Friday, 22 February 2013

Why I Dropped out of the #EDCMOOC

Ok, the first thing to say is that up to a point I enjoyed the pre-course discourse and idea sharing, exposure to new ideas and applications. I was encouraged to start this blog, engaged with Twitter in a more meaningful way and learned about quad blogging although I have reservations about the value of this.

However at one point I posted on Facebook about the overwhelming amount of communication, the mind boggling array of  applications being promoted and last but not least I discussed with others on the MOOC more privately about how many of the comments were so inane and irrelevant to the course but felt compelled to red them just in case.

Once the course was fully underway there was an explosion of communication that was impossible to keep up with.These however were not the reasons that I stopped taking part.

It happened that in week one I was away at an exhibition for most of the week and unable to keep abreast of developments despite the support of one of my fellow quad bloggers. Thanks Angela.

What I felt was different about this situation compared to attending a traditional class was that I did not feel connected to the course tutors, in fact apart from the weekly e-mails posting some films and recommending some reading I was not sure what they contributed, perhaps I would have discovered this by completing the course. If it was a traditional course I would have consulted with my tutors, perhaps I could have done that, but to be honest having got behind in the first week of a five week course representing 20% overall I thought there was little point in pursuing it.

I felt there were just too many people enrolled although I should not have been surprised as it is a Massive course. As a result I just did not get a connection to the tutors and for me this is an important factor. Other early activists expressed their feelings that 'their' course was being invaded once it had gone live. I found that quite interesting.

In addition to this I was not that overly happy about being studied by a full time course being run in Edinburgh. I felt that the MOOC was, in the main, set up to serve the full time course and not primarily for the benefit of the MOOC students. I am willing to accept that this is just my feeling about the MOOC and may not be accurate but this is how I perceived it.

I also thought that there was a lot of competition creeping in. Who could produce the best web site, who could embed more snazzy things in them, how many different applications can I use etc. There was even a photo competition. Is this a good thing in a course? I am not sure but it would provide another element for the full time course to study i.e. how the course participants would deal with the competitive element.

So to conclude, I fell behind and then found it difficult to motivate myself to catch up, perhaps this is because there was no cost. I found the size of the class and amount of communication overwhelming, felt disconnected from the tutors and was not happy about being a guinea pig. Will I start another MOOC?  To be honest I am not sure.

One final note regarding MOOCs. There was much discussion about how MOOCs are a panacea for education to all across the world. This is a myth. You have to be able to access to IT, have good network connectivity and a reliable electricity supply. Then there is national censorship and other political controls, I dare say the time will come but it is not now. So MOOCs are not available to all.

There was one student on this course who said that she was not sure how she would keep up as she did not have connectivity at home and probably would not have time in work. She lived in London and not a developing country. Even in affluent societies we forget that there are those who, for a variety of reasons, are not digitally connected.

It would be interesting to hear of the experiences of those who continued longer than I then stopped and those who continue and will complete.


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Attitudes to On Line Social Media

I visited my sister today and we discussed the use of on line social media and in particular Facebook and Twitter.
My sister and her husband are early 60s, I am late 50s ( ooh that hurts) my niece and partner mid 30s and nephew 30.

It was interesting to hear my brother in law sounding quite surprised when I said I used Facebook, I explained why and he sort of understood that it may serve a purpose but my sister seemed to consider any social media as the spawn of Satan.

The younger people present said they used it but it was interesting that my niece felt she had to justify it by saying it was to connect to school mums, her partner was ambivalent to it although he had an account and the 30 yr old said he should use it more to keep in touch.

However it was my own reaction to admitting that I used Twitter was the most strange. I felt quite embarrassed. After making this declaration I felt it necessary to justify my position saying that until enrolling on the Elearning and Digital Cultures MOOC I thought Twitter to be a waste of time but I now found it very useful and that as a result of tweeting I was now accessing more information from a far wider knowledge base than I was previously. It has helped to persuade some opinions in a small way and be persuaded in turn. I did have to admit to myself that I do still feel slightly embarrassed ( I do not embarrass easily) by saying that I read a tweet and even more so if I say I tweeted. Why this should be I have yet to fathom out, perhaps I will have an answer by the end of the MOOC.

So the discussion whilst not in depth, for the sake of family peace, was interesting as it demonstrated not only different opinions of on line social media but the different uses it is put to and how people respond when questioned as to whether or not they use them.
Right enough on this post I am now off to Twitterland so that I can set myself to get embarrassed, a sort of aversion therapy I suppose.

Could this be us MOOCers soon?

Monday, 17 December 2012

Quad Blogg

Here are the deatils of the four members of #EDCMOOC quad 2.
1. Kelcy Allwein - moderately experienced - blog more on internal office network (since 2005) than on the internet
2. Willa Ryerson - new blogger
3. Nigel Thomas been blogging for 2 yrs
4. Angela Towwndrow

Share It

Just added 'Share It' gadget to my blog. It allows viewers to share my blog via Twitter and Facebook. It is found under add gadget > more gadgets on the Blogger layout page.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


I have just added my name to the QuadBlogging group two of the #edcmooc group. I am not sure what I will get from this but it seems worthwhile to give it a go.
There are so many suggestions coming from the people enrolled on the Elearning and Digital Cultures MOOC that, as I posted in FaceBook in the #edcmooc group, it can become overwhelming.
I am flipping between Facebook personal and group lists, Twitter, work and home e-mail, writing two blogs, this one and  Then there are SMS messages, Linkedin, (thanks to Steve Stander for this), my cloud storage, Picassa for pictures, Spotify for music etc etc.

The purposes I use digital  connectivity for are:
keeping up to date with current affairs

My whole life is probably out there in a combination of 1s and 0s which is quite a sobering thought.

The amazing thing is that I think that this is probably a short list compared to what most adolescents use.
Anyway enough for now

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Interactive Technology and International Students

I had an interesting conversation with a lecturer and some students today in a teaching space I had designed.
They all liked the layout which is 4 plectrum tables that seat 6 and divide and fold for greater reconfiguration.
One question that I found interesting was from a student who asked why there was no interactive technology installed.
This was a bit disappointing on one level as the room has a Smart Podium installed but the lecturer was not aware of it, a job for our e-learning team to get to grips with.

On another level I enquired of the student where she came from, it was Hong Kong, and she told me that interactive technology is everywhere.

It then occurred to me that my university, as are many others,are trying to increase recruitment of international students. If we are to do this we need to provide the types of environments and technology they have come to expect. Of course this is not true for all international students but the trend is growing especially for students from the far east.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Triberr test

Just testing Triberr. Thanks to Eric Clark for making me aware on #EDCMOOC
I am amazed that how much activity is going on at #EDCMOOC prior to the course starting.
One thing I was sort of aware of but have had confirmed via #EDCMOOC is the bewildering array of e-learning application available.
I am interested in how Triberr works and what it offers me.