Saturday, 5 January 2013

MOOCs and Me

As most people know MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) were the 'exciting new thing' in 2012 as far as education / technology enhanced learning are concerned .
The big question is 'will they still be the exciting thing during 2013'?
There is at least one new blog post or opinion published every day (every hour?) about how effective they are going to be, about the pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, pedagogical factors etc. etc.

The only sure things are that firstly MOOCs are here and here to stay in one form or another, and secondly no-one knows if they are going to be successful or not.
I've done quite a few online courses both as a student/learner/participant and also as a tutor/facilitator.  Most of them have been through a VLE with a relatively small number of participants (less than 100).

So I've signed up for two MOOCs.
"Open Learning Design Studio MOOC"Learning Design for a 21st Century Curriculum" ( which is a free and open nine week course led by the Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology, in partnership with Goldsmiths (University of London), University of Greenwich, Heriot-Watt University, University of Leicester, University of London (Centre for Distance Education and London Knowledge Lab at the Institute of Education) and the University of Oxford"

2. The University of Edinburgh Coursera 'E-learning and Digital Cultures' MOOC
"E-learning and Digital Cultures is aimed at teachers, learning technologists, and people with a general interest in education who want to deepen their understanding of what it means to teach and learn in the digital age. The course is about how digital cultures intersect with learning cultures online, and how our ideas about online education are shaped through “narratives”, or big stories, about the relationship between people and technology". 

I'm looking forward to participating and seeing what the courses are like, what they include, what activities they entail, how engaging they are and how successful they are.
Will all of the many thousands of participants complete the course?  Have people signed up just see what it's like?  There is definitely an element of 'jumping on the bandwagon' and not wanting to miss out - every eLearning / TEL person in the world seems to have enrolled on a MOOC.  Is this the target audience?
Personally, I hope I have the time and inclination to dedicate to the courses - I always enthusiastically sign up for things and then find that I haven't enough time to do them as well as I would wish (but better to do a bit, than not at all).
I hope I don't feel lost among the thousands of people and the vast scale of the activities and environment. I hope that it is not too impersonal or perhaps my expectations are unrealistic for a MOOC and more in tune with a more traditional online learning environment.
Who knows?

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