Monthly Archives: February 2013

I am new to MOOCs and am coming up to speed on all the lingo…cMOOC, xMOOC, etc. I found this blog post by Sarah Roegiers helpful.

Another interesting resource is the Business+MOOCs Google+ hangout recording from February 27, 2013 hosted by Jay Cross. It included a panel of MOOC / online community experts: George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, Jerry Michalski, Mark Finnern, Terri Griffith and Lal Jones-Bey.

Doing by Learning (and vice versa)

It is a good season for “MOOCs”, Massive Open Online Courses, and you can spot several of them in full action. But the term “MOOC” has come to cover a range of wildly different  kinds of ehm… learning events. Indeed, for some of these, “course”, might be the wrong word.

It will probably not be long before we will start to use different words for different kinds of MOOCs.

In 2008, the term MOOC was coined to describe courses that were experimenting with the connectivist take on learning.

Later, the term was applied to free courses that were instuctor-led and structured around canned lectures and one course platform, but the need was felt to distinguish between the merely “free” courses and the courses with distributed contents, and matching leaner-centered approaches to the organization of the course. In came the distinction between cMOOC and xMOOC. But that good vs. bad model is…

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Levels of Scaffolding

The first blog post I wrote as an EDCMOOC student shared the scaffolding I put in place around myself as a learner in order to avoid dropping out of the course. I am happy to report that I stayed engaged the whole time and am ready for more MOOC’ing! Last week, Peter Taylor, left the following comment on my scaffolding post:

A blog post on different levels of scaffolding, http://wp.me/p1gwfa-sK
The first level is the one we think of in education, but I’d be interested to hear discussion on how that kind of scaffolding in MOOCs could lead to the other levels
[“1. Someone starts with a final structure in mind and provide the workers (or students) a safe scaffolding they use to complete the structure (or students come to understand the ideas and be proficient in the practices)…..”]

I am not an expert on scaffolding (I’ll leave that my colleague Kimberly Scott and others like Peter). However, I do think Peter’s question is an interesting one. How might the kind of scaffolding that I describe in the #EDCMOOC – Week 1 Scaffolding to Avoid Dropping Out post lead to the other levels of scaffolding that Peter describes for MOOC participants? But also, how does the scaffolding put in place by the instructors and other course participants enhance learners experiences and help them go deeper?

When I read Peter’s Scaffolding post, Level 3 stuck out for me. I’ll come back to levels 4 and 5 – need some more thinking time on those.

3. Someone (or someones) has (have) a synergistic cooperative or collaborative situation in mind—drawn from past experience and current understanding—and provides scaffolding to more than one group of workers (potential cooperators) to lead them towards a place where, if and when the groups meet, their interaction creates more than the sum of the parts. That is, like two sides of a bridge joining in a stable arch, the resulting situation is something no group could provide for itself (see strategic participatory planning)

In the Voice Thread group I’ve been part of during the EDCMOOC, we have been discussing ideas for ways to support various types of MOOC learners — how to provide scaffolding — so that individuals can meet their personal learning goals whatever they might be. I think that the EDCMOOC team at the University of Edinburgh definitely had a synergistic cooperative situation in mind, this EDCMOOC, and provided scaffolding to all of us which led us to all sorts of places where we met up and interacted. And from my own personal experience the interactions I’ve had with both the Voice Thread group and the group of #edcmchat students in the live Twitter chats have produced interactions and content that is much more than the sum of the parts.

So what does the scaffolding look like that produces the outcome described in Peter’s level 3 scaffolding? In the case of this particular MOOC, some of the ways that the teaching team provided scaffolding to foster 1 + 1 = 4 outcomes are listed below:

  • Designed a final assessment that is peer-reviewed instead of instructor-reviewed. This meant that in some cases people were forming groups or using existing social media communities to share their work prior to submitting. My Voice Thread group, for example, had a Google+ Hangout well before the due date of the final assignment where we shared drafts of the digital artifact and conducted a peer review that helped us iterate and tweak our final submissions.
  • Encouraged various ways of connecting with other students and course content. While there was a Coursera discussion area, it was not frowned upon if particular students, like me, wanted to interact on Twitter, Google+ or other places. In fact, it was encouraged (even though this makes the measurement of a MOOC difficult). In the two Google+ hangouts hosted by the teaching team, they answered questions on Google+ and Twitter — they met the participants where we were, not where the teaching team deemed we should be.
  • Directed participants to various groups to facilitate connecting with other students. During the second Google+ hangout, Christine Sinclair, spent some time talking about various groups  that were forming, specifically the Over 60 group. Jen Ross shared the EDCMOOC Voice Thread group with others in a blog post.

