And your thoughts on the MOOC so far?

Here’s where you can post comments about the first week of the “E-Learning and Digital Cultures” MOOC so far. I’ve got LOTS of thoughts and I know that some of you have started blogging about your experiences, but for the time-being, I’m just sort of curious about a conversation about what’s happening in that MOOC class here. Impressions? Likes? Dislikes?

Oh, and do note that there’s a Twitter hashtag for this that might be useful:  Just search on Twitter for #edmooc.  It’s a conversation that is perhaps a little easier to follow than the discussions on the Coursera site.

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20 Responses to And your thoughts on the MOOC so far?

  1. Danielle says:

    I plan on posting a blog about my MOOC experience so far, so I won’t go into too much detail here…but what’s been overwhelming for me so far (and as others have mentioned) is the sheer amount of posts in the discussion forums. In a way, I guess it’s helping me learn how to skim and find posts that I want to comment on or take note of, but it doesn’t feel like a class at all. Not to me, at least.

    I do like that we have a lot of readings to sort of pick and choose from, depending on our specific interests. I also liked the incorporation of the videos as a way to get us started in thinking about our dependence on technologies. To me, though, without frequent input from the teachers of the course, it just feels like something is missing. Maybe I’m used to having more guidance?

  2. Danielle says:

    PS: I caution anybody else against making the mistake of subscribing to any of the MOOC discussion posts. I was under the false assumption that doing so would only subscribe to posts that replied directly to mine…..nope! You’ll get an e-mail any time anybody posts in the thread. My inbox was flooded overnight. 😛

  3. Steve K. says:

    Ah, but what of the student centered classroom, Danielle? Isn’t the ideal that the teacher is supposed to be as our of the picture and out of the way of student learning as possible?

  4. Danielle says:

    I don’t know whether or not I agree with that. All I have to go off of (as a student with no teaching experience) are my own classroom experiences. I’ve always found that the best classroom discussions I’ve been involved in were ones guided by questions and interjections from my teachers. I’ve also found that some of the most annoying (and least productive) classroom discussions I’ve been a part were ones where the teacher basically sat as an observer and did not mediate the discussion at all; other students began speaking way off topic and the entire discussion derailed pretty quickly.

  5. Melissa S says:

    I agree with you Danielle. I think class discussions run a lot smoother with a good mediator for a teacher. I had one teacher in undergrad that was particularly gifted in guiding discussions and a large part of her success, I thought, was she was able to take comments from a person who had obviously not read the book or was just focusing on one thing we’d talked about and always bring it back on topic. I think discussions have a way of taking tangents (sometimes great, sometimes not) and it’s critical to have a teacher turn it back around to something productive.

  6. Melissa S says:

    One of the tweets that just scrolled through the MOOC was in Spanish! Not sure why I didn’t realize that people from other countries would be involved. My mind was a little blown.

  7. Steve K. says:

    All over the world. And the folks teaching this are at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, too!

  8. Melissa S says:

    A comment on the discussion forums – I just tried to join one about Inbox because I really liked the video but it was so in-depth already that I just felt like I’d be adding to the noise. I would almost prefer that we had discussion sections so they could break it up into chunks so people would feel heard and wouldn’t have hundreds of comments to read and respond to just to join the conversation.

  9. Jackie K. says:

    I agree with Danielle and Melissa, too. I don’t feel that a student-centered classroom should be a student-only classroom. My experience is the same: that when teachers “guide from the side,” to use Gilman’s words, they can make sure the conversation is based on student thought, insight, and analysis while keeping it on a productive track for learning. And I wouldn’t particularly want a teacher to be out of the way of my learning. When I take a class, I want to benefit from my teacher’s knowledge and experience, as well as from interaction with my peers. :)

  10. Jackie K. says:

    That was a thought I had, too. I don’t know how that would work logistically, though, especially if there’s a high dropout rate for MOOCs… Do you think maybe having sections of, say, a hundred would still be small enough to give students a more “hearable” voice, while keeping the groups large enough that students can continue to discuss even if some of them drop the course?

  11. Jackie K. says:

    I really appreciate the instructor commentary and questions that surround the videos and readings! There is a LOT of information available to sift through, so I think having those really gives me a better idea of what to keep an eye out for when I read/watch and where to look for connections between the different resources.

  12. chelsea says:

    i just shared the videos for this week with a friend of mine, because I really don’t like having 30,000 people to talk to. I don’t like big crowds anywhere, and am really overwhelmed by trying to have a conversation that huge, trying to sift through it, etc. Keeping up with the comments here is crowded enough!

    I did really enjoy the videos though, and I think short films are becoming a new favorite thing of mine. I also appreciate the dystopia/utopia framework they gave, and it’s something I find myself thinking about often.

    I think another example of film that addresses these same concepts is Wall*E!

  13. Sarah K. says:

    The videos are very interesting. I’m curious about what everyone here thinks of them. I enjoyed the “inbox” video because I thought it was a good analogy for how we can communicate online. The “Bendito Machine III” movie confused me at first, but the metaphor it used about technology’s effect on man’s way of life intrigued me.

  14. Melissa S says:

    I think there’d be more of a chance than all the thousands of us in one place.

  15. Melissa S says:

    I also liked the videos and commented on Inbox and Bendito Machine III on my blog:

  16. Steve K. says:

    I thought all the videos were interesting (Inbox was my favorite in part because I am techno-optimist) and the readings were so-so. But I also wondered with both at what “level” the folks running this class have in mind for the students. On the one hand, the videos are pretty basic stuff, the kind of thing I’d show in a gen ed version of a class about culture and technology. On the other hand, the readings were more advanced, the kind of thing I wouldn’t expect freshmen to wrestle with successfully. So it sort of seems like an intro and advanced class at the same time.

  17. Bryan Alfaro says:

    Agreed. While some in the class may be knowledgable, asking similar questions I had, direct the discussion in new and exciting ways—-most do not and some are just painful to tolerate or experience.

  18. Bryan Alfaro says:

    Thanks for the warning.

  19. Tim S says:

    I liked the videos we watched this week, and Wall*E reminded me of those films, too. I didn’t really get anything out of the discussion posts, it seems that with such long discussion threads, it is hard to contribute new ideas and items in a non-repetitive way. However, with 40,000 students in this class that should be expected. The fact that we do not have anything “due” week to week is different. I guess that really pushes the learning aspect of this course onto us, in that it is up to us to be prepared for the final assignment. In comparison with other courses, it is up to the students to be prepared for the final assignment or exam, so that is not too different.

  20. Bryan Alfaro says:

    I enjoyed the article by Marc Prensky, Digital Native, Digital Immigrant. There were some points I did not agree with, such as multi-tasking for instance. I’m not saying digital natives can’t do it; I’m just arguing that for active and engaged learning they should focus on the task at hand (in my humble opinion). Prensky makes the argument that just because digital immigrants “can’t do it, doesn’t mean the natives can’t as well.” Time and time again I’ve seen the results of split concentration in an academic setting and the digital native did not perform either task as well as they could have done, had the student performed the tasks individually one at a time.

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