What is a MOOC? Massive Open Online Course. How big is massive? Up to several thousand!! It’s taking off as the biggest thing in anywhere, anytime professional development. I have personally found these types of courses an amazing professional experience and opportunity to learn from all of those exceptional specialists internationally that develop online courses, and from the participants as well. The MOOC I am participating in presently is the one I spoke of in my previous blog post run by a very dynamic presenter Professor Curt Bonk. Follow the #bonkopen hash tag on Twitter and see what’s happening in the course or join it yourself. I have also looked up the #MOOC hash tag on Twitter and found some great links as well.
Observations that I’ve picked up this week of MOOCs is that everyone has different expectations of what they should be doing, how much information they should be trying to digest and how many forum discussions they should participate it. Nothing is mandatory but there is a badge system set up to guide explicit criteria and goals that participants should aim for in order to get some recognition for their learning. Badge systems are closely related to games-based learning and it is highly motivating, at least I find it personally motivating.
The biggest issue raised this week was the discussion forums and how huge they became with almost 2000 participants interacting internationally, all day long. I didn’t find this an issue as I would just go in and read select threads but for participants who really value the personal interaction in this form they might struggle to do enough by their standards. It is interesting to hear how different people approach this. The course managers have made it easier after getting constructive feedback and will enable subscription to single threads and they have also employed the assistance of people to compile digests and summaries of the discussion threads, which is fantastic. The course is a great learning opportunity.