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


  1. Thanks for this, Chris, and thanks for the mention.
    I didn't know about or TweetReach - did you see that you are the 'most mentioned' :)
    I still struggle to keep up with activity - I guess what I am looking for is something like the now 'old fashioned' idea of a mail list digest of all the activity relating to the edcmooc course. Perhaps this is out there already or maybe someone could volunteer to provide a weekly summary?

    1. Hi Sally,

      I agree. There is so much going on, it's hard to keep up (or maybe that's just the impression? Do you need to follow everything, or just be more precise in what you want to find out?). I am sure there is a clever way of collating things. We have our #edcmooc hashtag which is useful. If everyone tags their blog title with this then it should appear in the hashtag list in Twitter. That would be a start...

    2. Great snapshot of where we are at with edcmooc. Given that there are still 2 months to the start date, we should assume there are many still to join. And in that case, I can't imagine how this whole thing gets reined in so that we can keep track of it and hold it in our head. Hopefully course coordinators will have this all under control! I noticed in twitter someone has suggested forming groups. I wonder how this can be done so that it is not fragmented, yet interactions are kept manageable? You seem to come up with good ideas Chris, perhaps this is the next challenge!
      With the blog title, if I stick a hashtag in there, then will it post to twitter every time I update it? That could be pesky for everyone. Do you have to do anything other than put the # in the title? Cheers, Angela

    3. Hi Angela,

      Thanks for your comment. I think you're right, reining it all in is the next challenge! I'm sure someone has a bright idea or a website for doing this - let's see what happens. Personally, I'm going to keep going back to my original goals for signing up for the course and stick to them. Helps keep a bit of structure in the sea of information.

      Re the hashtag: on Blogger you can click an option to "post on Twitter" when you publish a new post. I found out the hashtag thing by accident actually, but if it's in your blog title, it will appear in the #edcmooc hashtag list on Twitter. I don't think it's pesky by the way, I think it's good to share!