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Penny Bentley's Design Narrative #MOOCskills Project

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Penny Bentley
6 March 2013

Throughout OLDSMOOC I've been working on my MOOC Skills Project. Here's a presentation of this project which I created on my iPad with an app called SonicPics. It's a first draft, too long and unpolished but I was keen to submit something for this weeks plenary.

Unfortunately when it was uploaded to Google Drive the accompanying titles on each slide didn't appear.

Here's a text outline using the STARR Framework.

SITUATION: Where are you coming from? 

After teaching in secondary classrooms for over 20 years I decided to move into online teaching and learning, about 3 years ago. Over this time I've been facilitating webinars for the Australia e-Series, helping students online with maths tutoring, completing online PD, using social media to share and learn with peers...and so on. I've enjoyed several mentoring roles over this time and can see a need for developing and delivering a course, specifically for educators, around the new digital skill set needed for online teaching and learning. I've called it the MOOC Skills Project due to the high dropout rate of participants in MOOCs....people drop out for many reasons, one of them is the difficulties they face with the MOOC kind of online PD. I wanted to find a way to support MOOCers in their learning. It's a generic course though, based on the skills needed for open, connected learning of any kind. 

TASK: What did you hope to achieve?

I had no idea in the beginning, but in the early days of OLDS MOOC I became part of a group that formed to investigate online webinars. I'm not sure why, but things fizzled out before anything was designed. Perhaps it was too early to think about a project, but it did gave us a chance to network and build relationships. 
I went my separate way and thought more broadly about putting together something that could help others in their MOOC journey. I based my project on what I'm doing online now...connecting with educators from around the globe, presenting and organising my learning in a Personal Learning Environment and using a range of tools and apps to find information, create & share new knowledge.

I was hoping to help others build their own PLE & PLN and to develop the confidence to take on and finish a MOOC. 

ACTIONS: 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?

  • I  thought about why it's necessary for educators to develop these skills. There's a changing paradigm in education...student expectations are changing, enrollments are declining in some institutions and there's less money for quality face to face teaching. 
  • the rise of MOOCS...Massive Open Online placing pressure on educators to be part of a new movement, jump onboard, experience the new way of teaching and learning online. Many people don't have the skill set to cope with this fast paced style of open, independent learning. 
  • first step was to set up an online infrastructure (e-frastructure /course learning environment) to run the course out of, with cloud-based, mobile supported web tools we could share and use together. I wanted to model the active learning I'd like them to undertake while doing the course. 
  • Using the moocskills username I created the following accounts: on,, Flickr for photo sharing, Diigo for social bookmarking, Google Reader for RSS, Google Drive for collaborative documents, a Wikispace, Facebook Group and Page, @moocskills & #moocskills on Twitter. 
  • The MOOC Skills CLE being developed
  • MOOC Skills on Twitter
  • The next step was to crowdsource participants to see who was interested/what personas were interested to have a go at prototyping MOOC Skills . 
    Here's the Google Doc
  • Another announcement went out via social media and gmail to confirm participants to trial MOOC Skills using a new tool I was keen to try out.
  • I collected 10 MOOC Coping Skills into an image to kick off a conversation on
  • Trialed several tools/ways of delivering audio/visual media to participants in this course: 
    Enhanced Podcasting with SonicPics (created and shared using an iPhone 4S)
    Audio/video recording using iPhone 4S video-camera
    Podcasting using SoundCloud
  • Started our MOOC Skills digital library on Diigo
    Not finding someone to help out with graphic I used a pre-existing header created previously for my blog. 
    Project cut short due to family illness and time away from home...project now on hold while I'm thinking about where to take it from here. Don't want to toss it all away.
    Finding that, as a mobile MOOC Learner while I was away, I needed to rethink the mobile side of things. I found it hard to cope with OLDSMOOC on a mobile phone while away for 9 could I learn from this experience and change MOOC Skills design. 

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

  • Outcomes: infrastructure for course mostly in place, course not planned (on "paper" that is) or trialed. 
  • Goals, as far as running a course, not met. Not enough time to achieve what I wanted to do. 
  • Trialing of webtools to deliver content went OK, continued with that while away from home.
  • I didn't communicate well with those participants who expressed an interest in protopyping the MOOC Skills course...I realise that now. 
  • Unexpected outcomes were: changing ideas when I was thrown into a position of being a mobile mooc learner, positive interest in the MOOC Skills Project from outside OLDSMOOC course, connections with others along the way

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

  • as a teacher I'm used to planning on the go, in a hurry and not putting ideas on "paper" or planning thoroughly. I now realise that, as a Learning Designer, this part is vital in the keep us on track and to "see" the boundaries we need to work within. I can't just keep tossing ideas in as they arise and expect them to slot into what's already done. Paying more attention to my constraints would have kept me in line. 
  • advice would be to start smaller, be clear about what you want to do at the beginning, be creative within loose constraints, get to know how to use a few tools well rather than many tools not so well, focus on skills not tools
  • that being a Learning Designer draws on a skill set that's way bigger than what I have, I'm thinking it's a collaborative role...particularly if we are talking about using great digital/rich media. So, don't think you can do it all yourself...bring in the experts.
  • this point goes back to my first one, that others don't necessarily see/understand the big picture you are carrying around in your head. Plan, brainstorm etc...more at the beginning. 
  • think about what you are doing in terms time, space and sector and communication....can it be applied to any educator, in any sector, at any stage in the course they are teaching and can they share it with others. 

I'd better finish rabbiting on here...but I want to say how valuable the whole experience has been. I suspect OLDSMOOC has turned me into a MOOCaholic & I'll be back for more :) This is way more exciting than doing "e-Learning" whatever that is...not sure anymore. 


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