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.



  1. Hi Nigel, Angela did mention the reason you stopped quad blogging.I'm sorry, because I think the viewpoints that you might have shared would have given me different perspectives. I have learned a great deal and found this Mooc to be just my cup of tea. I enjoy being a student again,but I also enjoy learning and sharing the journey with others. I have learned so much, because of the connections I've made. I don't know if you have had the time to keep up with my blog, but if you care to look, I share a lot of my learning and my MOOC journey there. My best to you always, Willa

  2. Hello again edcMOOCers!

    Inquiring Minds Want To Know Your Blogging Backstory!

    Many of us in edcMOOC either blogged throughout the course, or used quad- blogging to connect with other edcMOOCers.

    Whether you were a new or experienced blogger, what role did blogging play in your overall edcMOOC experience?

    We want to hear your blogging backstory, and we need your help!
    It’s human!

    A few of us edc alum are writing a short paper about the role of blogging and quadblogging to foster organic peer to peer learning in a mooc.

    Would you please visit our most human survey, which takes a jiffy to complete, to share your invaluable information! Thanks in advance edc moocers for your help!