Design for Living Complexities: Open course begins mid July

This course explores critical thinking about design in a range of areas of life and its complexities. It starts July 18 and continues for 6 weeks. The recorded presentations and subsequent discussion are taking place on google+. See http://bit.ly/designcct for other options for participation (incl. for-credit graduate course) and links to more details about the course. An overview of the course is below. Read more of this post

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Innovations in online education that expand access

This post summarizes a set of my innovations in online education that may be grouped under the umbrella of expanding access—expanding the range of influences on the students’ learning and expanding access to the learning materials from courses. Read more of this post

Design for Living Complexities: an open course has begun

This course explores critical thinking about design in a range of areas of life and its complexities. It started July 14 and continues for 3-4 weeks. The recorded presentations and subsequent discussion are taking place on google+. See http://bit.ly/designcct for other options for participation and links to more details about the course. An overview of the course is below. Read more of this post

To meta-MOOC or not?

I think I’d have reservations if someone came to my regular college course saying that they didn’t want to attend all the lectures and do most of the assignments, but, instead, wanted to have discussions with students about how to rework the classes, study the diverse learning strategies of other students, make connections with competing theories of epistemology, etc.

But this kind of discussion often emerges in a connectivist-MOOC so the question might be just how much metaMOOCing can take place in a c-MOOC before it undermines the core purpose of the course?

This question has extra relevance in a MOOC on learning creative learning, where the central ideas are that Playing with materials as part of a Project, undertaken with Peer interaction is a way to release the Passion that learning ought to be about.  It would be a metaProject to have the LCL MOOC be a project for many people, not only the LifeLong Kindergarten core group.

If you buy my earlier post that there might be a 5th P — Parameters — then metaProjects might be out of bounds.  But it would be interesting — if not this year when the LLK are doing a first run with their new videos and format, then perhaps next year — for a c-MOOC on Learning Creative Learning to encourage metaProjects.  Thoughts?

Originally posted to http://discuss-learn.media.mit.edu/t/to-metamooc-or-not/850

Relevant posts that fed into this one include:

http://discuss-learn.media.mit.edu/t/a-fifth-p-parameters/548

http://discuss-learn.media.mit.edu/t/lets-make-the-live-seminars-amazing-ideas-please/721

http://discuss-learn.media.mit.edu/t/think-listen-share-on-our-learning-process-in-the-lcl2-mooc/177

http://discuss-learn.media.mit.edu/t/what-are-the-non-negotiables-of-creative-learning/826

http://discuss-learn.media.mit.edu/t/when-to-step-away-from-technology/398

 

Think, listen, share on our learning process in the 2014 Learning Creative Learning MOOC

With three others (at times that accommodate international participants), we’re planning hangout events in which we will think, listen, and share about the state of our learning in the 2014 Learning Creative Learning MOOC, http://learn.media.mit.edu.

The first week (March 18-20) we will pay special attention to a “Prepare” step valuable for subsequent participation in the MOOC — or for deciding not to participate this time around. Participants will discuss what type of learning experience we are looking for; what we could put in place to minimize the barriers or challenges; and so on. The hangout will support us to take the time to address these and related questions.

In following 6 weeks, as long as people keep joining the sessions, there will be similar hangouts about the state of our learning, paying special attention each week to 6 more steps of MOOC involvement: Orient, Declare, Network, Cluster, Focus, Reflect. (The sequence here combines 5 steps identified by Dave Cormier, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8avYQ5ZqM0 with pre- and post- steps added by Felicia Sullivan,http://bit.ly/moocsteps .)

The hangout hosts are return LCL participants, whose experience in LCL 2013 led to http://collabex.wikispaces.com, which addresses the needs of online learners who want to dig deeper, make “thicker” connections with other learners, and connect topics with their own interests.

Hangout times during the week: Tues 7.30am, Weds 4pm, Thurs 9am & 8pm. Note: The USA will be on summer time.

RSVP on https://plus.google.com/communities/106132864609383396284/events

Emergent co-exploration in c-MOOCs: A proposal

This post presents a proposal [updated 15&16Feb14] for how to establish a balance between the wealth of potential input that is made available during a connectivist MOOC (c-MOOC) and the need to digest any input.  Some background to why this is an issue is provided below through quotes from or links to previous posts.  Then I include a draft invitation.  But first the proposal:

When you start participating in a new c-MOOC, you look for people whose posts interest you.  You then create a personal google+ “MOOC-feed” circle for that MOOC and recruit five of those people-of-interest to do the same, that is, include you in their personal MOOC-feed circle and recruit four other people whose posts interest them.   (Note: This does NOT imply that you and the other five people all have each other in the one common MOOC-feed circle—see figure below.)  When any of you post to the c-MOOC or want to share someone else’s post, you also share that with your personal MOOC-feed circle.  It’s important to include text to explain the post or the sharing, so that the receivers can see whether it’s a post or link they want to open and read more of.  You need to check periodically for posts shared with you from the others (which you can do by clicking on that circle at the top of your google+ Home page or in the “More” drop down menu at the top of that page).

