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Julie OLDS MOOC reflection

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Julie Pisano
4 March 2013


Where are you coming from? What is the context in which you are working and participating in OLDS MOOC?

As outlined in my introduction, I am a Training & Development Officer with Professional Development Unit of Flinders University.  I facilitate and provide learning and professional development opportunities to professional/support staff of the university.


I work on a mix of face-to-face and developing and providing support for online programs.  My main focus has been to develop online programs as there are very few that currently exist.  There is a general push towards online programs within the university and having good quality, engaging programs being offered to employees was a way to role model and demonstrate what can be achieved in an online environment.


What did you hope to achieve? What were your goals in joining OLDS MOOC? 


These are my goals for the OLDS MOOC from my introduction:  

  • to participate in a MOOC learning experience,
  • to develop new approaches to engaging, participant-focused e-learning programs, and
  • to develop skills in new and emerging technologies.


My project for OLDS MOOC was to develop an online program for “Meeting and Committee Support” training.  This program was offered in short face-to-face sessions, however there is a need to provide this training on a needs basis and to offer it to regional and geographically spread participants.

 Also, I had been following online discussions about MOOCs and wanted to experience one for myself.  Having recently completed my degree in adult, workplace and vocational education, I saw this MOOC as building on my current skills and with a project in mind it seemed like a great fit.


What did you do? What were the main events, interactions, practices and activities in which you participated? What were the obstacles - and how did you tackle them?

 Throughout the program I have worked on all the MOOC activities in some way.  For some, (scenarios, ecology of resources, course features cards, prototypes, evaluation plan) I have done quite extensively and have found these tools very beneficial.  Other activities I have completed to a lesser degree for various reasons – searching for OER I found quite frustrating for my topic, but did locate examples for other programs which was useful.

 I did find the first few weeks of the course intimidating and frustrating as I tried to make connections to a learning group (Team Lost and Laura’s Dream) but found these groups petered out very quickly.  Fortunately by the third week I was well on my way on my own; which for my project I think was probably fine as it really is very specific and not relevant to many participants.

 I found the video introductions and convergence sessions were a highlight … the convergence sessions provided some thoughtful and insightful ideas and commentary that did extend my thinking and direct me to other areas I hadn’t considered previously.  Also the daily emails to summaries the day’s activities and pointing out some good blogs/comments on Cloudworks was excellent and I have read a number of these from others.  This also led me to following particular participants.

 I did find using Cloudworks a challenge and had several attempts at creating a Cloud for my learning journal … once I had success, I really did feel a sense of relief and began to feel like part of the program.  Trial and error is the approach I used.

 I also found the reward of badges valuable, as it was my only interaction with others on the program and to me was a way of confirmation that I was on track.


What were the outcomes of your participation? Did you meet your goals? What went well, what didn't? What unexpected outcomes did you notice?

 My project has developed over the OLDS MOOC timeline and while I haven’t been able to keep up with the project and OLDS MOOC course work ie I’m still working on content for the program and have not evaluated anything yet – although I do have an evaluation plan, I have refined and gained many ideas and considerations that will be built into the program as a result of this MOOC.

I’m also confident that a number of the tools and techniques that I have used, I will continue to use and draw on in future work.

 One of my goals was to participate in a MOOC and I believe I have been successful at this.  It has also given me a positive experience that has encouraged me to join other MOOC’s so I am currently participating in “Learning creative learning” and have just signed up for “Inspiring leadership through emotional intelligence”.

 This MOOC experience has provided many benefits to me not only in extending my thinking and exposure to a range of learning design concepts, tools and frameworks, but also to insights about facilitating online learning and how to motivate and support learners in this environment.

While I won’t be facilitating a MOOC at this stage, so many of the techniques used in this program translate into the online teaching environment and this has been very insightful and really extended my thinking and design approach.

