My First Badge for the cMOOC Teaching Online

A great way to end an incredible learning experience - my first badge to certify that I successfully finished my first cMOOC How to Teach Online! It is one thing to have been reading all of the discussion out there about MOOCs - are they good, bad, etc, etc... - and quite another to actually participate in one. I am happy that I chose a cMOOC, as my inauguration to this kind of online learning and look forward to continuing my personal growth and professional development using this format in the future. In addition to regular participation in the course, the final task to qualify for the badge required completing a final reflection that responded to the following questions:
I. How will you apply the “fundamentals of online teaching” in your own teaching?
In past years I have taught instructional design using the ADDIE framework. As I consider the question of how to apply the Fundamentals of Online Teaching, I believe this model integrated with Bates’ Nine steps to quality online learning provides a structure for how to think about this. 
So, for example, as I get ready to develop a course – OL and/or Blended – starting with the first step, ANALYZE THE CONTEXT, I will ask myself the following questions:
What are the environmental considerations for this course and how will the online components work?
Who are my students and what kinds of strategies do I think would best suit their needs?
Are there any colleagues I might be able to work with to develop and/or teach this course?
What resources do I already have and what’s missing?
Are there any new technology tools or strategies that I want to infuse into the course and, if so, how will I prepare to make sure I’m ready to use them effectively?
II. How will you “build rapport” with your distance learners?
I liked the 5 Factors for Building Rapport and put them into an acronym, of sorts, called PROACtive:
POSITIVE ATTITUDE: I will establish this right from the start in my introductory video and model throughout the course
RESPECT: I will both model and clearly articulate my expectations for this in the course environment guidelines.
OPEN COMMUNICATION: I will emphasize at the beginning that I believe in an open communication approach and establish regular virtual office hours
APPROACHABILITY: see above
CARING: I will follow up with students who are missing classes or seem to be having trouble in the course. Use a quick STOP, START, CONTINUE survey on a regular basis to let students know that I care about their learning experience and use their input to improve the course.
TIVE…
I value and currently work hard to develop these factors in my F2F teaching and understand that online, where students can feel alienated, it is particularly important to be intentional about building rapport. In addition to modeling these attributes in my teaching, and using some of the strategies mentioned above, I think paying attention to online attendance and having regular synchronous meetings with students – both team and individual – should help to establish and maintain a good level of interaction and communication
III. How will you “build community” in your online courses?
I am familiar with the COI model and appreciated having a chance to explore more specific ideas about how to implement it in a course. I think the power of this model is that it can used to inform good OL teaching practice and it can be integrated into basically every stage in the ADDIE instructional design process:
ANALYZE: use to frame and develop the questions I listed in the fundamentals section above.
DESIGN & DEVELOP: use as a way of organizing and framing rich social interactions – i.e. levels of interaction: learner to teacher, learner, content, interface – content, and instructional strategies to help engage and build community.
IMPLEMENT: use as a quick formative check for how well the dimensions are being addressed and developed throughout the course
EVALUATE: Use the framework to analyze how well the course supported the cognitive, social and teacher presence dimensions, as well as what areas would need shoring up in a subsequent implementation.
In addition, technology is a major factor in building an infrastructure to support community. For example, tools like email, chat, café forum, bookmarking and web conferencing can reinforce networking and communication within the learning community [i.e. learner-teacher and learner-learner interactions], while the LMS, as the central hub, and a social bookmarking tool like Diigo, or Flipboard can be used to strengthen learner-interface, learner-content and learner-interface interactions.
IV. How will you create a “natural critical learning environment” in your online courses?
I have always been a fan of the Socratic approach and understood its benefits, but was not familiar with the other critical questioning types. While planning I do refer to Bloom’s and so liked that these questions map onto the cognitive levels providing a means for promoting higher order thinking. I think using critical questioning effectively takes some effort time before it becomes a regular habit of practice. This is particularly true for educators who are used to delivering content as opposed to taking students through the more difficult task of getting them to express their understanding [some students just want the easy way out – tell me what I need to learn to pass].
Using a blog as an inquiry journal to document and process students’ learning is a great way to develop critical thinking. From a teacher perspective, another strategy that I have occasionally used, but will be more intentional about in future, is starting off lessons and units with clearly marked thought provoking essential questions or statements to get their attention and hopefully hook them in. In addition, I’ll work to develop divergent and evaluative types of questions to encourage more interactive discussion forums. I've also been thinking that I might have student teams help develop questions and moderate the discussions to tap into topics that are relevant to the their peers and get them more actively involved.
V. How will you create “active, authentic learning environments” in your online courses?
Authentic Learning all the way! This is the area that I plan to focus on most over the next weeks. I believe that infusing authentic learning activities that are experiential and problem based will enhance the cognitive, social, and teaching dimensions of the online community. Like others in the course have expressed, I also think technology can be used to foster authentic learning experiences and, if designed well pull together all of the elements that have been identified in this course as effective OL teaching.
I already integrate a lot of technology into my practice and because of this don’t feel as nervous or intimidated about trying out new tools. Transitioning to authentic learning across all of my courses, however, is going to be much more of a challenge. In my technology course, which is currently my most successful authentic course, my goal has been to help students understand some current trends and get them engaged in action research projects involving a technology implementation in some area that will benefit either their professional development or classroom teaching. Students love this course and constantly tell me how much they have learned.
My goal now is to see if I can create a similar level of authenticity in my other courses. Ed Psychology, for instance, is a dense course that can be dry and overly theoretical. I will use the process I have outlined above to re-evaluate how I am currently teaching this course and then start unit-by-unit [baby steps] to infuse authentic learning activities. My hope is that some day I will be smart enough to create a problematic scenario that encompasses all of the concepts for the entire course, and brave enough to actually do it. I think that would be totally amazing!

