Wednesday, February 20, 2013

195 Posts about MOOCs

Jay Cross at the Internet Time Blog has compiled 195 posts about MOOCs. Plenty by George Siemens, who is currently teaching CN-1370-LAK2013 Learning Analytics and Knowledge 2013  (which is pretty great so far), a few by Stephen Downes, but most seem to be a bit older. With MOOCs changing, seemingly, everyday, current articles are necessary.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Building Connections - A Life Lesson Reminder

Two events today reminded me about the necessity of meeting new people, and building connections. I've been focused over the last few months on courseware development, a LMS upgrade, Google Apps for Education integration, numerous MOOCs I've been taking, and the odds and ends of helping to run online courses. Growing my network has not been a very high priority.

The first reminder was finishing Sonia Sotomayor's memoirs My Beloved World. In it she details a rough upbringing, and charts her trajectory through Princeton, Yale Law, being an ADA, private practice, volunteer work, and ends with her entering a federal judgeship. She is very frank about growing up in the Bronx, and discusses difficult and emotional issues she lived through. She is equally frank about how her network of people helped her to get where she is today. After entering Princeton it seems that opportunities opened up to her because she naturally enjoyed meeting people. She discusses how when meeting someone, she tries to learn something from them. While this is an admirable quality in and of itself, it has the added benefit of growing her network, and using it strategically when the time calls for it.

The second reminder was a presentation by Patrice Torcivia from Empire state College. A faculty member at my home institution is working with her on a grant project, studying online 'study abroad' methods. As the Instructional Designer for the courseware she will be using for the course, I was curious about some of the tools and workflow of the project. An offhanded comment between Patrice and the faculty member caught me off guard, it was something like "We met a year ago, and now we're part of this project." It reminded me that my work doesn't have to be the constant barrage of spreadsheets, schedules, trainings  development, and teaching. There is a social dynamic to this work that I'm neglecting, and should be a part of.

My mom always said that some life lessons need to be relearned on occasion. This is just one of those occasions.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

MOOC Update: Slate wadding into the morass.

Will Oreums' article Online Class on How To Teach Online Classes Goes Laughably Awry on Slate is a bit too snarky for its own good. It does sum up the recent press about the course fairly well, but he does get a few things wrong;

In other words, Morrison concludes, "The honeymoon with MOOCs is over." A Twitter hashtag for the course, #foemooc, stands as a testament to the wreckage.
Most of the tweets on #foemooc are a testament to the amount or reporting about the issue, not the MOOC itself. Right after the course was canceled, there were around 30-40 tweets from students about the course. As of the writing of this, most tweets are either news organizations riding the story or Instructional Designers proclaiming the necessity of 'intelligent' (in their view) design for courses of all sizes.

The failure of a Coursera course about Coursera courses is clearly an embarrassment for company and concept alike. 
The course wasn't about Coursera courses specifically, but about online education. Sure, MOOCs fall within this, but they were not the focus of this course. This turn of phrase may be witty, but is inaccurate.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2/2 MOOC Update: FOEPA Canceled

So this is an interesting development, just received this email;

Dear Robert Weston,

We want all students to have the highest quality learning experience. For this reason, we are temporarily suspending the "Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application" course in order to make improvements. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. We will inform you when the course will be reoffered.

This being the first week, there were a few issues that seemed solvable. Group assignments disappearing in a shared Google Spreadsheet, discussion forums not allowing you to refine your search by sub topics, and student complaints about 'chaos' were surmountable.

The one area that remained consistent, but questionable, was the content. The 'brain based learning' paper I mentioned in my last post was suspect.