Keeley Sokoti has been engaging in a number of conversations with myself and others in the MOOC about ways to support and extend learning within MOOCs and other online environments. A number of these folks have been engaged in an asynchronous VoiceThread discussion over the last couple of weeks. Keeley orchestrated the convening of a group of us in a Google+ Hangout earlier today and now these individuals are part of my learning ecosystem in an even stronger way. Most of them have blogs where they capture their thoughts. Check them out:
Keeley’s Blog: http://gatherwithpurpose.wordpress.com/
Rick’s Blog: http://drrbb2nd.blogspot.com/
Beth D.’s Blog: http://selfdirection.blogspot.com/
Fran’s Blog: https://elearningmoocedinburgh.wordpress.com/
Henry’s Blog – http://henryjburnett.wordpress.com
Virginia, I am sure, will in the not too distant future be publishing her thoughts on line as well.
A couple of years ago I was looking for a way to bring a sense of embodied-ness to an online class where students simply couldn’t be together synchronously. The traditional discussion board was good, but had limits. So in seeking tools that might help with this snag, I came across VoiceThread. Since then, I’ve used this tool quite a lot to allow for project presentations and peer feedback. Students have loved it.
So, I thought I would test out the possibility of having an asynchronous, voice discussion with individuals participating in the e-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC. Herre are the steps:
- Click on the image above and it will take you to the VoiceThread for this discussion.
- Hit play and listen to what has been contributed thus far to the discussion.
- If you want to add your own thoughts, press “comment” (you will have to sign in or register – sorry).
- Choose the “record” option and record your voiced contribution to the discussion.(try not to use “text” it defeats the embodied purpose and unfortunately I don’t have an account level that would accommodate video).
- Click “stop” and then “save.”
I am likely to provide some sort of synthesis of what folks share for those who don’t want to take the time to listen to the whole discussion (if one ends up happening). Mostly, I’m interested to see if folks have ideas on how else to created embodied presence asynchronously. I’m also interested to hear how others might use a tool like this as well.
UPDATE: The original VoiceThread for the eLearning and Digital Cultures now has over 50 voice comments and a small group has now progressed to scheduling a real-time Google Hangout. I am now drying to jumpstart a VoiceThread for the MIT Learning Creative Learning MOOC. That VoiceThread can be found here – http://bit.ly/YxC7ff.
Word cloud courtesy of Letty Mills Barnes
So the various metaphors to replace the digital native / digital immigrant concepts got me thinking, “How do I think of the folks in this MOOC?” Then I started to think, “How do others think about them?” I know what some folks think, but are there more metaphors and adjectives out there?
At the same time, I’ve been working out concepts of sense-making within the context of a MOOC. Then I thought about a tool Peter Taylor in the Critical and Creative Thinking Program at UMass Boston uses a lot in his classes related to brainstorming and sense-making. So I decided to experiment with it for the #EDCMOOC.
So here is the process:
- Figure out a question or bit of information you’d like collective brainstorm on.
- Create an input form using Google Docs – There are lots of online tutorials on how to do this especially this one from Google Help. – My Example
- The form feeds into a Google Spreadsheet like this (image courtesy of Dick Vestdijk):
- If you want others to see the results you can share the spreadsheet by clicking on the share button and making sure that the “Public” option is chosen. You can make the spreadsheet “viewable’ or “editable”. I wanted folks to see what others had entered so they could do what they wanted with it.
- You can also share the results via the editing function of the form. One of the “More Actions” on this form is to “Edit the confirmation” and you can check off “Publish response summary”
- Once these form is created, promote via outlets. I posted to the EDCMOOC Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ communities. I shortened the Google link to the form using Bit.ly.
So the tool is actually quit simple. I think the more challenging part is thinking about the process of bringing the collective ideas and thoughts of so many into some useable form. Letty created the world cloud above, perhaps with a tool like Wordle. I’m going to try to do a conceptual sort to see if certain types of MOOCers appear. UPDATE: My first and second level sort can be found at this Google doc.
There is also a second attempt at this activity seeing what folks sharing their impression on “What is a MOOC?”.
So these are my questions:
- What would you do with this information on who are the MOOCers?
- How would you use a system / process like this?
I’m in the process of taking my second online MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) with Coursera. I’ve been teaching online classes for UMass Boston over the last 6 years. These UMass courses have taken the traditional semester long courses and in many ways their structures and moved them into a online environment. These online courses have had the typical 10-25 students foll lowing along with material that would be somewhat similar to what is delivered in an face-to-face class.
The similarities of the MOOC with the UMass online offerings are the following:
- Instruction is by a university or institutionally validated inidivudal
- Classes have a defined start and end date
- Course materials are released in a sequential nature
- There are assignments and assessments
- Students may be very geographically dispersed
- Lectures via PowerPoint and instructor audio or video are present
Yet there are concrete differences between the two. In the MOOC,
- There are thousands of students.
- One on one Interactions with professor and teaching assistants are limited.
- The role of the study group and peer learning community becomes much more important for parsing out confusion
- The two courses I have taken were free
- Individual motivation and agency in learning becomes much more important
- External validation via a degree is not present, but I can get “certifications”
- Not sure how more subjective work such as essays would be assessed and validated — guess I should take a literature course
So here are the questions that come to mind:
- How can you leverage peer support and learning present in the MOOC in an online university course?
- What sort of validation would learning done completely in MOOC have in replacement of a traditional college degree?
- How can you enliven intrinsic motivation and independent inquiry present in a MOOC for a university course?
- What would happen is an online University course could accommodate 1000 student each pay $10 or $15 rather than 10 paying $1500 each?
- What content is not very appropriate for a MOOC?