Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Tips to Make Someone’s Life Easier in a cMOOC

| 8 Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Since I’m going to get super super swamped the next couple of days with #et4online, I’m thinking of how on earth I am going to keep up with #rhizo15 (not that I have to, mind you, I just want to), so here are my tips for how to help someone’s life easier in a cMOOC – they’re things I do, and others do with me, to help someone keep track without investing an enormous amount of time:

flickr photo Helping Hands shared by EJP Photo under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

  1. Tag someone if you think something will interest them. For example, yesterday I saw this awesome rhizome CV by Aaron Johannes, and I didn’t just post it to the general #rhizo15 hashtag, I also tweeted it directly to a group of people I know were interested in similar things
  2. Invite others into a collaboration  – that way the thing is more likely to get done, it is likely to be better because of all the other people, and you’ve made more people happy if it’s a fun thing or a satisfying accomplishment. That’s what’s been happening in #rhizo15 with the open learning recipe; I knew I’d written something quick n dirty (after Chrissi’s invitation), and I invited others to hack it, and now it’s an awesome piece of work that is light years better than my first draft. It’s becoming a legend
  3. Take important conversations across spaces. For example, Tania Sheko’s incredibly creative Mr. X dramatization – we all commented about her genius on her blog, on facebook, then we took things to Twitter to encourage a podcast version (and I suggested ways of creating multiple roles, to enhance #2 above and to also “rhizomize” the whole thing) then we moved to google docs and now sound cloud – all these different spaces pick up different people and create enough noise that more people will notice. It makes it harder to miss something, you know? (this is Tania’s response to what she’s calling #rhizostorm)
  4. Share first, read later. OK this is a tricky one, but usually when you trust someone implicitly after a long time working with them, you know from reading the title or the first few lines or a skim that it’s worth sharing to particular hashtags, etc. There are a few select people I do this with. Why? To show I appreciate them, but also more importantly because amplifying what they write will help other people who DO have time to read it now, even if it’s not me. This often results in me tweeting the same article a few hours or days later once I’ve read it. That’s fine. It costs no one anything anyway 🙂
  5. Curate for yourself and others. That’s like blogposts that link to all the awesomeness going around so other people who haven’t found the awesomeness on their own can find it through your blogpost. This is an obvious one but hard work. During #moocmooc I tried to do that as a co-facilitator (it was not asked of me, I just wanted to do it) and I noticed that ppl helped me do it better by tagging me when they blogged something (thank you to those who did it, by the way!). Other awesome aggregation has been done by Laura Gibbs to include RSS feeds of #rhizo15 blogs via Inoreader and by Lenandlar Singh to keep a list of blogs (sorry, link not on me but happy to add later; ok Len just gave it here and guess what? Audrey Watters posted about learning subjectives!), and social visualizations by Aras Bozkurt to show how the interactions are going on Twitter. Laura Gogia did the most generous thing for me y/day. She summarized Sian Bayne’s smooth/striated spaces article to help me because I said I’d been putting off reading it. Her generosity prompted me to start reading the article on my own, but I didn’t need to finish reading it coz she summarized and posted on her blog the very next day. It’s actually not just a summary but also a reflection. Here it is, if you’re interested. Very relevant to MOOCs and it’s based on D&G for all you D&Gers 🙂
  6. Ask for help. Publicly. It’s likely someone else needs the same help but hasn’t asked yet.
  7. Forgive yourself and others. We all have busy lives, and it’s not a failure to drop off for a while or to miss something.
  8. Create useful things and share. I used @cogdog’s Flickr Attribution helper bookmarklet to use this image in this blogpost. Saved me a good 5 minutes’ work! You see what I just did? I shared with you something useful that someone else had created 🙂 Thanks, Alan! (and also for spotting the wrong html pasted in visual mode from an earlier post – you see, I just reminded readers not to paste HTML in visual mode on your WP blog hehe).

Running out of time here… I just wanted to say that all of these things are not done by the facilitators (even though I just published a peer-reviewed article on how MOOC facilitators are able to show care despite the challenges) – it’s done by participants. By you. By me. We can all take on these roles and make everyone’s lives easier. Happy to keep adding more tips as people suggest… or heck, create a new google doc if you want! This one might be a good fedwiki type 🙂 it bears forking 🙂 err is forkable…errr

8 Comments

  1. Maha, these are really excellent tips which will not only make someone’s life easier but enhance their experience in a cMOOC. I’m chuffed that you included the example of our collaborative venture, the radio play. But seriously, this really impressed me and convinced me even more of the generosity and creativity of participants. Some of these things I’ve learned by noticing what you and others do, eg the first one – tagging specific people. This also helps encourage these people because they feel worth being tagged! No. 5 is powerful too and exemplifies the generosity of people towards their network.
    The Share first read later – I’ve done that before too but it scares me a little – what if there’s something that you missed which would change your mind about sharing? But that’s why you mention trust.
    Thanks Maha.

  2. Love the image, Maha. THAT is decalcomania: hand prints everywhere.

  3. This is a fantastic, list, Maha! Thanks so much for putting together these thoughtful tips. The curating for tohers as well as yourself is spot on.

  4. Love this – so much good sense (lots applies to f2f learning too) Thanks Maha!

  5. So i needed this post–especially the forgive it part as I wander rather aimlessly through #rhizo15 knowing, in part, such ambiguity is good while also feeling too adrift, too scattered with commitments to work and family.

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