The run up to the First Steps in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Mooc is well under way. The course officially starts on 21st May (and will run for 5 weeks until 22nd June), so next week is a good time for anyone who is interested in following the course to have a look round our WordPress and Moodle sites and spend a bit of time setting yourself up and deciding where and how you want to participate. These sites are still being developed, so there may be some last minute changes next week.
Designing this course has been more complex than I anticipated and I think this is because the course is neither a fully connectivist course of the type conceived by Downes, Siemens, Cormier and Groom, nor an institutional or commercial type of Mooc (Stanford, MIT, Curtis Bonk). It is somewhere in between and is aligned at least to some extent to Oxford Brookes University’s and funders’ expectations. So we do have an LMS element (Moodle), which feels more like a traditional course, but also the course is open – we will aggregate blogs, and we are expecting people to interact in spaces of their own choosing.
Lisa Lane has written a very interesting (and for me – timely) blog post this week – Where’s your class? musings on course location in which she describes the type of MOOC we have been developing as a ‘pseudo’ Mooc. A Mooc that perpetuates the idea that ‘class is here’. She describes the model we have decided on as being the ‘middle ground’.
I recognise our Mooc in what she is saying. Like Lisa, my own preference is for Moocs to be open, distributed and aggregated, but as she has pointed out:
The WordPress Multi-User site, or the LMS that’s open to all, or the main blog where all blog within it but can have their content exported to save (which is what Dave is doing) may then be the preferred models for balancing these issues with those of exploration and innovation. They are being chosen because they take into account concerns of pedagogy and comfort, not because they can handle 1,000 students and use their content and personal information for other ends, but because they work.
Certainly for the #fslt12 MOOC, which is targeted at new lecturers in HE and PhD students who want to teach (although we welcome experienced practitioners as well), we hope to be able to provide a comfortable and safe learning environment for those who need it, for whatever reason.
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating🙂 Whatever happens it has been, and will continue to be, a great learning experience!