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:
- Set up this Gather with Purpose blog and wrote two blog posts
- Created a custom twitter stream in HootSuite for #edcmooc tweets
- Resurrected my Evernote account and created an EDCMOOC folder for my content curation and random thoughts
- Resurrected my Diigo social bookmarking account and joined the edcmooc Diigo group
- Joined the edcmooc Facebook and Google+ groups
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. I 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.