A while ago I blogged about why there was a need for a “finish line” in e-learning activities. In that post, I was focusing on why regulators of organisations are so focused on pouring a defined amount of content onto the learners who utilise it – and I’m sure I’ll be picking this up again soon now what I’m in my new role, but I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the first week of #OutstandingMOOC.
I’d seen this one coming up a while ago, but I’ve always struggled in the past to find time to fully participate in MOOCs I’ve signed up to. Actually, I feel the need to validate that statement. I’ve not necessarily struggled to find the time, as they really don’t need to take up that much time, I guess I’ve never managed to get a hook into the previous MOOCs I’ve done, or found the best way round interacting with it. So needless to say, I wasn’t going to delve into this MOOC, but my arm was suitably twisted and I figured I would give it a go:
— Craig Taylor (@CraigTaylor74) September 16, 2015
After signing up, it wasn’t the first time I’ve used Curatr – and I have to admit, I was a little bit disappointed to see the familiar “circles” interface gone (I’m sure there was probably a good reason for this) – but having moved into the first part of the course, the familiar format of article left placed and “forum” to the right was still retained. The simplicity of usage is the thing which makes Curatr such a great platform to use – even those who haven’t used it can very quickly get a hang of how to use it, and how to interact. The first thing which struck me about this MOOC was that the users were more actively interacting with each other than I’ve seen before (maybe we’re all just getting better at doing MOOCs?) – but rather than everyone just commenting about the question, many people were choosing to reply to someone else’s comment – and at such an early stage in the MOOC, that was nice to see. The thing for me which has made the most difference though – is my own mindset. My very first comment posted on the introduction thread included:
I have no idea what I’ll create in weeks 3/4 – or even if I’ll make it that far – but I look forward to exploring some more theory and concepts along the way.
I’ve gone into this MOOC completely in the knowledge that I genuinely couldn’t care less if I “create” something in the next few weeks – maybe I will find some inspiration (and time), maybe I won’t – but I’ve set my head into the space that I’m just going to get from the MOOC what I can and I’ll see what happens. With this mindset, I’ve found it much easier to drop in once or twice a day, just to do another activity or two, then dip out of it again. I don’t feel like I have to sit here for hours doing every activity (although I’ve found myself going back to previous levels to complete tasks I hadn’t previously done) but it’s nice to just drop in for 5-10 minutes and think about something new/differently. At this stage (and we’re only mid-way through week two) I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve learnt anything new, but the process of engaging in conversation with others around quite simplistic concepts is very much appealing – and finally, I’ve found myself enjoying a MOOC.
I still don’t know if I’ll produce something in the next few weeks, or whether I’ll just settle with the discussion and theory which has been covered – but what I do know is that I’ve enjoyed the interaction far more than I have any other course I’ve accessed in a long time, and I have maintained a desire to keep coming back, and keep learning little bits from the course and the people on it – but most of all, I’ve learnt that I’m learning far more than I would have if someone prescribed to me how I should learn and when I should start and stop. I don’t need the course to tell me where to start or stop, or how my journey should be – I’ll tell you when I’m finished……