ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios

Am I smart enough to participate in a MOOC?

Posted on: February 22, 2012

… is the title of my abstract  for the 11th Annual IAS-STS Conference “Critical Issues in Science and Technology Studies” where I want to report about my MOOC experiences in the Special Session: Mobile learning and working – how ‚smart technologies‘ change our lives.

Writing the  article I realised that as much as I need to live through the MOOC with all its activities and stimuli I need time to reflect my learning experiences as well, and to connect my experiences with theories of learning and knowledge management.

Maybe this time for reflection is the most valuable part of the MOOC for me? Or I’m really not smart  enough 😉

7 Responses to "Am I smart enough to participate in a MOOC?"

Jupidu, your time for reflection and connecting to experiences was a subject of Geetha Narayanan session today.
maybe selecting nice pictures with your abstract is a way of reflectons for you?
About you not being smart, we are connected so we (the MOOC-people) are very smart

Smart technologies? No such thing 😉
I think reflecting on the MOOC is a good idea – I generally try to do this a week or two after a MOOC ends 🙂

I agree with you that time for reflection is the most critical part of a mooc. Some days I feel like I spend too much time taking in information and not enough time connecting it by spending time in reflection and critical thought.

Hi, I appreciate your question, “Or maybe I’m really not smart enough?” and Jaap’s supportive response, “we are connected so we (the MOOC-people) are very smart.” I have been an invisible member of the Change MOOC, reading and lurking (even though Jenny’s inclusion of Siemens’ quote in her paper paraphrased in my mind as “lurking is never appropriate” put me on notice!) since the beginning.

I have been facilitating informal adult and young adult learning groups online for several years now. But just a few minutes ago, something jelled for me. I concluded that a MOOC participant must have considerable tacit knowledge and tech skills and personal time management tools in order to participate fully in a MOOC. Profound, right? 😉 Which made me think about the entry level required in other personal learning networks online? Can ‘ordinary’ people ever catch up? Especially those who fear technology or have technological barriers to overcome before they can begin to experience the heady (no pun intended) thrill of connectivist learning? Since the facilitator doesn’t seem to intervene in a MOOC to help participants succeed, what is the mortality or drop-out rate? How many MOOCs does an ordinary person need to subscribe to as “slow learners” to feel comfortable and to succeed? Is there a best or better way to scaffold this route to learning other than singularly-driven experience?

Then I happened to see Beth Kanter’s blog today ( about content creation impaired people and the “Content Marketing Maturity Model” graphic. It captured my beginning point beautifully both for blogging and attempting to become a MOOC contributor. I am stretching now; I hope to walk soon. And I agree with Jaap, “we are very smart.”


To say that many of us spend time in MOOCs without specific purpose probably reveals only my current interest in reading about Buddhism rather than anything true about other participants here. But were I to go somewhere to absorb an atmosphere of interest/passion, trust/respect, autonomy/membership I could not do better than to hang around a MOOC.

Today I think of MOOCs as an active street corner. Not my destination and too much happening to take it all in, but worth going a bit out of my way to pass by. Tomorrow I might find interest in something I’d never heard of. Some days it’s hard to be here with a mind practiced in filtering crap. Day when there’s nothing to disbelieve in or dispute–just listen in wonder.

Geetha Narayanan this week emphasised that stillness is vital to learning. With stillness can come the chance for reflection. To me reflection is the key to learning in a MOOC. I need time to help me to begin to see the patterns and connections- so I make sure to embrace that time. Thanks for that great Beth Kanter link as this is one aspect of Moocs that I have found really challenging. For me I try to make sure I post comments, where-ever I stop….. I’m also doing another MOOC- yep I got seduced in digital story telling….. I’m amazed I have had 90 people look at the creation and no one has left a ‘mark’.. Maybe I’ll look at some other ways for people to leave their mark?

I’m glad that I saved this post and came back to read it almost a week later. That’s part of how I pump the brakes on the information flow and make time to reflect when I’m ready. I like Scott’s imagery of an active street corner. Sometimes the red cars catch my eye, other times the blue. Sometimes I stop and grab a coffee and, other times, I run past and know that I will come back later. Cheers!

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