WK5 – Not with a whimper but a bang?

The Community Wall is looking pretty quiet, but I feel compelled to add my last response. Too little too late – apologies for that – but I take solace in that I still made it by the last day of WK5!

WHAT? SOME HIGHLIGHTS
Loved this week’s topic and enjoyed the Morrison and panel webinars! 
This is something I took from Barrel, PBL: A Foundation for 21st Century Skills. His focus and examples are K-12, but the chapter provides a good overview along with the following practical guidelines for Developing Curricula for PBL:
1.  Identify a Topic
2. Map out the concept
3. Consult & integrate standards [if applicable]
4. Generate set of intended unit outcomes or objectives & specify essential questions that demand students engage in 21st Century skills – questioning, problem solving, critical/creating thinking, hypothesizing and reflecting – i.e. complex thinking

5. Design a problematic scenario that will spark students’ interest and provide a structure for the entire unit. Incorporate knowledge and understanding of the essential concepts of the unit into the intended outcomes
6. Formulate strategies that include inquiry approaches like KWHLAQ for observing artifacts and generating good questions. Students are actively involved and should lead this process.
7. Assessment. Use problematic scenario as a summative assessment. During unit, assess quality of students’ understandings using short-answer quizzes; essays, brief research reports; writings in inquiry journals. Inquiry journals contain initial questions; and daily, weekly, and/or final reflections on important ideas learned, process of inquiry, application of ideas to other subjects, new arising questions, and how ideas correspond to their own lives.

There was also some great discussion on the community wall, and I particularly enjoyed posts by Jims & Leanne related to the question of why authentic learning isn’t more common. Jims threw out some great ideas: maybe AuthenticLearning Isn’t More Common – Because It’s Too Common? or because we don’t really know what it is; and that perhaps authentic learning should be approached as attitude toward teaching that “makes the most of the instructional environment to simulate real-world conditions.”  Leanne added“perhaps it should involve more than attitude. Shouldn’t authentic learning be a movement in teaching where the instructional environment approaches real-world conditions?”

I would add that perhaps the artificial, disconnected manner in which our educational system has evolved has distracted us away what authentic learning really is. Or, for those educators who have not forgotten, maybe they feel they have to cave in to the pressure of teaching to the test or other institutionally imposed demands? Or [and I think this is where I fit in] perhaps there is a fear that if we go purely authentic learning, students might not ‘get’ it all. Of course the other side of that is that they will likely get it all plus so much more! This week provided some great insights into how we can still remain true to our responsibilities as educators while adopting more progressive practices that will better prepare our learners for the real world. 

