Back in April, I attended my first ever MOOC. What is a MOOC you ask? A Massively Open Online Course, for a great introduction check out this video. I found the course to be useful, but also frustrating. It lacked a little in design – or at least that was my thought at the time, now that I know a little more about MOOCs, I'm starting to "get it".
I'm planning to take another MOOC – eduMOOC. This one is on the topic of "Online Learning Today…and Tomorrow". At seeing the introductory page, my immediate impression is that a lot more thought has gone into the design of this one.
That being said, one thing I'm finding lacking in these MOOCs is advice for those that are new to MOOC and those that are new to learning online. You see, I did my Masters online, so I have experience with online community. I have a sense of what is necessary to contribute to the community and to foster conversations that will help my learning and the learning of my fellow participants.
So as an experienced online learner and not so experienced MOOCer, I figured I'd offer a few tips for getting the most out of a MOOC:
- You don't have to read everything. Especially in the first couple of weeks, there will be 100s if not 1000s of posts to the google group. I receive a daily digest and scan it. If there is an interesting conversation, I then go onto google groups and join in.
- Join a conversation. If you find a conversation interesting and you have something to add – a person perspective or insight, whatever – join in. You never know if your insight will help spark an insight in someone else. It is these sparks together that keep the community alight!
- Start a conversation. Do you have a burning question? Ask it. Chances are you aren't the only one with the question. Did you have an ah-ha moment when you read something? Share it! Chances are your ah-ha moment may inspire an ah-ha moment in someone else.
- Ask questions that promote responses from different perspectives. MOOCs bring together people with a wide range of experiences and interests – asking questions that promote sharing of diverse perspectives provides value for both you and the other participants in the course.
Technically the course starts next week, June 30, but already people have started to introduce themselves. If you haven't tried out a MOOC before, I encourage you to do so. You can sign up directly on the information page here. It is free, so why not?
If you are an experience MOOCer reading this and you have some tips to share, please leave a comment.