I also think that in a MOOC, the teachers/facilitators themselves are actually not able to provide all the scaffolding. Participants start emerging who provide some of this scaffolding. For example, Ary Aranguiz started the #edcmchat Twitter chat which was not part of the course design. Ary along with other Twitter chat hosts AndyDMMitchell, Eleni Zazani , and @kmallwein (list not meant to be comprehensive – many others played a role) did an excellent job of including Twitter newbies in the conversation with tweets like this one:

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 10.37.03 AM

Felicia Sullivan artfully provided scaffolding by being a quiet leader in the Voice Thread conversation. She seeded the conversation with a prompt and then replied quickly to member’s comments throughout the course, keeping us coming back for more!

But this is my experience. What are your thoughts on this topic?

  1. What are other kinds of scaffolding that could be used in future MOOCs to facilitate this kind of cooperation and collaboration amongst and between groups?
  2. Who was left out despite these various scaffolding methods?
  3. Were there things that didn’t work for you?
  4. Have you seen examples in other MOOCs where scaffolding was not put in place or didn’t naturally emerge? What happened?

photo credit: pni via photopin cc

My Human Element in the EDCMOOC

Authentic conversation is our human way of thinking together” (Brown, 2005, p. 204).

A few years ago I realized that a common theme in my life is the formation of community. After I had my first child I started a play group that met weekly for several years. I have been part of a women’s spirituality group for over eight years. When my son started a new school for first grade I quickly went about compiling a class roster and helped create a Facebook group so that the parents could connect and support each other. The part of my job that I enjoy the most is fostering community and knowledge sharing within MSLOC’s private online social learning community. Not surprisingly, I quickly found a community within this massive, global E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC course. It was not planned nor do I know where it is headed. But I do know that it has increased my level of engagement and connection. I feel supported and validated. What was initially a bit scary, sharing my learning journey publicly, now feels energizing.

As I work my way through the videos and readings for the Reasserting the human topic (week 3) in the EDCMOOC, I have been reflecting on community and how to support learning with authentic conversation and human connection. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about how community forms and is sustained within a complex adaptive system, such as a MOOC. Complex adaptive systems are unpredictable, nonlinear, adaptive, emergent and self-organizing (Pascale, 2000; Tsoukas, 2005; Uhl-Bien et al., 2007). I’d say this #EDCMOOC qualifies! The self-organizing piece is what I find fascinating.

The Kolowich (2010) reading called The Human Element resonated with me on several levels, as a higher education learning professional, as a former graduate student who took classes in various formats and as an EDCMOOC student.

The Human Element in the Blended Learning Environment

Over the past several years, my colleagues and I in the MSLOC program  at Northwestern University have identified that making emotional connections has been a key factor in supporting a healthy, collaborative blended learning community. Some ways that we do this is by sharing webcams in virtual class sessions, by taking time to end virtual sessions with intention and reflection instead of just abruptly hanging up, and by creating instructor welcome videos for our alternative schedule classes that include sharing some personal information. (See more info here.)

make emotional connections Similar to Douglas Hersh, Dean of the School of Media Arts at Santa Barbara City College, who is referenced in the Kolowich article, we have found that incorporating more video and audio into our courses has helped our students feel more connected to their instructors before they ever meet them in person. We coach our faculty to share their authentic selves on camera as much as possible. Our videos are not heavily produced – the focus is on the authentic human connection, not on creating slick videos. You can see an example of one of our instructor videos here: Managing Transitions (notice how Dorie Blesoff shares her personal stories in the video).

