#NRC01PL Personal Learning MOOC Week 1

personal learning

I have registered for Stephen Downes’ 7 week Personal Learning MOOC – Here is the text, advertising the course, from the first part of Stephen Downes’ Half an Hour blog.

This course explores the topic of learning in three ways: first, through an examination of research and development issues related to the topic; second, through interaction with a personal learning environment (specifically: LPSS) to take the course; and third, through activities supporting the development of a personal learning environment at a conceptual level.

Course objectives: participants will develop an appreciation of different models of online course delivery, ranging from the traditional LMS through connectivist MOOCs to potential future models of personal learning and performance support.

Course environment: NRC01 Personal Learning will be delivered using OpenEdX and will include text-based content, videos, discussion, and exercises. Participants will be also invited to explore additional learning environments, including the gRSShopper, LPSS.me and Arke prototypes developed by NRC. In addition, participants will be encouraged to explore and work in online environments related to the topics covered in the course and report their findings in the discussion area or their own website. Participants may also be subscribed to a daily newsletter for the duration of the course.

Course Tag: #NRC01PL

Course Registration: https://openedx.lpss.me

Week 1 is coming to a close and has been simply an introduction to the EdX environment. This is the first time I have participated in an EdX course. We have been asked to comment on the environment in terms of ease of use. Yes, it is easy to use, but I did need Stephen’s video to ‘open my eyes’ to a few things. I am not interested in technology for technology’s sake, so I don’t naturally click every button to find out what’s what. For me, a short video pointing me in the right direction always helps. So for example, I ignored the tab ‘Courseware’ because it sounds like ‘software’ and I incorrectly thought ‘that’s not for me’. But in fact the Courseware tab is where the course content is – including the video (a further layer down), whereas I was expecting it to be in Course Info and was wondering where the course content was. I wasn’t worried, because I have participated in enough online learning and MOOCs to know that I would find it on Twitter or via the Daily Newsletter, or via a participant.

I think if I had designed the site I might have had a Home page link above the Week 1 ‘Learning through Practice’ link and had the video there and immediately visible. I would also have the links in a different colour, so that they can be easily identified as live links – but that’s just me.

Otherwise the site is very easy. Some people have questioned the day by day drip feed approach, but it’s fine by me. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly I get a sense of feeling overwhelmed. I haven’t even managed to watch the three videos mentioned on OLDaily yet . Here are the links below.

Beyond Instructional Design: Open Spaces and Learning Places

The MOOC Ecosystem

Design Elements in a Personal Learning Environment

….. or read the recommended article

Downes, S. (2001) Learning Objects: Resources for distance education worldwide. 2(1) IRRODL

although I have read Stephen’s helpful blog post – Personal and Personalized Learning

There are just not enough hours in the day at the moment. But again, I am not worried about this and I’m certainly not rushing around from city to city like Stephen himself is doing. I’ll just pick and choose, as and when. I know that this MOOC is really for research purposes (the first survey has already been conducted and the results posted Personal Learning MOOC Survey 1) but my interest is to see what I can learn about recent developments in how learners experience and manage their own online learning spaces. I’m not sure how active I’ll be, but I’ll be tagging along.

One final thing about the Edx Environment – and this is a personal observation. Although it’s very straightforward to use, I found myself immediately wanting some more colour, i.e. I wanted it to be more aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps we’re not supposed to be attracted to it, and we’ll be encouraged to move somewhere else. Time will tell!

13 thoughts on “#NRC01PL Personal Learning MOOC Week 1

  1. Gordon Lockhart February 27, 2016 / 8:11 am

    Thanks for this Jenny. I hadn’t been aware of NRC01PL but have decided to tag along too although having just finished another Edx MOOC, I’m now rather MOOCed out and also pressed for time. One reason NRC01PL interests me is that a ‘hybrid MOOC’, somehow combining the best features of c and xMOOCs, could be a step forward although this seems difficult given the inherently closed nature of the Edx platform. Also, I fear that some participants, weaned on very well-resourced and professionally executed xMOOCs may find the cMOOC style of NRC01PL a little too laid back and devoid of given ‘content’ for their liking – but I hope I’m wrong!

  2. jennymackness February 27, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    Thanks Gordon for your comment. I will also be interested to see how it works with the EdX platform. I’m assuming it’s been selected to ease the research purposes – or maybe simply to highlight one possible aspect of a personal learning environment. Most students will have to integrate some sort of LMS into their PLE.

  3. jupidu February 27, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    Hi Jenny! Great that we are both learning in a Stephen Downes MOOC again – I will never forget that we met in #change11! I ignored the tab ‘Courseware’ as well, because it was placed on a strange position and the title wasn’t seducing for me! But as it happens in MOOCs, later on I found the content.
    I hate long videos so I skipped them but took a long look at the slides. And I’m not that happy about discussion fora in a MOOC but preferred the tweets.
    Now let’s look forward to the second week 🙂

  4. jennymackness February 27, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    Hi Jutta. Glad it wasn’t just me who got confused by the Courseware tab – and I’m not a discussion forum person either. I’d rather be here on my blog 🙂

  5. cpjobling February 29, 2016 / 11:21 am

    Hi Jenny. Glad to see you in #NCL01PL. I’m here too but haven’t participated enough in the first week to be ready to write a blog post.

    I think it’s worth correcting a couple of points made by previous commenters. This MOOC is *not* an EdX course, it’s hosted on the Open EdX platform and as Stephen stated in his introductory lecture, content is being added as we go. Thus we can expect the experience to be very different from what we may be used to if we’ve started courses with EdX before. There’s a refreshing feeling of making things up as we go along and the potential for a kind of project based learning that may well be part of Stephen’s research around this activity.

    I’m actually quite interested in seeing what the Open EdX platform brings to the table as a potential hub for a personal learning environment. It’s clear that it’s lacking some features — RSS aggregation being one important missing feature.

  6. jennymackness February 29, 2016 / 6:37 pm

    Hi Chris – thanks for making the point about the EdX environment. I suppose that even though this is ‘not’ an EdX course in the same sense as other EdX courses, the platform and presumably some EdX regulations will impose some constraints. It will be interesting to see how the course develops – although I noted that Stephen suggested it is a conversation rather than a course. It is structured like a course though.

  7. cpjobling February 29, 2016 / 8:02 pm

    I just visited and notice that the “conversation” stopped on Thursday!

  8. jennymackness February 29, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    Yes – and there isn’t any content up for this week yet as far as I can see – although that might be a time difference thing. There should be a Hangout tomorrow – maybe that will start the conversation off again.

  9. Ann Brady March 5, 2016 / 6:28 am

    Hi Jenny. I’m also participating in the course. For me, at the beginning of any course there is a mix of trepidation and excitement. It’s the end of week 2 and I’ve just posted my thoughts (http://tinyurl.com/za4smha). Looking forward to connecting with new people and figuring out how this whole thing hangs together!

  10. jennymackness March 5, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    Hello Ann. Thanks for your comment and nice to ‘meet’ you. I’m not sure how much I will be able to follow this course. I’m really tied up with other stuff at the moment – so I haven’t even looked at Week 2 yet. Thanks for posting a link to your blog. I’ll go there now 🙂

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