ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios

Discussion about MOOCs

Posted on: Januar 29, 2015

How can you speak about MOOCs without having learned in them from beginning to end? I am asking myself this question when I discuss MOOCs with colleagues who write a MOOC proposal or when I’m interviewed by people who are writing papers about MOOCs – people who haven’t a learning experience in a MOOC.

My learning experience in massive open online courses started 2011 with the Change11 MOOC –Change: Education, Learning and Technology, facilitated by Stephen Downes, George Siemens and Dave Cormier (using the web via gRSShopper) where I stayed engaged during the 35 weeks with different levels of activity. In 2013 I was an enthusiastic learner in the Creativity MOOCCrash Course on Creativity, guided by Tina Seelig, Stanford University (using the marvelous platform Novoed). In 2013 I persuaded a team at my university to try out our own MOOC experiment and in 2014 we promoted and carried out the cope14-MOOC Competences of Global Collaboration, facilitated by 7 experts and supported by two conveners (implemented on a WordPress platform). And in autumn of 2014 I learned in the SNA-MOOC – Social Network Analysis, offered by Lada Adamic, University of Michigan (implemented on Coursera). At the moment we are preparing the cope15-MOOC and I’m learning again in a MOOC, this time it’s the
Contar Historias para el Cambio MOOC – Storytelling, offered by Acumen (using Novoed).

Being an active learner in a MOOC is every time a different challenge.

  • In Change11, my first MOOC and a classical connectivist MOOC, I struggled with the abundance of materials, persons, blogs. I succeeded in building a network which is valid until today and I got many new ideas which influenced the development of my institute ZML in a significant way.
  • In the Creativity MOOC I was seduced and challenged by the platform Novoed to get in contact with many many other learners, to vote and comment, – and to spend more time in the MOOC then previously planned. We accomplished our group work in a team of 29 with a great team leader and a platform which supported cooperation in an ingenious way. Because of the integration of Social Media into the platform this MOOC was no common xMOOC. In the Creativity MOOC I changed my attitude towards creativity and I became more courageous to include creative artifacts into my trainings.
  • Our cope14 MOOC was a hybrid MOOC, with videos and assignments but focussing on exchange of learners and based on the connectivist principles autonomy, openness, diversity, connectedness / interaction. And the learners reported that they learned something unexpected which corresponded to our objective to enable emergent learning.
  • The Social Network Analysis MOOC was a classical xMOOC where I learned alone. Here the challenge was the content, which was rich and deep and difficult. During the 8 weeks I got a kind of understanding of SNA and at the moment I’m trying to analyze my online groups and communities using SNA. This xMOOC didn’t change my attitude or my professional future but it added a nice tool to my toolbox.
  • At the moment I’m a little bit shocked in the Contar Historias MOOC (I’m in week 1) where I wanted to practice my Spanish by reading and writing nice stories. And I was happy to deal with the platform Novoed again and to discover new features. But this time there is a clear and well described learning concept behind the MOOC integrating long and intensive synchronous meetings into the curriculum where I should speak about my stories. Uffa.

When I think about offering a MOOC I aim to challenge the learners, to surprise them, seduce them. I want to give them an abundance of questions, ideas and a lot of freedom what and how they want to learn and I want to encourage the to bring their context into the learning process.

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