SO WHAT?
I know that there is a big hole in my current practice and have always been a believer of authentic learning - love the Experiential/PBL ideals. As I started reading the materials, one of the first things that came to mind was the WebQuest – an activity that some of my students like to do as their final project in my educational technology course [which, by the way, is the most authentic of all my courses. Why? Because I am helping them to develop technology skills that they will be using in their future professional development and practice!]. I’ve created my own version for my Ed Psych course, called a BrainQuest, where I set up a scenario and have students look through various resources, etc. I now realize that though my spirit has been in the right place, this activity is in essence a traditional activity disguised in a want-to-be authentic wrapper. It needs a serious overhaul as does, I'm currently feeling, most of my coursework.

The theme of authentic learning really strikes to where I think I need the greatest change. I also sense that it is going to require the biggest conceptual shift; more so I suspect, than transitioning from F2F to OL [I've always bought into the importance of technology integration]. This will require a leap of faith, and truly rethinking the WHY I do what I do while focusing a little less on the WHAT [hearkening back to the Sinek Ted Talk].

NOW WHAT?
One step at a time, right? I'm feeling inspired to revaluate my practice and to infuse what I’ve learned and ‘relearned’ through this course. As I start writing my final reflection, my goal will be to outline a practical strategy and timeline for doing this. I’m thinking I will use some of the frameworks explored in this MOOC to do an analysis of my courses and identify where the big holes are. From there I'll decide where I want to start.  The timing for this couldn’t be more ideal as I am currently on sabbatical and, for once, feel that I will actually have time to adequately work on this before resuming my teaching in the New Year.  Thanks everyone for a great learning experience!

Time to make sense of the chaos


Response to Weeks 3 & 4

I've been busy working on another project but happily all things have been interconnected, and so I have been applying and thinking about a lot of the topics we’ve been looking at. I’ve gone through the Community Wall and added a response here and there.  My head continues to spin with all of the materials and postings in the course. I worry that I wont be able to do it all justice, and that time is running out. In spite all this, it has been great to be part of this MOOC. The different perspectives, insights, and experiences shared make me feel that I’ve been a part of something very special! 
We’re near the end and I still have to create my Week 5 activity and final reflection to go for that badge [it will be my first!] So here is a combined response for Weeks 3 & 4...

WHAT- HIGHLIGHTS 
Wk 3: Create Community: Connect Learners with Each Other 
COI Model - appreciated the review and the discussion helped to embed it more in my mind and also gave me some good examples for each dimension



4 Levels of Interaction
Learner
-> Teacher; -> Learners; -> Content; -> Learning Environment interface

Interactive Discussions - lots of food for thought, great ideas, and exemplars

Wk 4: Create a Natural Critical Learning Environment
Bain – What Makes Teachers Great
Hook -> intriguing question or problem
Buy In -> students understand the significance
Self-Directed -> students solve problem or question
Get their attention and keep it
Start with students
Get commitment
Be available out of class
Interdisciplinary approach - real world

Sinek TED Talk
- Not about the WHAT but WHY [beliefs]
- Those who lead inspire and encourage others to follow for their own beliefs

Elder: Taking Ownership Through Thinking
- Content = Thinking
- Help students to understand a discipline using the thinking structures within that discipline

Wilson (2002) 4 Critical Questioning Strategies
- Convergent: Blooms lower levels; CFU
- Divergent: Blooms upper; discussion forums
- Evaluative: Blooms upper cognitive & affective
- Socratic: best strategy for promoting critical thinking

SO WHAT?   
I am constantly struck by how familiar I am with many of the concepts introduced in this course, as well as how many connect to the learning theories and principles I teach in Ed Psych. But then that leads me to TWO questions:

Q1. If we know all of these things why aren't we all amazing teachers? This is similar to the point that bmcpherson makes “However, if becoming an outstanding teacher merely entails implementing recommended best practices, then there would be many more outstanding teachers than there currently are. Clearly, there are good and bad (or more and less effective) ways to implement these practices. There seem to be things that cannot simply be borrowed, copied, or plugged into courses. I am wondering what are these less tangible attributes that are the essential characteristics of the best teachers.” in his post Given the differences between teaching face to face… 

This got me thinking about what I call, in my comment to his post, the recipe approach. We are all looking for those elements that will make us great teachers – that’s why we’re taking this MOOC right? – but what I am starting to think is: a) having all the right ingredients doesn’t necessarily result in the ability to make an outstanding cake – there is something that each individual instructor brings to a course that is unique; and b) do we really all want to be making the same cake anyway?  I think that’s why the Sinek video on focusing on the WHY – our beliefs and passions – and not on the WHAT –  outcomes, something our educational system seems to thrive on – really resonated with me. Yes we need to be student-centric, but we also need to start with ourselves, our passions and our beliefs. Maybe that's the difference?

