Lesley's learning journey, 14th January 2013 (3)
Another obstacle - get out the machete!
Cloud created by:
14 January 2013
The longer I spend in the MOOC, the more divided my opinions become. On the positive side, I like the diversity of participants, the eclecticism that brings to the experience. Like all social experiences, it's kind of addictive. I find myself regularly checking to see if anyone's visited or commented on my 'clouds'
(I *so* want to make a response at some point that contains the words, 'you', 'offa' 'cloud','hey', ,'my', 'get' - reorganise to make a well-known phrase or saying. Watch this space to find out if I succeed,,,)
On the other hand, though, I look in dismay at the competition that's promoted - what's your reputation, eh?) and at the lack of inclusivity promoted by synchronous events timed in the middle of the working day.. In any massive environment, someone will attend because the time zone will make it appropriate to do so or, in this case, because this is something of a test, out of interest to see how it's run. The danger is that these attendances will lead the designers to believe that such events are easy to attend. They aren't. Synchronicity in distance learning can be extremely divisive at many different levels. I say this as someone who played a fairly large role in the introduction of synchronous comms for language learning at the OU. Being on the receiving end, I understand much better the concerns raised by students who couldn't join. Synchronous events need to be planned and scheduled well in advance, part time, distance learners can't just fit something into their lives without due notice. Furthermore, their circumstances may not allow it; imagine a family with one computer. How could the student reasonably demand a) access to that device with only a few hours' warning and, on b) on top of that, that everyone should keep quiet while the synchronous event occurs. It may be possible if you have your own space at work and a job that permits you to study during work time, but that simply isn't realistic for most people.
'But', you say, 'the session can be recorded so people can view it later'. Well,it can, but the experience isn't the same, or, in my view, even comparable so is divisive from that point of view. Then the ethics of recording participants is a minefield. You don't want to be recorded or videoed? Well, you can't contribute... And so it goes.
I do wonder increasingly whether all this 'openness' takes into account diversity of needs,of emotions, of learning preferences and of individuality.
The joy of the MOOC is that it gives me the opportunity to reflect on both benefits and drawbacks and to consider how or if the challenges might be addressed.