Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 14 seconds
If you’re interested in cMOOCs, connectivism, connected learning, from a pedagogical or research perspective, read on 🙂
If you care about trying to explain the learning in these situations to others, because you believe there is so much potential, really read on 🙂
You know, people talk about xMOOC vs cMOOC as if each were monolithic. I’ve been through something like, what, 10 or more cMOOCs now, and they’re actually quite different from each other in many ways. I am also a different person as I participate in them, not always engaging in the same way.
I thought the Connected Courses MOOC #ccourses would be the perfect opportunity to start this discussion, a project I am proposing. It would make use of the experience of veteran cMOOCers, and benefit new and old cMOOCers who want to teach or do research… and it would also (hopefully as a side benefit) help published cMOOC research reach a wider audience
I’ve been running this idea through some people (ideas originated via #rhizo14 but in my mind has gone beyond it now), developing it a bit via twitter DM, google docs, google hangouts (thank you Alan and Pete) and inspired by something Rebecca is doing – and the idea is this: how do we make the “connected”/”connectivist” learning experience more comprehensible to someone who has never tried it or tried but could not manage or enjoy it?
Let me start with the “Why”.
In private conversations with Pete & Alan, we talked about two key things:
- If connected learning experiences have so much potential, why are there so few people benefit from them? What can be done to help them try it, and then help them stay and enjoy and learn? I was very connected before I took my first cMOOC and tried #tvsz – they made absolutely no sense to me until I tried them. I’m so lucky I was curious enough to try them – but what about the rest of the world?
- Not everyone has the same experience in a connected learning environment – how do we capture the diversity of these experiences and their richness?
Bonnie Stewart said in a recent presentation:
“Networks are not just for consuming, but connecting”
(and she also said)
“Networked citizens need to be able to filter AND contribute within the constant intermeshed streams of abundance without drowning”
I know many people today who still prefer to keep consuming and never contribute. It’s not a selfishness, it’s a lot of other things, but they stand in the way of their maximizing their potential online.
Howard Rheingold says in Net Smart (3 quotes from my kindle highlights, with my emphasis in bold):
“I see a bigger social issue at work with digital literacy, in addition to personal empowerment: if we combine our individual efforts wisely, enough of the right know-how could add up to a more thoughtful society as well as enhance those individuals who master digital network skills.”
“Digital literacies can leverage the Web’s architecture of participation, just as the spread of reading skills amplified collective intelligence five centuries ago. Today’s digital literacies can make the difference between being empowered or manipulated, serene or frenetic“
“People who think of themselves as capable of creating as well as consuming are different kinds of citizens, and our collective actions add up to a different kind of society“
So that’s all why I think it’s important to understand connected learning experiences, and to make it more legible to those outside of it, particularly people whose literacies are not too far off from benefiting from them. I want to be realistic and focus on people who are “almost there” in terms of being tech savvy, online, etc., but still have not caught on 🙂
Basically: a large, open, data collection project that is searchable by MOOC.
More details: capture facilitator and participant perspectives on cMOOCs, in ways that a researcher or reader or pedagogue would be able to look at all the available data on a particular MOOC, or look across facilitator experiences.
There is a straight-forward part to this: collaboratively (crowd-source?) create an annotated bibliography of all peer-reviewed & grey literature and blog posts that have been written from the facilitator or participant perspective. Tag them with the MOOC hashtag, and clarify what their focus is. Put all this stuff somewhere where anyone who wants to research cMOOCs can find them Diigo? a Wiki? Some other way? Suggestions please.
Coming out of that can be a variety of different things, and my idea is for anyone out there to do whatever the want with it. Someone could create something like we’ve been hoping to do for #rhizo14 – a way to trace the paths and reach different things that have been written on the same MOOC in a way that represents the connected experience, its non-linearity. Or someone could do a meta-analysis (not quantitative, I’d think) of certain MOOCs, or whatever.
There is an additional possibility: which is to actually survey people (and I am assuming the #ccourses participants and facilitators are a fertile ground for this) on particular research questions. I’m also happy to keep that data open (not sure what IRB will say, though, if the data is not anonymous). One idea is to for example ask MOOC facilitators how they intended for the course to create connections, what they did, how they reflect on it ex-post-facto; then also see what participants in that MOOC say. The problem is, as Alan pointed out, what about participants who did not engage fully? They might feel they have nothing to say and so never even respond to the survey. They’re possibly not even in #ccourses. And my idea was for us who know others who disengaged from MOOCs (e.g. some ppl in my f2f life) to try to reach them on that personal level. The data is likely to be skewed towards enthusiasts, and that’s fine as long as we recognize it. Even amongst enthusiasts, there are times we engage more or less with a MOOC or another. Sometimes it’s just personal issues or time, but sometimes it’s something about the way the MOOC was run, and that’s valuable information for people who are researching MOOCs or want to facilitate a cMOOC in future.
I’ll stop here because the intention of this post was to open the floor for input on what to do, how to do it, whether this will interest people. I’ll write other posts soon with examples of what I had in mind. But here is a quick one.
The eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC #edcmooc. Here is a peer-reviewed article on JOLT by the facilitators, and articles by participants here and here. One could also ask participants to share their blogposts about the MOOC if they wish. I see blogs as open publications that I think anyone should be able to quote, but some others feel permission is needed to quote by name, so… I’m happy to ask permission. Now an important note in annotating is that, for example, I co-authored an article based on research done in #edcmooc (2nd run, not 1st run) but the article was not ABOUT the MOOC. However, there is more DATA where that article came from, that is now not being used. That’s where the crowd-sourcing makes even more sense: pointing to things like that.
What do others think? Anyone interested in helping design this, run this, promote this, write about it later?