Q2. Of all of the things we have talked about in this course, how much is really only applicable to online teaching? As I’ve been reading the materials I find I’m constantly saying to myself, “Well that's just good teaching!” Clearly there are some things – like developing technology skills – that are paramount for successful online teaching. But I keep asking this question, "What really is the difference between good F2F and OL teaching?"

WHAT NOW?
I'm at the point where I need to sort through the reams of notes, synthesize, and process to make sense of it all. I’m feeling like it’s time to transition out of the random sampling I've been doing and into pulling things together into some sort of coherent framework. That sounds quite traditional and academic, but that's the only way I know how to sense out of the chaos - make connections, look for some patterns [so that, as in the image, I can distinguish what's camouflaged]. And then knowing me, I'll probably try to turn that into some sort of visual summary.

Continuing the Discussion on "Creating Effective OL Discussions"

I finally got to review the Farmakis webinar (Prezi presentation, Video recording) and found these tips really helpful: providing clear protocols/guidelines; using subjective or opinion rich questions; and providing rubrics along with good examples.

As we come to the end of Wk 3: Create Community - Connect Learners with Each Other, I'd like to attempt to bring the topic of OL Discussions back up to the top of the Community Wall, because the general consensus seems to be that discussions are the heart of online teaching but yet quite possibly the most difficult element to implement effectively.

I'd like to start by referencing this discussion thread that Ed initiated a few days ago, first because I want to capture it in my blog, but also because I appreciate what he shared. I was hoping that others might consider contributing some practical examples of how they create, facilitate, and evaluate discussions in their courses.



I've just clipped a couple of the examples from Ed's posts. He mentioned that he likes to create discussion topics that promote reflection & opinion, and sees his role as keeping things on topic and connecting in relevant bits of information from the course material that are not coming up in the discussion. Without seeing the rubrics it is hard to get the full picture, but I was very interested in the criteria that he mentioned here:

"Discussion Boards and Blogs Grading Criteria….
1. Demonstration of understanding of the issues involved in the posted question or material.
2. Response incorporates material and/or concepts from the course in a relevant way.
3. Response makes a meaningful contribution to the discussion.
4. Response takes a personal viewpoint that is supported by evidence, facts, and/or especially information from the course.
5. The quality of the writing of the response is appropriate for a 200-level college course. The response is written in complete sentences and paragraphs with correct spelling and punctuation."

and in a follow up post:

"My plan, as a result of the discussion that came up during the webinar, is to use a rubric to give the students a rubric with the criteria for outstanding, mediocre, and poor discussion board postings.  I would also like to use a short assignment early in the course in which the student is asked to apply the rubric to one of their own postings to the discussion board. I think this assignment can increase the quality of the postings and:

1. Help to confirm their familiarity with the rubric.
2. Reduce the amount of intervention necessary to keep the discussion on topic and appropriate by including references to this in the rubric.
3. Allow me to focus my postings and replies on reinforcement, encouragement, scaffolding around the more difficult concepts and principles, and asking additional questions. "


I really like this idea of students self-evaluating their postings. Maybe as a precursor to this, as part of an orientation to the discussion boards, it might also help to demonstrate application of the rubric to some random posting example? This demonstration could even be created using screencasting and included in the reference materials?

