Monday, August 1, 2011

Much Gnashing of Teeth and Rending of Hair

I am so underwater with life happenings, schoolwork, job, etc., that I can barely find time to try to catch up with eduMOOC happenings. Still bookmarking like crazy, still snapping up links for later reading, but really there is no time for blogging. A big thank you to my three followers, and an apology for not being able to blog re eduMOOC in the foreseeable future.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Making It Real: Organizing and Articulating Learning #eduMOOC

Finally got access to Moodle! Yay!

I really like Jenny Ankenbauer’s response (July 5) to Karen Swan’s question “What are the most pressing questions [re online learning] that still remain unanswered?” (July 2) in the Social Forum for eduMOOC ( Here is the part of Jenny’s response that really resonated with me:

‘The MOOC movement is an honorable effort to reform education… and a brilliant solution to release jealously held privileged knowledge to those who, without previous, socially connected opportunity, could never hope to get their nose in the knowledge trough. But MOOC’s are not capable in and of themselves of validating performance. In the absence of an assessment process that can externally validate my learning in a MOOC, I will consider a MOOC an opportunity to fill-in my learning gaps…It is a rare opportunity to spend critical time-on-task with time the only price I need to pay. I can obtain the privileged knowledge I lack[,] from recognized and externally validated experts in the field. And maybe that is all a MOOC is meant to be…an option and part of the solution, never claiming to be THE solution.’

I also like Joyce McKnight’s response (July 5), which reads, in part, ‘…what I call tacit (largely unconscious learning) that occurs as we live, work, read, reflect, act etc. in everyday life only becomes conscious (i.e. explicit) learning when we are able to articulate it and organize it…I think the same process is probably equally true with a would only be as I organize my learning into categories and articulate it that it would move from simply tacit learning (kind of floating around in my mind) to explicit learning…it takes discipline (organization) to really make sense of things and making sense is at least part of what formal learning is about.’

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Am I a Lurker? #edumooc

Despite following the OERu group's discussion of lurkers in regard to crafting their survey for eduMOOC participants, I really don't know how one determines which levels of participation constitute a lurker, an active participant, etc.

However, I feel that along any hypothetical continuum portraying levels of participation, I am sliding from "somewhat involved" (posting this blog, commenting on others' blogs, following groups and wikis with Google Reader, checking and occasionally posting on Twitter) to a new level, closer to lurkerism.

It mostly comes down to two factors: time and expertise. I spend a great deal of time following links, bookmarking and reading blogs and articles, etc. I am also not an educator in the sense that many eduMOOCers are; 3 years as a paraprofessional fulltime reading tutor, volunteer teaching a few years ago in a GED prep class, plus ad-hoc corporate training of co-workers back when I was employed, don't qualify me to comment on the learned dispositions of professional educators.

However, by participating at any level in the eduMOOC, my pool of knowledge, and hopefully my network, are growing. I plan to review the archived material from the PLENK MOOC, and have already signed up for a MOOC on "change" this fall. I truly enjoy and appreciate the intellectual stimulation I am getting here, even as I slide into the murky lurker cohort.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How Big is a MOOC? #eduMOOC

The OERu-eduMOOC group has been kicking around the measurements of a MOOC, among other interesting questions. My humble opinion is that a MOOC is bigger than a high school pep rally, smaller than the annual graduating class of the School of Hard Knocks.

Ray Keeps Expanding My Reading List

I’ve been out of state for several days, staying with a child who does not yet have internet installed in her new apartment, so now, back home, I am wading through both CSU homework assignments and backed-up eduMOOC items. One paragraph on something that struck me while negotiating the currents of electronic data streams:

Ray Schroeder provided yet another link to a fascinating article, “Emergent Learning and Learning Ecologies in Web 2.0 (Williams, Karousou & Mackness., 2011)” in the International Review of research in Open and Distance Learning Vol 12, No 3 (2011).

