Engaging with #etmooc – how and what perspective

#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?

Why engage?

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

  1. To model the type of practice I’m hoping to see from the students in the course I’ll be teaching soon.
  2. To identify some activities, communities, and people that I can point my students toward.
  3. 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?

Of course it would be on the etmooc blogs as the orientation week activity. Thanks to John Johnston’s introductory #etmooc video for the pointer.

My Introduction

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?

9 thoughts on “Engaging with #etmooc – how and what perspective

  1. Pingback: Engaging with #etmooc – how and what perspective | Educación Expandida y Aumentada | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: Engaging with #etmooc – how and what perspective « Mi Blog

  3. Pingback: Engaging with #etmooc – how and what perspective | Explore MOOCs | Scoop.it

  4. Hello David I definitely think that the introductory task of producing a multimeda artefact of ourselves has helped set the tone. It has ‘forced’ people to put themselves out there and be part of the community. Maybe it could also be assumed that if people didnt have the technical skills to create an artefact and upload it, that perhaps this was not the right course for them – therefore a clever way of establishing prior knowledge.

    1. G’day Deb, I agree with you. The intro activity certainly does encourage people to put themselves out there. At least when people make the effort, unlike my cop out of using a prior introduction which doesn’t really cut it for #etmooc.

      One of my interests in the above is wondering about how/if this type of activity can be slightly modified to make it more effective in encouraging the connections.

      How have you found the activity for making connections? Made many connections via the introductions? Via your introduction?

      In my own course (a very different context to #etmooc), I’ve been pondering requiring the students to peruse the introductions to form a small “circle of friends/critique”. i.e. make contact with these folk and be sure to comment on/critique their blog posts.

      Mmmm, still haven’t decided.

  5. Hi David, I like your blogpost, and the questions you write down. Where to start as a participant in a mood? I can tell you how I did start connecting. I follow twitter and search for #etmooc. Some tweets are interesting announcements of blogs. I read those blogposts and if I like the post I add a comment. And look at blogposts of other comment-ors if applicable. Some blogposts do inspire me to write a blogpost on a subject. I try to add a number of quotes from other blogs in my post.
    Happy Mooc-ing

  6. I don’t know about anybody else, but when a blog post has caused me to comment, I go and have a look at their intro. It helps me to have more of a picture in my mind of who the person is that I am ‘talking to’. Having said that, I’ve only just looked at yours – you certainly haven’t given much away there!

    Is your course entirely online? How is it different from #etmooc

    1. Your approach to finding out more about an author is similar to what I – and I imagine others – do.

      I take your point about my not having given much away. I have to give some thought to that. It does get in the way of connection making.

      I will be teaching an undergraduate course to pre-service teachers. Initially aimed a little more pragmatically at helping them use technology in their immediate teaching. As part of the course they have to do a 3 week prac teaching stint. I have blogged a bit about the course and my thinking on its redesign.

      Thanks to #etmooc and the comments here, I’m thinking I need to ramp up “walking the walk” around connected learning. There’s a potentially great opportunity with #etmooc going on at around the same time as my course.

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