered:
OLDSMOOC HOME – https://sites.google.com/a/olds.ac.uk/oldsmooc/home
These are my observations so far.
This MOOC requires significant navigation skills, because discussion is widely distributed. There is plenty of help on how to navigate if you can find it.
The daily summaries are very helpful, but must require so much work. The team must already be exhausted – either that or they have a lot of people working on this MOOC to distribute the load, which of course raises the investment cost.
These summaries remind participants on a daily basis what they need to do, should be doing, and where they should be doing it and urges them to do it right, for example, to post in the right place etc.
A lot of participants are fully engaged and have completed the ‘dream bazaar’ activity – where participants are asked to
‘Describe a learning situation you are involved in, a change you would like to see in that situation, and how you think you can bring about that change.’
The next stage is for people to team up and work on design projects together, which might be difficult for those who have entered the MOOC as individuals rather than as a team, or alongside colleagues. As Helen Whitehead (@helenwhd) has tweeted:
No idea how to “form a team” in #oldsmooc. Feels like choosing sports teams at school! Be the one left over, lol
All this leaves me with a couple of questions
- Does this MOOC need the amount of prescription that is a significant part of its design?
Diana Laurillard has commented on my last blog post
‘….the basic MOOC is ok for CPD, but still needs some good learning design. It’s not really enough to say ‘here are the concepts, now go and discuss among yourselves’. I’ve just experienced a MOOC a bit like that, and it’s just not enough.’
And she distinguishes between ‘professional’ and ‘student’ MOOCs
‘an important distinction could be between the ‘professional’ MOOC and the ‘student’ MOOC. The former requires facilitation and can be lighter on design, but the latter definitely needs design as well as facilitation. The former is a good model for CPD, the latter would be more like an undergraduate course (which then needs an awful lot more learning design than the basic MOOC usually provides).
For me, it’s not a question of professional or student. My understanding of MOOCs (cMOOCs) is still that they are intended to exemplify the principles of autonomy, diversity, openness and connectedness/interaction. Diversity means amongst other things, a mix of novices and experts (professionals and students) who learn from each other.
A cMOOC (or the original intention of cMOOCs) is about a personal learning journey – not about a required/intended/desired outcome – and in that sense I am interested to see the extent to which this highly structured MOOC, with a clear requirement for an intended outcome (a project design), supports personal learning journeys.
2. Which leads, community or curriculum – in this MOOC?
For me at the moment it feels like the curriculum is leading, in the sense that the ‘course’ is highly structured and this structure is very much in the control of the MOOC designers. It will be interesting to see how it develops as participants start working on their projects. If the MOOC is successful in facilitating the formation of teams, I suspect that that is where the negotiation of learning will happen and where the community will begin to lead.
These questions are of interest to me in relation to my work on emergent learning with Roy Williams and Simone Gumtau. See Footprints of Emergence for a discussion of emergence and prescribed learning if you are interested – and anyone is welcome to join our wiki for further information and sharing of thinking/ideas.
Finally, a question that I am mulling over at the moment, and I don’t think anyone has discussed so far in this MOOC, but I have certainly not read everything, is
What is the difference between learning design and planning for learning?
I have spent many hours in my teaching career planning for learning, at macro and micro levels, but I have never thought of myself as a learning designer.
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