Personally, I do not have a lot of experience with creating rich online interactions so Ed I hope you, and others, will continue to share your knowledge and insights. I am always looking for rich examples, and so in that spirit I'll end with a couple of resources I found:

A great example of a discussion assignment from from Garrison & Vaughn (2008) Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles, & Guidelines http://communitiesofinquiry.com/blhighered

























A resource from Edutopia Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation which I thought provided some good insights and tips, including this one here for icebreakers


Multi Access Learning Framework

I was really excited to see this article from Irvine et al. (2013) as it addresses some of the very thoughts that I've been having around how to pull together the best elements from learning theory - can't forget our foundations :0) -  along with what we have been learning about MOOCs and Online Learning into a model that makes sense for those of us in Higher Education. The article references the works of:
  • Brown & Campione's Fostering a Community of Learning [FCL] - research-share-perform; 
  • Bruner's 4 Aspects of FCL - agency, reflection, collaboration & culture; and 
  • Code's Agency Model - personal, proxy, and collective 
to establish a theoretical foundation for their Multi-Access Framework. They define Multi-Access Learning as a means of enabling students, in F2F and/or OL contexts, to personalize their learning experience while participating in a course.  The framework consists of 4 Tiers:

Tier 1 - F2F: traditional classroom teaching & learning
Tier 2 - Synchronous: both F2F & OL through web conferencing.
Tier 3 - Asynchronous: OL access to archives of F2F classes + collaborative activities that support co-construction of meaning
Tier 4 - Open Learning: following the xMOOc & cMOOC approach, non-credit students are able to access the course at no cost & the learning community has potential for global reach.

As I see it Tiers 1-3 describe Blended Learning. But the authors claim that this model is different
from BL as it places the student at the centre. Though this doesn't fit with a lot of the materials I have been reading, which advocate BL as an opportunity for focusing on the students through engaging them in active learning, I did see the authors' point that it is ultimately the instructor who controls what the blend looks like. Apparently, in this model, the student has full choice.

Aside from the theoretical underpinnings [which satisfy the academic world that I live in] what I like about the framework is that it attempts to find a cohesive model for bringing together the best of F2F & OL - including what xMOOCs [mastery learning] and cMOOCs [connectivist/constructivist] can bring to the learning experience when opened up beyond the university. As someone who loves visuals and frameworks to help organize my thinking and connect different concepts, this is the best representation I have found to date that encapsulates my current thinking on the future possibilities for online teaching and learning.

Reference: Irvine, V., Codes, J., & Richards, L. (2013). Realigning HIgher Education for the 21st Century Learner through Multi-Access Learning. JOLT Vol. 9 No. 2 June 2013 http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no2/irvine_0613.pdf

Review: Sue Waters Webinar

I was really sorry to have missed the live session of Sue's webinar on "The Art of Blogging: How to connect, interact & build rapport with students" but really appreciated having access to the archive. For me it has been the most engaging session I've reviewed so far - as I watched I kept wishing that I had been there to engage in the conversation and ask questions.

Here's why it worked for me:

  1. Interactive Discussion vs. Presentation: Sue modeled good web conferencing practice. She asked questions, had attendees respond to a question by writing on the whiteboard, got us to think about our own personal experiences [to help us think about how best to get our students engaging in blogs], and encouraged us to think critically about different tools.
  2. Engaged in Some Good Focussed Distraction: The discussion went on an interesting detour that included topics/tools related to online teaching - e.g. how our MOOC facilitators are creating the newsletter using mailchimp, how to make good use of flipboard, pinterest - but then came back around to the main topic of blogging. 
  3. Practical Focus: Sue talked about how things work, and pointed to examples, to help us understand how we might use these tools in our own practice. 
  4. Excellent Resources: Some great resources and exemplars where shared throughout the discussion - see list below
This was the first presenter, that I really felt has taken the time to look at what we've been doing in the MOOC and, because of this, she was able to comment and engage discussion on how we have been experiencing the different tools that are being used in the MOOC - newsletter, flipboard, twitter, G+, blog/community wall, individual blogs.

Other themes with visuals in the session:
How Blogs are Used: Thought blogs are used for a variety of purposes, and are popular in the classroom, they are also a powerful tool for making global connections and engaging in personal reflection. 

Sue described the Blogging Stages: tears, anger, awe - that time when things click and you start to get it. I think I may be in the awe stage myself. After a few years of dabbling, I feel like I'm starting to finally see the point of why blogging can be a great tool [and enjoying it too!].

What Have I Struggled With in Blogging and Why? I wrote down: Purpose - is the blog for me,
my students, others? Time - never enough; and Awkwardness - about what I'm writing, the quality of my writing, etc.  I appreciated Sue's response that our blogs should just reflect things we are interested in, and be a means for processing our own personal learning.
I haven't used blogs enough with my students to note whether or not I've see the audience effect in my courses, but I think there is something to this.

