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Sheila MacNeill
31 January 2013

Week 4 - Connect

Well after a good start with the webinar from Diana introducing the planner tool, my week hasn't really progressed. It's Tuesday afternoon and I'm going to try and spend some time with the tool and also look at the work my fellow #oldsmooc-ers have contributed already. As expected the tasks for this week are very explicit and well documented which is on the one hand great, but also slightly intimidating if you have fallen behind. However there is a lovely synergy this week about exploring the specifics of course design and planning as the Georgia Tech Coursera course on online learning had to fold - primarily it woud seem because of poor course design which I've blogged about.

So a bit of last day activity I joined the convergence session today (Wednesday 6 Feb) which provided a useful overview to the week's activities. Starting with a nice overview and  analogy of PPC to a scientific journal - a place for community knowledge building and sharing, about making ideas explicit. It was also mentioned that patterns tool could be seen as akin to a  literature review ie a  good place to start to review and discover teaching patterns and practice.

The PPC team have found working with teachers that they do pick up the tool and concepts relatively quickly, so in one sense it is easy to use. However there was recognition that it isn't a "just in time" tool - and the fact that the output can't be automagically exported into a VLE is still a downfall that they are working on, and have an on-going relationship with LAMS. I wondered if maybe as well as working with teachers, team should work with VLE/learning technology teams too ,that might help to develop some integrations into VLEs.

Again I was impressed by openness of the team in terms of sharing their original design rationale, and now reflecting on the experience of running it.  Lots of issues about transient nature of MOOC participation came through the tweet chat. Dipping in and out key motivator for participating but it is hard to design for.  What are levels of expectations for course design teams? What can they just let go? Also from a more personal point of view, I think organising online team work can be quite challenging. I have my oldsmooc buddy and we did have a google hangout/chat on Sunday but neither of us really felt we were at the stage of being able to work with the planner in a meaningful way yet and we were both a bit unsure about how we would do it. However I have been impressed by fellow #oldsmooc-ers who have persevered and done just that. I have been wondering if this week and last should have maybe been a bit longer in order to do all the tasks, but I'm  not sure.  Hindsight is a great thing.  I have been time poor this week, and aslo because I am somewhat familiar with the planner tool, maybe subconciously I've felt that I can do more dipping out that dipping in this week.  It was good to get re-assurance that it would be easy to dip into next week even if you haven't done other weeks of the course too.  I've also been participating in the Edinburgh #edcmooc, and there is a huge cross-over in terms of concerns about technology, scale,participation, motivation and reward/recognition.


So although I haven't followed the course activites this week it again has been really useful in my growing contextualisation of designing for and participating in MOOCs.



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Art Oglesby
4:35pm 6 February 2013


Thank you for this. Instead of waking at 6am to watch converge_w4 live, I slept in. 

I felt it was the best yet, though, mainly because I was feeling rather lost, and was reassured that I could start week 5 without completing my previous assignments.

I am thinking ths morning about a sense of community. Like my experience with Alcoholics Annonomous, I resist getting off the bus because I do not want to disappoint or loose the support of my team mates. I am envious of Jane and Helen, who offer each other support in getting stuff done. I think having  partners can make a big difference. Just saying "pair up" did not work for me, though. I think learning designers need to design in community building. I think that is what I want to work on first because it can make or break successful participation.

Sheila MacNeill
4:47pm 6 February 2013

Thanks for commenting Art - yes totally agree re the pairing up and having common sense of purpose. I think when there is such a diverse group of people it can take time to find the right partner. On the plus side I do still feel that I am leaning a lot and like you relived about next week. Sheila

Peter Miller
9:48am 8 February 2013

In contrast to Art, I had low expectations of my ability to sustain activity as part of a team so didn't actively pursue that aspect. Being engaged in more than one mooc alongside a day job is recipe for partial attention in anyone with less than superhuman time management skills.

Sheila MacNeill
3:03pm 8 February 2013

Hi Peter -know exactly what you mean:-)

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