Just like Hersh, we have also moved mostly off of Blackboard in favor of a private social learning community powered by Jive Software. In this nonlinear, organic online platform, members of our community are able to make connections, collaborate and share knowledge across and above class instances while still allowing for private class groups. Members of the learning community are able to have social presence in various ways, such as micro-blogging via status updates.

My Human Element Within EDCMOOC

The description of Hersch’s Human Presence Learning Environment  where students can post audio responses to discussion threads sounds like what I’m calling My Human Element within the EDCMOOC course, a Voice Thread discussion started by Felicia Sullivan on February 6, 2013. Basically, we each upload a picture to a Voice Thread profile and then we can make audio or text comments when we are able. The comments get put into one long recording and it is easy to move to a particular location – I typically find the last comment I heard and then start listening there. Visual cues are given to show who is talking.

I drew the image below to represent my EDCMOOC group which has slowly grown each day as new people join in.

voicethread-EDCMOOC Felicia Sullivan (@feliciasullivan) kicked off the Voice Thread by asking fellow MOOCers the following questions:

What is really most present in your mind right now related to EDCMOOC? What is the burning thing you are seeking out or researching or questioning? What really is top of mind?

She has adeptly continued to facilitate the conversation by responding regularly and making us feel that we all own this conversation/convergence. We have been discussing various topics such as e-learning and social media tools, the interesting position of studying something that you are also doing at the same time (going meta on MOOCs), the priviledge afforded to English speakers in this EDCMOOC, the possible inequities of MOOCs (see a recent post about this by Jen Ross – @jar) as well as the Voice Thread tool itself.

banksy - bird singing in a tree - 2

banksy – bird singing in a tree – 2

By sharing our voices, we hear each others accents, share a bit of personal information and make an emotional connection. Simply from hearing the background noises in the audio tracks and picking up on visual images in the pictures students have chosen to share, I have learned the following: Beth D. has a Dachshund (listen), Virginia has birds chirping nearby (listen), Rick seems to like the outdoors, Beth and Virginia both like to drink tea or coffee from mugs. Rick from Fresno, CA reflected on the power of sound in one of his Voice Thread remarks, “Hearing the birds chirping and dogs barking helps to personalize some of these interactions we’ve been having, largely via text.”

So I’d like to thank the students who have shared their voices on this Voice Thread: Felicia (Boston, MA), Rick (Fresno, CA), Miguel, Beth S. (Yorkshire, UK), Beth D. (Wisconsin), Virginia (USA), Sherene (USA), Fran (Australia), Luis Rafael (Venezuela), Marianne (Gainesville, FL). You have inserted a bit of predictability and safety into an otherwise nonlinear, sometimes overwhelming experience. This Voice Thread is the place I go before starting my EDCMOOC reading/viewing or checking my various streams. It is what I’ve been listening to as I start and end my day. I look forward to hearing more voices as the course continues! I have a feeling others have been listening and wonder what will compel (or prevent) people to join in.

What have been your experiences with self-organization in this MOOC or other similar environments?

What is the story of your own small group if you have one?

What does community mean to you within this context?

Related Content

EDCMOOC Voice Thread by Felicia Sullivan

Blog Posts

Online Content from members of the Voice Thread

Felicia’s Blog: http://www.feliciasullivan.net/
Rick’s Blog: http://drrbb2nd.blogspot.com/
Beth D.’s Blog: http://selfdirection.blogspot.com/
Fran’s Blog: https://elearningmoocedinburgh.wordpress.com/

Reasserting the Human – Week 3 Readings / Viewing

Humanity 2.0: defining humanity – Steve Fuller’s TEDx Warwick talk (24:08)

Badmington, Neil (2000) Introduction: approaching posthumanism. Posthumanism. Houndmills; New York: Palgrave

Kolowich, S (2010) The Human Element. Inside Higher Ed

Monke, L (2004) The Human Touch, EducationNext

Videos

Photo Credits

Photo Credit: Make Emotional Connnections by sorokti cc
Photo Credit: My Human Element by sorokti cc
Photo Credit for bansky bird: Eva Blue via Compfight cc

References

Brown, J. (2005). The World Café: Shaping our futures through conversations that matter. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Kolowich, S (2010) The Human Element. Inside Higher Ed http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/03/29/lms

Pascale, R. (2000). Surfing the edge of chaos : The laws of nature and the new laws of business (1st ed.). New York: Crown Publishers.