As for the impact of blogs on learning, I do believe that if properly implemented they can have a positive effect. Sue gave some good tips: starting small, providing good guidelines for students, and thinking up front about structure. I liked the example of using a single blog and having students use specific tags - which then get fed to another 'group' page on the blog - vs. trying to manage multiple individual student blogs. Still trying to get my head around the mechanics of how that would work. 

How Would I Use Blogging in the Future? Aside from trying to keep my own blog, I am still pretty new at integrating this tool in my teaching. I did recently have moderate success using a blog for a course: http://edu505f12.blogspot.com/  Though I liked using the pages, and the idea of a collaborative journal, I felt that the discussions were not as rich. In future I need to think about how to make the discussions more authentic and relevant to the students.




Webinar Session Resource Links
The State of Educational Blogging: http://theedublogger.com/2013/08/08/the-state-of-educational-blogging-2013/

Sue Waters Blog http://suewaters.com/

Eric example remixing: http://erictremblay.blogspot.com/2013/09/week-1-teaching-online-is-critical.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+E-learningAcupuncture+%28e-Learning+Acupuncture%29

Sue's Flipboard: https://flipboard.com/section/education%2C-technology-%26-blogging-tips-bOGSm4
Flipboard guide to subscribing, curating & sharing: http://theedublogger.com/2013/06/12/flipboard/

Pinterest Boards on Tech Tools: http://www.pinterest.com/edublogs/boards/

Brent's Course blog: http://blogs.leeward.hawaii.edu/ed279/

Edublogs in Action http://menudemo.edublogs.org/
- includes an example of good Blog Guideline Page: http://menudemo.edublogs.org/blog-guidelines/

English Teacher Blog- example of clear structure: http://engten.edublogs.org/

WEEK 1 Artifact & Reflection

The artifact I created is essentially a summary of my journey this past week that includes keywords, visuals,  and snippets of things that stuck. Like some others, I thought I'd try at different tool - PowToon was fun to use! I suggest this might be a lot more interesting than the lengthy reflection that follows.



Making Sense of Week 1
It's almost the end of WK1 & my head is spinning. I've reviewed a lot of materials over the last days and due to other commitments had trouble attending all of the live webinars - I just managed to squeeze in Bates' presentation but wasn't in a clear headspace to get a lot out of it or contribute to the discussion. I have, however, enjoyed reading his work in the past did find the 9 Steps interesting:

  1. Decide how you want to teach online.
  2. Decide what kind of online course you and your students need.
  3. Work in a team. 
  4. Build on existing resources.
  5. Master the technology.
  6. Set appropriate learning goals for online learning.
  7. Design course structure and learning activities
  8. Communicate, communicate, communicate
  9. Evaluate and innovate
#5Master the Technology, presents a problem for me. How many teachers have time to master the technology before implementing it? If they feel they have to master it, chances are they may never use it. In my work, I advocate a one step at a time approach - select a tool, try and learn what you can, and let your students work with you and explore how well it contributes to the learning process. This approach connects with #3, Work in a Team, as my students become the team. Sometimes it is hard to connect with other colleagues.

Activity Reflection
KEYWORDS: enormity, chaos, head spinning, time consuming, challenging, barriers, energizing

What I did this week
I consumed a lot of material - readings, videos, pots, blog or group posts, sites... I jumped all over the place, and at times that made me feel totally overwhelmed and fragmented. But I'm committed to using this MOOC as an opportunity to embrace the chaos and not let my old ways influence or close me off to the experience. As for sense making I've tried to document as much as possible so that I dont get totally confused, lost and flustered [I like to think of myself as being organized. If I couldn't remember where I read something [there's just too much out there] I just went with it. I used my Diigo AboutMOOCs group, a handwritten journal, Evernote, monitored the Hangout and, occasionally, #tomooc. After culling for my own learning, in the Hangout, I went back through the posts and+1 all the references that I thought were useful, hopefully as a sign of my appreciation and to be a collegial. I usually only commented when I had something to add.

I like to think of myself as an open, progressive educator, but this course is showing me how linear and traditional I can be [sad but true]. I got involved in this MOOC because I wanted to learning about online teaching, experience an innovative MOOC - the cMOOC fits my philosophy - and thought I was ready. But the truth is that it's going to take a lot of work to rewire all those years of learning how to survive in academia and traditional schooling.

