Week 0: Get prepared!


  • This is an open access course—no fees are required to join and participate.
  • For this course to be successful we emphasize, and are are dependent upon, participant contributions and discussions as a means of exploring  how to teach online.
  • Your contributions are what makes the course a success.
  • To become familiar with the requirements of the course, begin by reviewing the different ways you can participant, on the Levels of Participation  page, and the requirements required for completion.
  • We suggest you consider, set aside and schedule regular times each week for the workshop. For those new to learning online, this may seem daunting. Don’t worry, once you become familiar with the weekly process the rest of the workshop will flow for you nicely.

Types of Activities

This type of course is called a ‘connectivist‘ course and is based on the following  types of activity.

  • Pick and Choose 
    • You will have access to a wide variety of things to read, watch or play with. There will be a LOT of content associated with this workshop. You are NOT expected to read and watch everything. Instead, what you should do is PICK AND CHOOSE content that looks interesting to you and is appropriate for you. If it looks too complicated, don’t read it. If it looks boring, move on to the next item.
  • Remix and Repurpose
    • Once you’ve read or watched or listened to some content, your next step is to create something of your own.  Please don’t simply repeat what other people have said. Create something of your own. This is the hardest part. Remember that you are not starting from scratch. Nobody ever creates something from nothing. That’s why we call this section ‘repurpose’ instead of ‘create’. We want to emphasize that you are working with materials you read/watched/listened to. Your goal isn’t to memorize a whole bunch of stuff. Your goal is Practice USING TOOLS. Think of every bit of content you create not simply as content, but as practice using the tool. The content almost doesn’t even matter – what matters is that you apply the tool. This will seem awkward at first, as any tool does. But with practice you’ll become an accomplished creator and critic of ideas and knowledge. And that is the purpose of this workshop!
  • Share (feed forward)
    • We want you to share your work with other people in the course, and with the world. You don’t have to share. You can work completely in private, not showing anything to anybody. Sharing is and will always be YOUR CHOICE. Sharing in public is harder. People can see your mistakes. People can see you try things you’re not comfortable with. It’s hard, and it’s sometimes embarrassing.  But it’s better. You’ll try harder. You’ll think more about what you’re doing. You’ll get a greater reward – people will see what you’ve created and connect on it- sometimes critically- but often (much more often) with support, help and praise. People really appreciate it when you share. After all, what you’re doing when you share is to create material that other people can learn from. Your sharing creates more content for this course. People appreciate that, you will probably appreciate the content other people in the course share with you.


  • Building online learning communities
    • This course is designed to provide participants with an experience of engagement in an online learning community. Online learning communities develop through interaction among participants. Acknowledging, valuing, respecting and accommodating diversity as a combination of similarities and differences plays a central role in fostering and maintaining online learning communities.
  • Playful Learning 
    • During this course you are encouraged participate in playful engagement and make learning fun. Playful learning involves participants taking small risks, playing with ideas, keeping an open mind and making connections where they are not obvious. Participants are encouraged to express their creativity through developing their ability to challenge, question and explore.
  • Reflection
    • A key principle underpinning this course is the emphasis on reflection as a learning process. Reflection on your own learning helps you to take ownership of your learning process. Articulating your reflections makes your thinking available for comment and feedback. Reflection is an important facet in the development of online facilitation skills and strategies required for the establishment and maintenance of online learning communities.

Key Tools 

During week 0 we will  help participants prepare for the distributed nature of this experience. A learning management system (LMS) will not be used. Rather, various “loosely joined”  tools will be used as to provide participants with an authentic, networked-learning experience. Below, you will find the key tools we will be using.
  1. How to Teach Online will act as the central information source for the workshop
  2. BlackBoard Collaborate – We will be offering synchronous sessions throughout the workshop using the web conferencing tool, BlackBoard Collaborate (formerly known as Elluminate).
    1. The  link to the room is found HERE. Be sure to bookmark it.
    2. Also, Collaborate requires a Java install the very first time you use it, so try it well before the session and/or follow this guide for first time users.
  3. Twitter – Twitter has become an essential tool for networking opportunities and just-in-time learning. As you begin to tweet about the course or share relevant resources, please add the #hto hashtag to your post. All tweets with the #hto hashtag will then be found via this Twitter Search.
  4. Course emails  – When you registered for this course, you provided us an email address to email you news, announcements, participant blog posts. If you do not want the email you can unsubscribe in the email.
  5. Webinars Google Calendar – We plan many different events for participants. With your Google account, you’ll be able to subscribe to the Calendar.

To get started  here is what you need:

We encourage is to communicate with your  personal blog. The learning in the course results from the activities you choose to undertake, and will be different for each person. We will ask you to visit other people’s blogs, and create some discussion of your own. Don’t worry if you feel a bit disorientated at first. Your active participation in this course will help you to acquire the skills needed to function in this type of course. The goal is to help help you learn to manage complexity within networked learning environments.

Next: Please read and review

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