I’m learning to curb my inner magpie when it comes to all these juicy, flashy MOOCs and free learning opportunities that flow past my Twitter node or pop up in my RSS collection in Netvibes. I comfort myself by storing the ones I’ve resisted in a growing collection in Diigo (I should retitle it WhenIRetire)
But one that I couldn’t resist was the newly launched (European-developed) Handson MOOC
It has a range of titles: “Designing ICT-based Learning Activities” or “Design Studio for ICT-based Learning Activities” or “Hands On MOOC pilot 3”. They can be forgiven the fluctuating course title when you consider the task they have taken on: facilitating a MOOC with 7 language groups over a period of 5 weeks using a model of design adapted for the needs of higher education.
I can’t give you a link to the MOOC cuz it’s one of the ones that really brings into question the limitation of the term “MOOC” as I’d say this may be a massive course but it’s certainly NOT open and is only “connected” in somewhat superficial ways and the core content is hidden in Canvas or within the “dream projects” platform – Integrated Learning Design Environment
I have experienced some serious discomfort with the amount of personal information they seem determined to collect and I dislike the legalese and sign-offs required to participate. I just get a vivid image of some academics rubbing their hands in glee as they watch waterfalls of data come flowing down the Internet pipeline. So much data, so many possibilities for future publications or edtech start-ups.
However, I’m still hoping to learn more about the European perspectives on online education and to tuck some new strategies for developing meaningful learning activities into my back pocket. So, I guess it’s worth becoming research fodder.
I’m impressed by the Canvas environment – nice clean design and lots of functionality that I could see liking if I were teaching in a “walled garden”. I particularly like the listing of activities which constantly updates to keep me on track and tell me if I’ve been successful at the various learning tasks in the first week (not always that easy to be sure you’ve done it right without a fair bit of clicking and scrolling).
I was determined to earn the first badge – not cuz I need the reward but because I wanted to see how well their badging system works. I like the flow of activities (although I think they got a little carried away on the warm-up activities) and I can see the relevance of each one in terms of having me engage with the concept of learning design, their methodology and to begin developing my new online learning community through connecting with the “dreams” of other participants. (Note: We’re asked to describe a project we want to pursue – seems much bigger than just designing a learning activity as per course title?)
Another “aha” moment for me was when I realized that they have integrated storytelling and scenarios into their design approach. I’m just heading into Week 2 and the focus is on “personas” and scenarios. Looking forward to trying this approach – we’ll see if it really helps me to design better learning activities online.
Now, to try and catch up on some of the readings and to find the time for peer reviews!