So What?
And to what end? The more I read - and by the way get excited about the possibilities - the more depressed I'm becoming about the state of education. What are the chances that I can actually bring this into my practice? I'm already fighting with my students to take ownership of their learning. Our educational system is so rigid and stuck in their ways. 

Challenges:
A few years ago I moved away from our institutional LMS as I felt constrained and wanted to be able to personalize my own online learning environment. This lead me to a line of research on participatory action research and personalizing virtual spaces - I've talked about this here: http://commons.pacificu.edu/edufac/17/

I've been really pleased with this direction, although it's a hard sell to the administration and even to my students [though most of them get it and appreciate it]. Then surprise, surprise, today I was listening to Stephen Downes talk about personal learning vs. personalized learning and realized that what I've created is a means of personalizing my own teaching & learning but not my students! I've got to go rethink that...

So this led to a question, can MOOCs really fit in education as it currently exits? I want my students to learn to be independent, self directed, and more importantly I want them to go out and teach that way. But how does that work when we are constrained by a system that focuses on marks - and especially for k-12 teachers - testing? cMOOCs are great, but I'm thinking it's going to be a hard sell.

What Next?
How do we effect change? I have to rethink, completely rethink what I've been doing.
I have a lot to learn.
I have to figure out how to practice what I believe is my responsibility as an educator within the constraints of my field as it currently exists and help my students see... [how do I do that?]

AboutMOOCs

https://groups.diigo.com/group/about_moocs
I created this Open Diigo group called AboutMOOCs. I've been linking in resources from the 'How To Teach Online' course, Google+ and #tomooc groups, as well as adding others related to MOOCs as I come across them. My thought is to create a central resource base that can be used to help my learning and future teaching, but also to take this opportunity to explore social bookmarking .

WK0: GETTING MYSELF PREPARED

  1. What is your intention for this course (why are you here)? I'm here to learn about this approach to learning so that I can be more effective teaching online for my students. As I am by nature more constructivist leaning, the philosophical orientation of the cMOOC really resonates for me.
  2. What issues do you think are important? Collaboration, community, personalization, self-directed learning, creativity, challenging paradigms
  3. How will you contribute? Share any additional materials that I find, and, when I feel I have perspective to offer, share any thoughts that might contribute to the discussion. On a personal level, I am committed to making connections & documenting/reflecting on my experience through my blog.
  4. How would you like to see community develop among participants? Not sure. I'm thinking it will evolve organically, but guess I would like to see respectful interactions, constructive feedback so that we all feel encouraged/comfortable enough to participate, as well as, concise thoughtful postings as there will be so much material to engage.
  5. These types of courses are new for most people. In fact about 90% don’t even participate. How will you overcome the fear of learning in the open and the frustration of using new technology? How do you plan to courageously work through any setbacks, and not give up? I've been teaching technology for several years and so by now am fully used to the frustration it brings - I'm still here :0) I see this as a chance to play with some tools that I just havent had time to explore. My challenge is figuring out what tool or combination of tools work best for me in terms of capturing, organizing resources and documenting my learning process. I already feel that my fear of the open environment is subsiding - I just created an open public diigo group, About MOOCs, for this course. I'm challenged by the recognition of how stuck I am in a linear learning approach but open to confronting that. I'm intuitively drawn to the Chaotic domain, as described in Cormier's reference to Snowden's model, and agree this exploration of MOOCs fits best in this dimension, but am not yet used to working comfortably in it. 

First post

Getting ready to sign up for my first cMOOC [just learned the difference between cMOOC and xMOOC]. Excited, and a bit nervous, but really looking forward to learning and making connections

How To Teach Online” is a massive, open, online course (MOOC) that takes a broad view of teaching online. This five-week MOOC is for instructors of all experiences who teach online. Whether you are new to online teaching or want to improve your craft of teaching, “How To Teach Online” is a great place to share, connect, and learn from others around the world.
This is an open-access MOOC – no fees are required to join and participate. For this MOOC to be successful, we emphasize and are dependent upon, participant contributions and discussions as a means of exploring how to teach online. Your contributions are what makes the MOOC a success.
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