So spent the day catching up on the things I didn’t do yesterday, including setting up this blog. Not a blogger by nature (yet). Also dusted off my twitter account for the first time in two years and joined tweetdeck. So not looking forward to creating my first you tube video tomorrow and not because of my hair!

So today was collaboration day on a Google doc, a fascinating exercise in group think. I ended up starting the document as I believe there may have been some confusion as to where we were supposed to write this ode to MOOCs in the private sector (create our own Gdoc or gasp! write on the one provided). Biggest problem for our group was the non academic title (many of us were thinking informal learning environments) and finding out that we were supposed to just look at the private sector (as if that is a narrow domain!)

So the process: Loved the comment section of the document as we moved towards finding a common understanding. Didn’t love that people edited/added to the document without reading it first. Since my background involves editing I always find that a problem when working with others. Word limit was arbitrary but I can live with it except when people bulk up a document with filler. UGH!

So what happens when learning happens? For me, I start making connections between different ideas and looking at things from a new perspective. Where does it happen? Anywhere. When an idea resonates with me. I’ve always learned best by bouncing ideas off others and listening to their thoughts so MOOCs are a great way to explore a stream of consciousness. 

What are MOOCs? What do we think they are? What do we fear they may be? What potential lies under their surface? For me, MOOCs are a new window to the world, a new way of knowing simply because I am learning with people from different backgrounds and knowledge. I think they could go anywhere in terms of development. How many different ways are there of teaching and knowing? MOOCs will be able to develop in all the same areas both formal and informal learning take place now.

How do we approach the MOOC? If MOOCs render our previous pedagogies dull and ineffective, how do we innovate? What do we innovate? Does it render our previous pedagogies ineffective? I am a product of those previous pedagogies. Learning face to face has not been made redundant by MOOCs but enhanced. The value of face to face will  never be eclipsed because we are social creatures who prefer to communicate face to face first and digitally second.

If MOOCs aren’t a replacement for the classroom in higher education, how else might they be employed in our teaching and learning?  I believe they can replace certain aspects of higher learning. Topics like this at the graduate level are perfect. Students have already (hopefully) learned the discipline to stay on task, have a solid knowledge base and take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate with others. 


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