#etmooc has commenced. The flood of introductory emails flowing from the #etmooc Google+ community is a sure a sign as any. The questions begin. How effective are all these introductions? How will I engage with the course? Why am I engaging?
The main reason is perhaps that this is the area I teach. Educational technology, especially the considerations of the application of educational technology with schools. #etmooc provides an opportunity to connect with a wide array of people in this area. Including quite a few with some very interesting perspectives and insights.
Some other reasons I’m hoping to engage
- To model the type of practice I’m hoping to see from the students in the course I’ll be teaching soon.
- To identify some activities, communities, and people that I can point my students toward.
- To connect with some new ideas and reflect on how that might change my practice.
How to engage
This is the $64K question. Will my participation crash and burn in this cMOOC, just like all those others? Will I make the time to engage?
Adding to this potential issue, is the fact that I haven’t yet found the “syllabus”. What should I be doing. I can see the Topics & Schedule which gives the overview, but what should I do, read, watch, listen to?
The guide for participants has some useful information. A lot of which is familiar. A sign that I’m a member of some level of this particular culture?
The guide for facilitators is also interesting. I like the quote from Herbert Simon
Learning results from what the student does and thinks and only from what the student does and thinks. The teacher can influence learning only by influencing what the student does to learn
But where is the list of tasks for me to engage with? Am I showing my traditional learner origins? Am I simply being thick and can’t find it?
I’ll take the easy/cop out approach to the task, and reuse one I’ve done before. This type of introductory task is something that Alec has used before and I liked it. I borrowed it and used it in my own teaching last year. As part of that task, I created a popplet introducing myself. That plus the above seems to fulfil the task requirements.
Do the introductions work?
One of the aims of the #etmooc introduction is to “help participants better relate and connect with you”. Based on the evidence in my InBox – lots of introductions – and the Google+ etmooc community – not many of those introductions having replies – there may not be that much connection. Perhaps there are lots of people lurking, viewing introductions and connecting via means other than the Google+ community?
The variety of tools being used is useful (e.g. this use of Animoto by Mairead but are there connections being formed? Are there better ways of forming them?
For my course there will be a focus on reflection. An introduction like this – especially the “what to gain from the course” – is intended to be used as a reflection later in the course.
How do you help folk starting out in a course like this make connections?
The quality of the introductions is certainly on aspect. As is the ability to see some commonality (e.g. this example of a Brazilian connection). Would making the commonalities easier to see be a good thing? Would it close off the chance of diversity?