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Lesley's learning journey, 23rd January 2013

Dib dib dib - or level up?

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Lesley Shield
23 January 2013

Another day of disruption. Even paring down the activities as far as possible, I'm finding it hard to keep up. Life just gets in the way of intensive study, debate and so on. Sometimes, life intervenes by requiring an unexpected visit to, say, the dentist (I'm still waiting for compensation from the retailer who sold me the sausage that broke my tooth!) or, as today, it may be that a piece of news disrupts progress; somehow, finding that there is definitely no work available to replace a contract completed last year concentrates the mind wonderfully. Being able to pay the bills has to take precedence over study and the climate is not really conducive to finding work in elearning that can be done solely online. Clients and employers seem to find it difficult to understand that it's possible to hold meetings, seminars etc. online. Maybe they need the MOOC experience? 

Between panicking about the future, I browsed the OLDS-MOOC list, something I don't do much because I find it too chaotic and impossible to track down easily anything I want to follow up; indeed, I seem to have landed on the cloud and stayed here. Laziness on my part? Or grounding myself (on a cloud??)?  Looking through the list, I spotted a query about MOOC literacy and badges. That's had me pondering today. What do you need to know? Going back to what I've just said about settling on the cloud, it seems to me that navigation is an essential skill - orienteering or pathfinding in a MOOC is paramount.

Other skills that I've seen flagged up on my perambulations include things such as:

  • willingness to seek out other, like-minded MOOCizens. As someone said, and I liked the metaphor a lot, it's a bit like arriving in a strange city; exciting alone but much more fun - and less alarming - with chums.  This one, I think, relates to what I reflected yesterday about promiscuity. You have to be willing to communicate with others - perhaps MOOCunication?
  • And then there's personal and professional risk taking. It seems to me that MOOC requires you to take risks by putting your ideas up for critique in a public and potentially vast forum. And then, depending on the tool you choose, you could be risking your reputation if nobody chooses to follow you and your self-esteem if nobody asks you to play. And badges themselves are risky, both personally and professionally; what if you apply for one and get turned down? How shaming... What if you choose a badge from an institution that isn't recognised or whose repuration itself is poor? There are so many possible pitfalls on the way to Badge heaven.
  • Nobody's mentioned these two, but I think they they speak for themselves and underlie everything that's going on: patience and perseverence
  • And, finally, a good sense of humour (ok, it doesn't begin with 'p', but I can't cope with finiding a synonym while panicking about being penniless!)

And I still haven't reflected on 'badges' themselves. I've included a link to start off with. I felt it reaised some important points....

Soon, I might have something to reflect on in relation to context, even if it is the context of sitting all day in a shopping centre to keep warm and save on my own heating bills!

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