Sunday 3 February 2013

Using Facebook as a Filter and Funnel for MOOC interactions #edcmooc #MoocsAndMe

When I started to take part in the #edcmooc I made the usual social media / networking connections between the course and my accounts i.e. twitter hash tag, Google+ community, blog.  There is also a Facebook student group which I joined and then immediately had second thoughts about.  I disabled the email notifications for each time a post is made to the group but then I thought I’d leave it for a day or two and come back to it.  As I mentioned in a previous post I'm taking part in the E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC #edcmooc in a purposeful way as I want to engage with the activities and the assessment.  This is a slightly different approach to my participation in the #oldsmooc where I realised early on I wasn't going to be able to do everything but still want to participate regularly.  Different again to the #etmooc which I have dipped into when passing but without any commitment or defined purpose.
I have completed some activities for the first week of the #edcmooc which has involved reviewing videos and articles and I have started to develop some ideas of what I am going to include in my digital artefact.  But I haven’t as yet interacted with many other people who are on the course.  This was deliberate to start with in order to avoid being overwhelmed but now I want to look at what everyone or at least some people are doing.  I have been following the twitter hashtag #edcmooc and have read some blog posts from participants which have been very interesting and commented or retweeted some. 
However I then thought back to the Facebook group and wondered whether this was a way of looking at the middle ground – not right in the middle of the course looking at everything and yet not in the wide open MOOC twittersphere.  I don’t necessarily want to post to the Facebook group but it might be a way of seeing the video resources that people are sharing and also to quickly scan through and like some posts.  Also I wondered if, as it is a #edcmooc student Facebook page, whether it would give interesting insights into how participants were feeling about engaging with the MOOC.
It’s not possible to look at all the posts or activity but I picked one day i.e. 30th January which was the Wednesday of the first week as I thought that  people would be starting to engage and getting used to the course but still fairly open to the new experience.  People would have had time to look at the activities so there would be some focus not just all ‘hello and welcome’ etc.
I looked at 97 posts which were posted during the 24 hours of 30th January (there are 4676 members of the group).  As the participants are from countries across the world there are posts at all times throughout the 24 hours.  I didn't count the number of comments on each post – some posts had no comments, some had numerous, I would say that the average was 2 or 3.  Some posts had lots of likes and comments and these were ones where help or clarification was being offered.  There was one post which provided a link to a EDCMOOC Google doc presentation which had 183 likes and 47 comments.  There wasn’t many requests for help, only 4, but help that was given especially links to study rooms, how to manage material, passwords etc. were popular.  As were links to twitter chat resources and general MOOC guidelines. 
There were still a fair number of ‘hello I'm from ......’ posts including Argentina, Belgrade, Manchester, Malawi, Kenya, Canada, Columbia, Brazil, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Hungary, France etc.
There were 16 links to individual blogs i.e. blogs by participants about their experiences of the blog so far and what they have done or thought about.
There were 7 links to documents and articles.
There were 33 links to videos – examples of the topics for discussion in week or similar.
In general the group is very helpful and positive and upbeat and participants are willing and keen to help and comment.
But does it help as far as filtering and funnelling?
It does filter in that all the information in the group is about the edcmooc or related activities. But even in one day on one platform / forum there is too much information to look at for the time and effort that most people would want to dedicate to the course.  So then some more ‘funnelling’ – would it be possible to pick out 5 videos a day, 5 comments a day and 5 blog links a day to look at and review.  That’s the only way I can think of to make good use of the resources.  Plus 5 random likes for things you like.......

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