Sunday, 18 November 2012

One week in to the life of a MOOC....

The eLearning course hasn't begun, but I already feel like it's progressed quite far. Here's what I learnt:

1. If you use Google's Blogger service, you can change the design by going into "Templates" and selecting from the Dynamic Views. I chose "magazine" and it gives your blog a whole new professional looking design
2. You can check your Twitter activity in the @Connect bit in the top left corner. I've mainly been using Twitter as a news feed since I joined a few years ago, but since the course began I've been using it a lot more and this helps you keep track of activity. I also find lots of useful info in Tweets. Adding them as a Favourite is a good way to quickly reference back, or save for checking out more fully later. Also remember to tag your blog posts   so they appear in the group feed
3. You can use TweetReach to check on Twitter activity. I actually found this really useful in my job as it helped me pick a good case study for our next newsletter. Thanks @lizcable for the link
4. You can express yourself in many ways. Kyle Bettley did a great video here.
5. "Community & contact drive good online learning". This quote came from the MSc eLearning tutors at the University of Edinburgh who are running our course. They designed a manifesto, which includes lots of statements. This is the one stuck with me this week. See the rest here

Well, there has been a lot of contact amongst course members so far. It's been really positive. As Christine one of the course leaders at Ed Uni says,like opening a bottle of champagne. Links, blogs, groups, map, challenges, enthusiasm. Still sparkling after three days!" That was a nice way of putting it. The image above is done via It's the EDC MOOC Google+ page as a word cloud, with the most common words being the largest (what shapes can you make with your blog URL?).

Thanks to everyone who has posted a pin or commented on the Google map. I've been amazed at how much this took off. It was genuinely exciting when I was sat there on Thursday night and had one person add a pin almost straight away! Then I checked again - another! In one hour of refreshing my page there were seven people. That instant, shared contact was a real thrill, and was really motivating. I've just checked the map again and there is something like 70 people on there. It's really helped visualise the range of participants, and it might be an interesting document in itself (why is Europe mostly Northern Europe? How come more East Coast than West in the USA? No-one - yet - from India, Japan, or the whole of Africa or the Middle East).

I've been trying to follow as many blogs as possible, and check the Twitter feed at #edmooc (careful - my Twitter account got temporarily suspended for posting too many messages to people). There is some interesting material being posted. Thanks to all who have Tweeted or commented on my own posts so far. I really encourage everyone in the course to participate and help each other. We are all mostly new to it and so a little comment, retweet, or link is encouraging. (just like Sally did on her blog here).
There was a quote I saw this week on @rkiker Twitter page from Clark Quinn, "Learning is not about content, it's about experience". So far this has been a really positive experience of MOOC and online learning, and I hope there is more to come in the months ahead