Tsoukas, H. (2005). Chaos, complexity, and organization theory. In Complex knowledge: Studies in organizational epistemology (pp. 210-229). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Uhl-Bien, M., Marion, R., & McKelvey, B. (2007). Complexity leadership theory: Shifting leadership from the industrial age to the knowledge era. The Leadership Quarterly, 18(4), 298-318.

Digital Artifact Tools

The final assignment for the E-learning & Digital Cultures MOOC is to create a digital artifact. I’ve discovered so many new tools and just found this long list of tools that was shared in the course. I’ve put a ** by the tools that I’ve used. I would also add HaikuDeck to this list (http://www.haikudeck.com/).

To see examples of digital artifacts see my Google Site: E-learning & Digital Cultures: Digital Artifacts

  1. Facebook Interaction Tracker-http://www.zeebly.com/social_me
  2. Timeline-http://timeline.verite.co/#
  3. Scoopit-http://www.scoop.it/ (Laurie Niestrath)
  4. Tiki-Toki Timeline – http://www.tiki-toki.com/ (HB Hessler)
  5. Diigo – http://www.diigo.com (Rick Bartlett) (Laaurie Niestrath) **
  6. Pinterest – http://pinterest.com (Ary Aranguiz) **
  7. Glogster – http://glogster.com
  8. Youtube- http://youtube.com
  9. Ustream – http://ustream.com
  10. Infogr.am- http://infogr.am
  11. Mixbook – http://mixbook.com
  12. Storify- http://storify.com **
  13. New Hive – http://newhive.com
  14. Slideshare- http://slideshare.net **
  15. WebDoc- http://webdoc.com
  16. BlogTalkRadio- http://blogtalkradio.com
  17. Knovio – http://knovio.com
  18. Google Hangouts – record your hangouts **
  19. Prezi -http://prezi.com (Laurie Niestrath)
  20. Voicethread- http://voicethread.com (Ary Aranguiz) **
  21. Photostory- http://microsoft-photo-story.en.softonic.com/ (Laurie Niestrath)
  22. Thinglink – http://www.thinglink.com/ (Kay Oddone) **
  23. Animoto – http://animoto.com
  24. Piktochart – http://piktochart.com
  25. Wix – http://www.wix.com (Jono Purdy)
  26. Popplet – http://www.popplet.com (Jono Purdy)
  27. Animaps – http://www.animaps.com (Jono Purdy)
  28. Museum Box – http://museumbox.e2bn.org (Jono Purdy)
  29. Sqworl – http://www.sqworl.com (Jono Purdy)
  30. Popcorn Maker – http://popcorn.webmaker.org (Jono Purdy)
  31. Ipiccy – http://ipiccy.com/ (Anne Robertson)
  32. Sketchguru – free android app (Anne Robertson)
  33. Picmonkey – http://www.picmonkey.com/ (Marina Shemesh)
  34. Wordle – http://www.wordle.net/ (create word clouds) (Marina Shemesh) **
  35. Adobe Captivate – http://www.adobe.com/products/captivate.html (authoring tool) (Madhura Pradhan)
  36. Articulate Suite – http://www.articulate.com/ (authoring tool) (Madhura Pradhan)
  37. Storybird – http://www.storybird.com (Cristina Silva)
  38. ImageChef – http://www.imagechef.com/ (Cristina Silva)
  39. Dipity – http://www.dipity.com/ (Cristina Silva)
  40. Livebinders http://www.livebinders.com/ (Eileen Lawlor)
  41. Videoscribe: http://www.sparkol.com/videoscribe.php (Angela Towndrow)
  42. PearlTrees: http://www.pearltrees.com (Cathleen Nardi http://bit.ly/14iwRkM)
  43. SlideRocket- http://www.sliderocket.com/ (Annie Oosterwyk)
  44. Meograph- http://www.meograph.com / (Annie Oosterwyk)
  45. Wallwisher: http://www.wallwisher.com (Ora Baumgarten)
  46. Trello.com: https://trello.com/ Organize anything, together ! ( gianni buspo)
  47. Mahara https://mahara.org/ (Linda Pospisilova)
  48. Jing http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html (Kay Oddone) – Screen capture and screen casting tool – great for creating tutorials! **