 There is so much written about MOOCs in the online and press community and much of it is negative … for me having had this experience I’m now able to reconcile the discussion with the experience.  I think a MOOC is not for everyone, I am a self directed learner and in the MOOC environment I think you need this.  Although I did like the layout and instructions in the course and the pace … I don’t think it needs to be spaced out any further.

 In several of these reflections I’ve heard about how others have created a learning network as a result of this MOOC and that is one thing I have not achieved that I probably would have found useful … maybe this will form from my other MOOC experiences.


What did you learn? What advice could you give others?

Wow … where to start with what I have learnt:

  • more about learning design
  • tools, techniques, frameworks and methodologies have been extended and I will continue to use these
  • MOOCs for learning – positive experience and very valuable – get to hear from experts, challenging and has enhanced and developed so many new and extended skills/knowledge
  • Increased confidence in sharing ideas about learning design and the value of collaboration

 I’ll be telling others about my experience and encouraging them to look at MOOC’s as an important and valuable learning experience. 

Extra content

Embedded Content


Joshua Underwood
11:49am 6 March 2013

Great that you feel you have got things of benefit out of the oldsmooc :-)

I think some of your observations point to interesting challenges for future (olds) MOOCs and that is useful:

  • You seem to associated already being a self-directed learner with succeeding (in some ways) in this MOOC. So, perhaps an interesting challenge for MOOCs is whether and how they can be designed to help learners become self-directed in the ways that MOOCs require..
  • You note frustration with the project team and study group formation, I think others have too and not only in oldsmooc. Design of both the process and tools to better support this would be high on my agenda for future MOOC designs.
  • You also note that you didn't form 'a learning network' through the MOOC but feel that would have been useful. This seems like a related challenge to the one above. Not sure CloudWorks provides the tools for this and not sure we have linked to the tools people use for this kind of networking (or at least not explicitly prompted for people to connect in these ways). So, again a useful prompt for further design thinking & research...



PS. will try to stick this cloud in the cloudscape...

Julie Pisano
10:26pm 6 March 2013

Thank you for your comments, Josh ... I do appreciate them and it's great to see your consideration of my challenges.

I've really enjoyed the course and have found it very enriching - the challenges seem minor in comparison to what I have gained from this learning experience.

I would be interested in participating in further MOOCs offered by the project team/open university and am wondering how to keep informed of these.  It's been easy to located MOOCS offered through Coursera, but I really only stumbled across this one by chance.  Is there a MOOC aggregator or way you could suggest for keeping up with what's being offered.

Thank you again to yourself for your comments and to the project team for an enriching learning experience.

Julie Pisano

Penny Bentley
10:38pm 7 March 2013

Hi Julie

it takes time to develop a learning network and what helped me greatly in the beginning was attending the Australia e-Series webinars, free and facitilated by volunteers.  Educators across all sectors attend from time to time. We also have international visitors who also drop in if time permits.

4 webinars are usually held each week, on a range of different topics. I facilitate the Community Connect series on Thursday nights at 8pm (GMT+11), a fairly relaxed & informal gathering. Being a fellow Australian you may find these time friendly webinars a good place to start with your networking. You are more than welcome to attend.



Yishay Mor
11:22am 10 March 2013

Hi Julie,

Can you tell us more about your project, and share any designs / artefacts you have already produced for it? You say you developed scenarios, ecology of resources, course features cards, prototypes, evaluation plan - could we see them?



Julie Pisano
12:56am 12 March 2013

Thanks for the invitation Penny ... I will keep an eye on these webinars and join those of interest when I'm available.

I've enjoyed your contributions to the OLDS MOOC and found them insightful and have given me more to think about.

Regards, Julie

Julie Pisano
1:09am 12 March 2013

Hello Yishay,

Thank you for reading my reflection ...

You have asked for some additional information about my project which can be found in my Learning Journal:

I have really enjoyed this course and have gained a great deal of benefit from it for my current and future projects.

Thank you, Julie

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