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Joining a MOOC: some brief reflections

August 9, 2012

Yesterday I signed up for a massive open online course (MOOC) offered by the University of Edinburgh. 

The course, entitled E-Learning and Digital Cultures, explores how digital cultures and learning cultures connect, and what this means for e-learning theory and practice.

The University of Edinburgh has done a very good job of setting expectations, with a clear distinction on their website between their six MOOC offerings and the other courses available at the University. 

The section How does a MOOC compare to the University’s Online Postgraduate Programmes? is particularly helpful. 

The time commitment for E-Learning and Digital Cultures is 3-5 hours per week for 5 weeks.  The course does not carry any credit and is being delivered through Coursera.   It doesn’t start until the end of January but here are some early thoughts:

Positives, hopes

  • I’ve already got that “back to school” excitement about the opportunity to learn something new
  • Looking forward to being challenged by tutors and fellow students
  • Maybe I will  improve my street cred with the ALT types out there ; – )
  • Applying an academic approach to some of the issues in e-learning
  • The content of the course – looking at how learning and literacy is represented in popular culture – is appealing to me.  I have an Arts background and I do love a bit of critical analysis! 
  • Seeing how the platform works.  I have some experience of Moodle from a previous job.  What interface will be used for this course? 
  • Getting some further insight into how universities appeal to mature students
  • I’m curious to know what type of online learner I will be

 Negative, fears

  • Critical mass/ not enough participants to create a lively online learning environment 
  • What if I don’t “get it”?  But maybe all mature students have this little niggle at the back of their minds.

I’m sure I will have plenty more questions as the start date gets nearer.  And maybe some further observations in the run up to the beginning of the course.

In the meantime if you are interested in why Edinburgh decided “go MOOC” take a look at Jeff Haywood’s excellent blog posting No such thing as a free MOOC .

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jeremy Knox permalink
    August 9, 2012 1:25 pm

    Hi Anna,

    It’s great to hear that you’re looking forward to the E-learning and Digital Cultures course, I’m getting really excited about it myself.

    We have over 8,000 enrolled at present, so I hope that will be enough to create a lively learning environment! Enrolment numbers don’t necessarily translate into active participants though, and that’s definitely an interesting trend to consider in relation to the role of the MOOC. I’m sure we’ll get some interesting and keen people though!

    Thanks for the link to Jeff’s blog. We’ve also written about the MOOC development from more of a departmental perspective here:

    http://newsletter.alt.ac.uk/2012/08/mooc-pedagogy-the-challenges-of-developing-for-coursera/

    Hope you enjoy the course, and look forward to seeing you online in January!

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