Update on February 13, 2013

I just came across a great resource called: Creating Copyright-Safe Media

photo credit: karramarro via photopin cc

The #EDCMOOC Conveyer Belt and Other Massive Metaphors

I participated in the #edcmooc week 2 Twitter chat yesterday. It felt like watching a conveyer belt that never stopped moving, a metaphor shared by @stevemac121 in response to the following question:

Q4: How would you characterize your experience in the MOOC thus far: is it a class, a network, or would you describe it otherwise?

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 3.48.39 AM Other metaphors included journey, adventure, matrix, pandora’s box, incidental learner’s paradise, learning network, classy network, shopping cart, rapid flow, community, maze, digital workshop, open space conference, fountain of info/resources, lemmings jumping off cliff into pool and a green light.

My responses to this question included:

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 3.49.06 AM

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 3.48.51 AM

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 3.48.13 AM

After the chat I caught up on some Week 2 reading including the Rebecca Johnston (2009) article that explores internet metaphors. This inspired me to create a couple of digital artifacts representing some of the metaphors for students’ experiences of the MOOC

#EDCMOOC Metaphors

Haiku Deck: E-learning & Digital Cultures MOOC

Storify: Metaphors: E-learning & Digital Cultures MOOC

What has your experience been like in this or other MOOCs?

What metaphor would you use?

 

Other Artifacts from Twitter Chat

TAGSExplorer (Social Network Analysis meets Twitter Archive)

Full log of #edcmchat via @danishbuddha

Reference

Johnston, R (2009) Salvation or destruction: metaphors of the internet. First Monday, 14(4). http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2370/2158

Photo Credits

Conveyer Belt

Metaphor

MOOC Gifts – #EDCMOOC Week 2

Sometimes I open a book to a random page to see what little gift I might receive. This is how E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC has felt this week. When I can steal away from my e-mail queue and long task list and check the #EDCMOOC Twitter stream or Google+ community, I never know what will catch my eye. Each time I have opened the streams this week, I have learned something new that has helped me think about my own work in new ways. These are some of the gifts I have opened this week:

1. NEW TERM: I came back to the Digital Viking term coined by Amy Burvall when Linda Saukko-Rauta shared a Digital Viking infographic. The students in the MSLOC Creating and Sharing Knowledge class this quarter are working on enhancing their own personal learning networks and are being challenged to push themselves out of their comfort zone. I can’t wait to share Amy’s five Digital Viking behaviors with them, especially Hoist the Sail- Embrace the Fail! See #msloc430 tweets to follow that class.

2. NEW TECHNIQUE: I participated in a collective brainstorm developed by Felicia Sullivan that asked Who are the MOOCers? . This has given me some new ideas for ways to use Google Apps for synchronous or asynchronous brainstorming. We have been using Google Docs for awhile now in various ways (create affinity diagrams synchronously using Google draw, virtual class whiteboard for hybrid class sessions, online brainstorming/reflection with multiple students typing in the same Google Doc, etc.). When people are brainstorming in the same document and seeing each other type, they start responding to each other and building off ideas in real-time. Using a Google Form in the way Felicia tried offers a new way to quickly gather people’s thoughts without being influenced by what others are typing. It’s always good to have options depending on the goal of the activity.

3. NEW TOOL: I participated in a Voice Thread created by Felicia Sullivan that helps students who learn asynchrously talk to each other, allowing for greater connection and embodiment. This has given me some ideas for news ways to set up discussions and online engagement that are flexible enough to work across multiple time zones, a discussion I just had with colleagues last week.