Three things in the article really resonated with me. First, the definition of emergent learning, which perfectly describes our eduMOOC, as “learning which arises out of the interaction between a number of people and resources, in which the learners organize and determine both the process and to some extent the learning destinations, both of which are unpredictable.” Second, by validating
“retrospective coherence” as a learning type, they made me feel better about the way I am learning via this MOOC; I prefer knowing the big picture and seeing where my current chunk of learning fits into it, whereas the MOOC forces me to hoard links, look up references to practices, adopt new technologies in order to access new info, and to form online relationships, with a realization of what I’ve learned only becoming clear after I’ve learned it. Third, it answered (for me, anyway) the question of the validity of constructing formal learning objectives for oneself at the start of each week (or for the entire MOOC) by, instead, urging one to “creatively [use] retrospective coherence rather than trying to force compliance and predictability where it might not be appropriate or even possible, particularly in performance targets.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

eduMOOC in a Virtual World? #eduMOOC

As a devoted Second Life junkie, I have been envisioning what it would like if this MOOC had been staged in Second Life. Perhaps having visual references to peg to would help alleviate some of the over-stimulation of multiple threads, posts, resources, links, videos, etc.

I worked up a little 2D map of some of the major touchpoints I've encountered so far at (in?) the eduMOOC, and would love to hear any critiques/suggestions/reactions to this idea. If there is enough interest, I may convert some of my rented virtual real estate in Second Life into a mock-up of what this MOOC might look like if it were housed in SL.

Personally, the idea of one's avatar strolling across the quad from the learning carrels to the mLearning cafe, and greeting/speaking with other avatars along the way, sounds fun! Or am I just being silly?

Voices from Cyberspace #eduMOOC

I am so excited to see that two fellow MOOC participants, Vanessa Vaile and Paul Bettinson, posted comments to my blog. I feel so...validated!

Today was "get organized" day. I joined the social bookmarking site Diigo (thank you, Jason Rhodes) and bookmarked a bunch of webpages for journals, orgs, open schools, and public domain stuff. Read (and joined more) wikis and tweets.

I also began considering the question of my personal learning objectives for this MOOC, per my last post, and came up with the following.

  • I will bookmark links and resources with Diigo, and later organize these into lists and read them to see how I can utilize them on my path to facilitating adult education.

  • What I hope to get from this MOOC is: resources, contacts, and the building blocks to construct my PLN.

Concerning the question of where I think I am on the continuum of online learning: I would like to begin by constructing a definition of online learning that is meaningful to me. What I've come up with so far is:

Online learning consists of a structure set up by an instructor/facilitator (LMS, virtual microworld, blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, podcasts, Prezi, Moodle, etc.) informed by his/her PLN, plus students who utilize online tools and share their PLNs amongst themselves and with their instructor, to achieve learning objectives that promote transformative learning and self-directed learning. I will continue to refine this definition during the course of the MOOC.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Embarrassment of Resources

Feeling a bit overwhelmed and rather excited about this MOOC. Today I scanned digests of emails and garnered quite a few links to check out, including:

Links to tools:
Social bookmarking
Constructing learning objectives
Aligning objectives with learning strategies and assessment
Building rubrics
Quality Matters

Links to blogs:
Michelle Pacansky-Brock's blog on building learning communities with social media
Rebecca Hogue's blog entries re MOOC learning objectives
Brian Christensen's blog on digital teaching and learning

Emails to people with interests similar to mine (community education, humanities teaching online, self-directed learning):
Vanessa Vaile - interested in applications for online community learning and self-paced study groups -
Paul Bettinson - interested in e-learning in interactive art courses -

AND yet another book to add to my reading pile: Jane McGonigal's Reality Is Broken, recommended by Norman Constantine (

I also need to address the question of my personal learning objectives for this MOOC. Guiding statements from fellow participants include: "...learners can determine what to do with the given links and resources (objectives/activities), what they want to get out of the unit/learning experience (outcomes), and how to measure their own success (assessments)" - Clark Shah-Nelson and "...evaluate where I think I am on the continuum of the huge topic of online learning" (James Davis).

Um, I think that's enough for today....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gearing Up for the eduMOOC

The Center for Online Learning Research and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield has created a Massive Online Open Class (MOOC), running June 27 - August 20, 2011. It is titled "Online Learning Today...and Tomorrow." Weekly panel discussions, wikis, blogs, and a bewildering array of technology new to me will be employed in this open, collaborative learning experience. I believe over 2300 people have signed up so far.

Today I added my virtual pin to the world map showing locations of participants, posted an intro, and shared my contact info on the participant networking site. I've also compiled links for the home page, the wiki study group page, and the resources page. I still need to figure out how to plug into an RSS feed for the MOOC, visit the link to prep for Thursday's first live panel discussion, learn how to use Twitter, check out the resources page, and read the intros of others. Whew.

By the way, a big THANK YOU to EDAE 692 classmate Sarah Veltkamp for alerting me to this MOOC!