Monday, January 17, 2011

First Impressions

Week 1 impressions are primarily about evomlit11 (Multiliteraciesand LAK11 (Learning and Knowledge Analytics) and only peripherally to CCK11 (Connectivism and Connective Knowledge), which starts today as I am reminded by an email notice from that other MOOC. I registered there early and did some early prep. We'll see whether/ how much that helps chaos management (an oxymoron if there ever was one).

Evomlit11, Vance Steven's 6 week EVO (Electronic Village Online) workshop, Multiliteracies, is my persoanl comfort zone and starting point for impressions and comparisons even it lacks sufficient massiveness to be authentically MOOC. Someone suggested renaming MOOC, taking out the M because massiveness puts people (especialy education traditionalist, no doubt) off.

Week 1 is orientation, getting acquainted, speed dating as online community building strategy. There are readings, discussions and presentation, but those take the back seat to the former. Week two may be too late to catch up with establishing a presence and making connections.

Multiliteracies (#evomlit11) Week 1 was comfortable, not in the least hectic or stressful. No doubt it was hectic for first timers, but there are always enough repeat offenders to glad hand, greet and ease the way. Not a moderator (official), I can still be a greeter (unofficial). MLIT (short for Multiliteracies and not all are EVO generated) and its addresses on PBWiki, Ning and Y Groups constitute my pièd à terre in open course cyberspace. still does not quite feel like home. PLN, a post-PLENK encounter at yet another group platform contender, hasn't quite taken either. Groups and listservs are prone to the same clique patterns as high school. But that's another topic for another time. Today, it's "mooking about" impressions. The sheer size of a MOOC, combined with relatively short duration, 6-10 weeks, skews those dynamics. Moderation is another factor influenced by group size.

Accordingly, I already know more people and have posted more on MLIT. Having, however, learned from the last MOOC, had a better idea how to proceed with LAK11: subscribe to feeds, newsletters, read syllabus (practice what we preach to students), recheck it regularly, post your introduction, read and respond to other introductions ~ not all because there are too many, ditto forums discussion on both accounts, tag bookmarks and tweets, read some participant blog posts and post comments if you have something relevant to contribute, subscribe to participant blogs that most interest you. Skimming helps, so does searching (upper right hand corner on forum page) for specific subject areas. Zero results for humanities, in itself a telling factoid. A handful for linguistics and teaching English (usually ESL). Names and geographic locations too.

Like going to any big new school when you're used to a small school where you've got friends and everybody know your name, making friends will make everything better.

I responded to an introduction by a name from another course and got a high school clique to outsider brush-off.  Respond to everyone who responds to you. Don't worry about the ones who don't. Life is too short and the MOOC even shorter. Besides, MOOCs are like streetcars, if you miss one or can't keep up, just wait for the next one to come along. If there are multiple locations for connecting (forums, Facebook, twitter, groups, etc), don't try to keep up with all of them. Go where you feel most comfortable or engaged. And don't forget to review the syllabus again.

Remember the advice you dole out to students: read the syllabus, make a study plan (but don't feel obliged to keep it if it's not working for you), keep up with readings, participate in discussions, keep up, schedule and pace, don't cram, ask questions.

LAK11 is harder than than EVOMLIT11 (Multiliteracies) or CCK11 because the material although interesting and engaging is less familiar, steeper learning curve. MOOC facilitators tell you up from that you cannot keep up with everything and must select, make choices. I haven't decided yet and will no doubt feel overwhelmed until I do, but the Facebook discussion on analytics + SSG looks promising. Deciding or having some idea BEFORE starting might another tip. How to MOOC posts and presentations tend to be more theoretical/ general than nuts and bolts.

Today starts week two for both and I am only just now composing my blog post. Here's another tip: don't do that.

That means today is the 1st day of week 1 of CCK11. Not enough in for an impressions post, but the landscape seems more familiar than for analytics, although not without changes. No Moodle this time. I look forward to its absence. Not having to get used to forums (which I've used for years in hybrid and online teaching) all over again may even facilitate orientation. I'm handling them in LAK11 better than I did in PLENK but still find Moodle and forums clunky, not where I make the most or best connections. Post-instructional forum aversion as an occupational disability?

We will connnect, create via other tools and share via feeds. Open course as mega feed reader and mashups? That sounds like what my reader is already like but more readers and less eclectic. I foresee more smaller groups. Perhaps they will automatically self-limit, say at no more than 150, the magic number. A separate tab on my NetVibes is in order.


Vance Stevens said...

Interesting post. I've started calling our course a Miniscule Open Online Course for the reason you gave. I just posted to the MULTILIT Yahoo Group list: This explains how I found your post via Addictomatic. Basically I found it because you tagged it evomlit and I found it on So tagging works!

Thanks for you comments and nice to know about these other courses.

Vanessa said...

Thanks Vance ~ love the term "Miniscule Open Online Course" too. This post auto-tweeted too so shows up on Twitter tag search and should show up on Twibes stream

Now I'm going to read the MULTILIT post and check out Addictomatic because you can never have, file or find too many tags (I gave up on too rich and too thin a long time ago)

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