Making the most of my MOOC

Yesterday (I think - time gets away) I followed and participated (a little) in a really interesting discussion from a blog titled 'uncomfortable with MOOC' on

I will repeat some of my thoughts here.

The post was thought provoking post and generated some really useful discussion. It also complemented some of the issues raised by Tony Bates impressive webinar which was also held that day (if you haven't seen it, it's really worth catching the recording). Tony talked about some of the challenges re designing MOOCs. I really liked his comment that just because it is open and learner directed doesn’t mean you cant give learning outcomes which set some kind of standard/guide especially re participation. I loved his example of “identify at least half a dozen people from the participants that you will be happy to continue to share ideas and network with after the course”.

As shared by other participants, I too have spent a lot of time in the last week reflecting on what is causing my areas of discomfort (this is my first MOOC) and trying to define some meaningful learning goals of my own (and what outcomes I can realistically achieve though my participation).

I don't doubt I will learn something significant, even if it is being put in the uncomfortable non-driving seat of the learner (that’s got to be meaningful). I am focused this week on looking for what tools and opportunities are available through this MOOC to help me achieve this, how I can create my own structure and finding strategies that work for me. The discussion thread helped a lot and provided some good practical suggestions (eg. just scanning titles in the feed and following up what looks like it fits with, or challenges, my goals, interest and/or thoughts; bookmarking blogs of interest for ease of check-in).

A MOOC is free but it's still our time. We are making the commitment to participate but we also have to make a commitment to be responsible for our own learning. So what have I done?

I started with revisiting and reality checking my expectations
  • What did I come to the MOOC wanting to get out of it?
  • What can I realistically get out of it?
  • What can I do to make this most likely to happen (I am an adult responsible for my own learning)

I cant answer all of these questions yet.

But a clear goal is to have access to some inspiring educators and I have (both from the facilitators arranged for us and increasingly I am discovering amongst my participant peers). I am articulating this learning outcome as "to develop and build on my personal learning network."

blogging – a course chore or a portal into an online community of peers?

It was really worthwhile participating in the orientation sessions for the MOOC - How to teach online. Just joining the webinars and dealing with losing the connection was in itself worthwhile. Especially enjoyed learning from the perspective of @suewaters on how to create engaging blogs (not just because she was a fellow Australian but because she was practical, realistic and inspiring). Now to put some of her wisdom into practice....

What do I know about blogs? Not much, except I pop in and read a few. I started a blog earlier in the year ( for another online course called 'Using Social Media with learners'. I started off all keen then it dropped off pretty quickly. What did I learn? Despite the fact I said the blog was 'just for me' and 'to record my personal journey', the lack of comments did impact on my motivation. There are so many social media platforms and only so much time, the blog seemed to come last and then not at all. I need a whole new set of skills on how to manage myself in the digital information age.

During this course I look forward to the blog being like a window or portal into an online network of peers. I also like the idea of this blog spring boarding into my own e-portfolio. Both provide opportunities to 'live' beyond the course.

And we begin

Tuned into my orientation session this morning, which was both helpful and brief (both good things) and in another hour log in for a webinar on how to make the most of this blogging.

This blog is really a test, and to introduce myself.

I am a learning and development practitioner of many years (15+) currently enjoying a career break (voluntary redundancy although not really of my choosing). I am using this time for personal and professional development and am especially looking for opportunities to develop my knowledge and skills in online and flexible learning.

My intention when registering for this workshop was to build my skills as a learning and development practitioner in terms of online learning.  I also was keen to participate in a MOOC and this topic seemed ideal for the focus of my professional development. Being a MOOC I also look forward to building my professional networks and contacts and learning from my peers.

I am excited about the idea of collaborative learning and information sharing among participants.

How to teach online – my journey 2013-08-26 22:12:00

Just signed up for “How To Teach Online” an 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."

Participant contributions and discussions as a means of exploring how to teach online are a necessary part of this MOOC and therefore this new blog.
The topics are:
Looking forward to it.