My first MOOC: „Open Networked Learning“ – first impressions

Since nearly a month, I am participating in my first MOOC – “Open Networked Learning”. First of all: I’ve heard about the drop out statistics of MOOCs. Thousands of people start participating in a MOOC and after a few weeks they drop out and never finish. By knowing this I decided not to join one of the working groups but take part more as a “lurking student”.

Here are my first impressions:

  • Surprising: We are just 88 participants, but the group is quite international! Up till now I have been thinking that “massive” means thousands of participants!
  • Interesting and inspiring: The syllabus and the concept of the learning environment. We are working with google+, googledrive, wordpress, and twitter, one named aim of the course is to use an alternative to LMS. For a MOOC I find that very inspiring but I wouldn’t do the same with my students at the university (or another formal institutional course). Last Monday I discussed with my students whether they will use free web tools like dropbox or an LMS in the recent seminar. They decided to use the LMS (“something that is provided by the university”).
  • Fascinating: The aim of the first section of the course (first 2 weeks) is getting familiar with the course environment. A first webinar made the challenges of web based learning and teaching clear (participants were not visible/hearable). In a google hangout we started the well-known discussion concerning the method-media-match. Is a blog the most fitting tool for documenting a learning process over a time period of 10 weeks? In the ONL152 we use wordpress blogs and padlet to make all blog addresses visible. Would have been a wiki more suitable? It’s amazing to learn to know such a bunch of new tools, especially for presentations! For instance I haven’t heard about piktochart before! This kind of exchange and the smooth way of learning from each other is – in my opinion – one of the benefits of ONL!
  • Reflective: What do I learn for my own teaching activities from my participation in ONL152 as a student? I experience the materials, the information and the documentation of the course as a great benefit and support. I recognise how essential these documents are and how I profit by the fact that everything is recorded. I feel well oriented and well informed about the topics and goals of every week, I know which activities are planned and how I can participate. So for my own teaching I will take into account that this kind of documentation is crucial! Normally I provide my students with a syllabus, the learning goals, the requirements and some additional information. But it is seldom documented and presented as I experience it in ONL152. That’s something I will improve.

2 Gedanken zu “My first MOOC: „Open Networked Learning“ – first impressions

  1. Thanks for a thoughtful post. As one of the organisers we have not used the term MOOC for this course since we have no ambitions of making it massive. I think we shouldn’t get to focused on MOOC and talk instead about open learning without any limits on how many participants there are. I agree that many are more comfortable in an LMS but the problem is that outside the education system no-one uses an LMS so we thought it would be best to use tools that are widely used in companies and everyday life. The drawback is that a non-LMS course can be rather confusing at first but maybe confusion is an integral part of learning 🙂
    Look forward to your future thoughts on this.

  2. Thank you, Alastair, for your comment. I totally agree; virtual environments are confusing at first – like every material environment is, too. The crucial point is that confusion may be an integral part of learning. That’s something I point out in my PhD thesis concerning library architecture. But we have to care for those who may be so confused that they think about not using these environments. In all learning processes we have to support our learners to overcome the confusion and to experience this as a part of the learning success.

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