Take Three: The heuristic journey that is EDCMOOC
As time goes on the heuristic journey of participating in the MOOC is not getting any easier for the unsuspecting learner. Alas, this is a good thing.
I finally got the hang of participating in a MOOC. Facebook here, tweet there and new learning spaces open. And while I still struggle with the “So What” of the concepts offered for my actual current e-learning and teaching strategies, I go not without ideas, incentives, and a wondering mind. To this regard participating in the MOOC was successful. But then …
The time eating monsters attacked
As one of my classmates has put it: The chronophages got to me and ate the time for the challenges I had set myself for this course. Coming into the course two weeks late and the assignment of creating a digital artefact due during the two busiest weeks of this semester left me to fall back on the comfortable safe zone of producing a voiced over slide show. Well done, Nathalie! I was really upset with myself because even if I get the full marks for the assignment, in my world I have failed the course because I did not meet my challenges.
And yet, I believe the participation in EDCMOOC enabled me to find valour and pose a question in one of the professional networks I am following, instead of just consuming the discourse—now there is a concept. Discourse is always bidirectional because even the consumtion of information is an interaction with the text (which ever form of text). So expects the author of a journal article to induce thought processes (well yes and watch the ‘cited’ numbers in Google Scholar go up) but what are the expectations of someone posing information in an environment where actual response is desirable? Have you ever been kicked out of a LinkedIn Group for not contributing to any of the discussions? No matter how superfluous you might find them; or that you feel your contribution would only reiterate what already has been stated? Yeah, I did a double take when I got an email letting me know that my consumption of the discourse is not desired, unless I produce part of the virtual presence. Alas, it was not as such formulated. The email sounded more like an upset child in the playground not wanting to let me play ball anymore. So, I began to wonder, if in a destined interactive space communication is still upheld, if at the other end of the virtual connection no communication is translated back into the virtual realm?
I digress—which only proves that the engagement with the MOOC came along with a lot of new ideas and thought processes.
The valour I found was rewarded with suggestions for contacts (some I still have to follow up) and an interesting Skype conversation with new ideas for my online teaching.
We had to produce a virtual artefact (I provide you the link, but imagine me cringing. Really.) and then evaluate three artefacts of fellow course mates. Now that was an interesting exercise. I was one of the lucky participants whose three artefacts used three different forms of text: a clipboard one-page website with interactive boxes, one animated YouTube video, and one simple photo with pop up boxes at different points. So I was able to experience different levels of either ability or time or creativity (this is one of the problems with the evaluation: I am in no position to judge which is which) in engaging with the final course assignment.
It upset me to read in the adjoined Facebook group that some participants complained how boring the artefacts they were assigned for marking were and how people only used boring voice over power-points. Obviously I was upset because I felt like I had to defend myself that I got up at 5 a.m. and threw the PPTX together and rushed to work to voice over my homework before my actual work day began all that on the day the assignment was due. I was also upset because how can the complainer possibly know about the technological abilities of their examinee? How can they have the audacity to judge the work of a classmate as boring and uninventive when perhaps (?) the classmate has spend days preparing and thinking about it. Could such technological snobbery not be utterly discouraging for people who are less confident in using technology?*
Although this is probably not my last eruption of thoughts on the EDCMOOC or MOOCs more generally I began looking for the: What’s next? And believe it or not, particularly after my first ranting blog post, I will be trying out some more MOOCs and see if I can improve my participatory skills. EDCMOOC has definitely encouraged me to think and re-evaluate what I considered a confident use of technology. There are always more boundaries to cross and more things to explore.
Now that the course is finishing I can take my shackles off and read on research or other academic papers about MOOCs. Hurray!
*I am not speaking about the artefacts that were created months before the course and simply recycled as assignment or the apparently odd commercial websites and advertisement campaigns that snug into the course. Oh this raises a whole different issue! With originally 40.000 participants we are now down to 7.000—how can the course designers prevent or even control if someone sneaks in Junk assignments that turn out to be simply commercial interests? Or should the course designers even deal with this? Is not the whole point—at least of this particular course—to utilize your digital literacy and decide for yourself how to deal with it?