Week 8 - the journey so far (Sheila MacNeill)

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Sheila MacNeill
28 February 2013

Well it has been quite a journey.  I started the course with great intentions. This would be just the focus and stimulus I needed to build a "real" learning design.  I've been involved on the learning design community for a while, but as I'm not an actual teacher or designer I don't get much opportunity to build real designs.  

Week one started well, I had my idea of using a PgCert module on curriculum design which I "guest presented" at last year, and extending it with some examples of learning design tools. There seemed to be a few people interested and a some similar ideas. A team was formed, google hangouts were hung out. Along the way I got distracted and started to think about my learning context and in particular Cloudworks. From previous work I knew that alternative views of cloudscapes was possible e.g. viewing it as a mind map (see the link above for my oldsmooc cloudscape mindmap).  But what else was possible. Tony Hirst rose to the challenge and some really fascinating experiments around network visualisations started to appear.  I kept returning to these and they provided the foundation for my experiments in the prototyping week.  

I decided that I needed to try and at least create one cloud per week so I could use that as a basis for sharing my learning journey, connections and content which I've managed to do.

I experienced feelings of almost inherent guilt for not always sticking to the planned activities for each week.  My confessional clouds I called them. Then earlier this week, near the end of week 7,  whilst catching up on the evaluation convergence session something clicked. Briar asked the team what there measures of success for the course were. Amongst the replies Yishay said something along the lines of: we need to redefine what success means in MOOCs as opposed to traditional measures of success. This is a project based course, there is no certificate so if you get one thing that you can put into practice then that is success.

Guilt lifted almost immediately.  I have been gaining a huge amount from the course both about learning design, and different approaches to it. No, I've not done all the tasks, but that doesn't matter, I'm not being assessed on that and as the course content is open I can always revisit bits as and when I need.

I've also started to clarify some nascent thoughts about using SNA/learning analtyics approaches from a learner centric point of view. But also, and I think more importantly for me, I've learnt so much about being a learner in a MOOC. Context and confidence are key. There's a bit more about this in my week 7 cloud and it's something I will be returning too and reflecting on more over the next 2 weeks.

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Gráinne Conole
11:15am 2 March 2013

Great post Sheila and totally agree it is all about context and confidence. MOOCs are inherently different to traditional courses, you don't need to do everything, the important thing is to reflect on what is useful for you! Great you have managed to keep being involved!

Sheila MacNeill
2:22pm 3 March 2013

Thanks Grainne. As ever being a student on a course gives another level of insight into so many areas. S

Tiffany Crosby
6:57pm 4 March 2013


Interesting observation. I haven't been able to participate in the convergence sessions due to scheduling conflicts, so I hadn't heard that comment. I have taken a lot away from this MOOC as well, so I guess that makes it a success in that sense. But this comment also gives me something to consider when we talk about MOOCs in a corporate environment. I don't know that the business world would buy off on non-completion being okay. Since evaluating how MOOCs should be positioned in the business environment was one of my objectives in completing this MOOC, your post has helped me frame a line of inquiry to explore. Thanks Sheila. 

Sheila MacNeill
7:35pm 4 March 2013

Hi Tiffany I think that we need to let go a little- particularly as most MOOCs aren't formally accredited so we can't force participation. Maybe encouraging reflection more would be useful for the corporate world rather too, Sheila

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