4. NEW CORNER OF EDCMOOC-LAND: I found a category in the Google+ Community called Digital Artefacts that has helped me populate my Digital Artifact note in Evernote with a collection of promising tools to explore. I’m waiting to get my invitation to newhive.com, one of the tools I found.

Click here to read more about these gifts in the ThingLink I created.

It is Friday of week 2 and I started reviewing the resources for this week tonight for the first time. I don’t feel behind though; I’ll catch up over the weekend. But even if I don’t, I have benefited greatly from being part of the online community. I am connecting with new people, sharing resources with my colleagues in the @NU_MSLOC program and learning to turn off the task-oriented part of myself that often prevents me from pulling up out of the weeds. In short, I have new enthusiasm for the work that I do. So thank you for the gifts fellow MOOCers!

#EDCMOOC – Week 1 Scaffolding to Avoid Dropping Out

I’ve dropped out of a MOOC before, so when I started participating in a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) called E-learning and Digital Cultures last week I wanted to set myself up for success. To do this I reflected on the way that I learn and the reasons why I never participated in the MOOC about MOOCs in Fall of 2011 despite my initial enthusiasm. I didn’t really commit to it the first time around. I neglected to set aside dedicated time to the MOOC and didn’t set up a framework to manage the massive amount of content.

As a graduate student in the MS Learning and Organizational Change program, I took several courses that were mostly self-directed, such as my independent study and my capstone project. These courses had some instructional scaffolding built-in that kept me on track, such as advisor meetings and assignments that prepared me for the final papers. It also didn’t hurt that a grade would be entered into the system at the end of the quarter!

In order to set myself up for success in this completely self-directed course, I decided to spend most of the first week setting up my own scaffolding around the course content and online discussion. One of the first resources I found helped me get started: 25 Tips To Make the Most of a MOOC. I tend to go down rabbit holes if just dive into the content so I intentionally did not look at the Week 1 materials until I had done the following:

Luckily, I am comfortable with most of these tools so did not get bogged down in trying to learn about them. I wonder what this would be like for someone who is not a regular user of social media tools?

I also have created the following learning goals for myself:

  • Try some new tools for creating digital artifacts so that I am able to complete the final project which involves creating a publicly available digital artifact which expresses something important about one or more of the themes covered in the course. Drawing / creating visuals is not my strong suit, so this will push me.
  • Write a few blog posts — I’ll admit that this is a bit scary for me but I’ve written two posts already and nothing bad has happened so far.
  • Read and view at least some of the course content during the week it is assigned.
  • Enhance my own personal learning network to support my role as Assistant Director of Academic Services in the MSLOC program at Northwestern University.

So far, I have met my goals for Week 1!

Watching the recording of the Google+ hangout with the course facilitators hooked me. I kept thinking that a trip to Edinburgh might be in order in the future as I observed this group of colleagues facilitate an authentic discussion that shows that they are also learning through this process! I agree with my colleague, Jeff Merrell, that they conducted a great session (See ‘Where are’ vs. ‘who are’ the professors. Thoughts on Google Hangouts and #edcmooc).

My personal learning network has grown already. I’ve started following various edcmooc’ers on Twitter and Google+ as well as some of the blogs.

As I was thinking about creating a digital image for this week, Juliette Swett, a student in the MSLOC program, tweeted about a new tool for creating images and connecting content. Screen Shot 2013-02-04 at 2.01.58 PMI played with ThingLink over the weekend and created a very quick and dirty overview of my first week in this MOOC. It represents my attempt to create scaffolding around the massive amount of content and conversation that is being generated. So far I feel like I’ve just been peeking through a fence watching #edcmooc with an occasional shout out on Twitter. I would like to engage more thoughtfully (and publicly) with the actual content in Week 2. You can see the image below that I created to represent my Week 1 experience. It is best to go to the artifact itself so you can interact with the image.

For an interactive version of this artifact, click here.

ThingLink – First Attempt

Scaffold Photo Credit: j neuberger via Compfight cc