This structure allows you to spend less time surfing the c-MOOC posts, but without worrying that you are missing out on good stuff.  You probably are, but less than you would have without your MOOC-feed circle (informed by their MOOC-feed circles, etc.) to provide you with a selective subset of what is being posted.  The time you free up is time that you can use to a) digest some of the input and integrate it into your thinking and practice; and b) dig deeper into specific connections.

p.s. Small complication: If you have established your MOOC-feed circle and someone else invites you to join theirs, then, if you accept, you’ll have to add a 6th, 7th, etc. person to your MOOC-feed circle.

Variant: The people you recruit into your personal MOOC-feed circle do not create their own MOOC-feed circles, but they still share with you anything they post to the c-MOOC.

MOOCoutBackground

On balance: Envisage the [c-MOOC as] a space that you enter and leave mindfully.  That is, set limits and give yourself a structure so involvement in the community does not lead you to feel swamped or fragmented or unsure that you can synthesize or keep in mind all the interesting items you are coming across.  To this end, you might allow yourself a delimited amount of time per day, say 30 minutes, to explore online offerings or sharings but you would also preserve an equal amount of time (preferably when you are fresh at the start of the day) to gather your thoughts based on whatever is currently in view or in mind, which may be quite different from what you have to do for your work or project or studies.  Such “refractive practice,” in which you give yourself space to  “connect, probe, and reflect,” makes it less likely that you feel left behind when you don’t follow or respond to every thread that is offered, however worthwhile they seem at first sight (adapted from http://wp.me/1gwfa).

On abundance of input:  The most active people on c-MOOCs seem content (perhaps “addicted”) to a twitterish-scale brevity, frequency, and off-the-cuff-ness.  These people are often involved in educational technology not simply in the topic of the MOOC.  They and other not-so-active participants appreciate the shared links and sometimes create blog posts that show how they are digesting what is discussed and shared.  Some of the not-so-active c-MOOC participants indicate that they are not getting that much from the twitterish-scale exchanges or shared links… (from previous post).

Two weeks ago, I expressed my feelings on this last point by sharing a passage I had just read from a novel, Luminaries (set in goldrush New Zealand in 1860s), p. 262:
He began speaking… by observing that upon a tree there are always dead branches; that the best soldiers are never war-like; and that even good firewood can ruin a stove–sentiments which, because they came in very quick succession, and lacked any stabilizing context, rather bewildered [him]…Impelled to exercise his wit, [he] retaliated with the rather acidic observation that a steelyard always goes with the weights–implying… that his guest had not yet begun speaking with consistency.
Draft Invitation
I’d like to invite you to into an experiment with the aim of a) spending less time surfing the posts for the XYZ MOOC, thus freeing up time to b) digest some of the abundant input mad available and integrate it into our thinking and practice and c) dig deeper into specific connections, yet d) doing a,b,c without anxiety that we are missing out on important exchanges.
What would we do? I include you as one of five people in my personal google+ “MOOC-feed” circle for the XYZ MOOC.  Optional but encouraged: You recruit into your personal MOOC-feed circle and four other people whose posts interest you.   (Note: This does NOT imply that we all end up in the one common MOOC-feed circle—see figure on http://wp.me/p1gwfa-As.)  When any of us post to the MOOC or want to share someone else’s post, we also share that with our personal MOOC-feed circle (or, if you don’t create your own circle, share with me).  (It’s important to include text to explain the post or the sharing, so that the receivers can see whether it’s a post or link they want to open and read more of.)  If you create a MOOC-feed circle, you need to check periodically for posts shared with you from the others (which you can do by clicking on your personal MOOC-feed circle at the top of your google+ Home page or in the “More” drop down menu at the top of that page).
Let me know if you are interested to participate so I can get this going or look for others to join the experiment.

Drawing people into Collaborative Explorations

Collaborative Explorations (CEs) are an extension of Problem- or Project-Based Learning and related approaches to education in which participants address a scenario or case in which the problems are not well defined, shaping their own directions of inquiry.  (More details at http://cct.wikispaces.com/CE)  Online CEs have been running since early 2013 and seem well appreciated by participants.  This post floats some ideas about how to draw more people into CEs.

Observations:

  1. Not everyone who registers for the CE joins the g+ community and participates in the CE.
  2. Not everyone who starts the CE follows through on the commitment made in registering (i.e., come to 1st session and 2 of the other 3).
  3. #2 means that the autobiographical introductions of session 1 are shared with some people who do not stay in and build the 4-week CE community.
  4. Few people have been drawn into a CE connected to a connectivist-MOOC (c-MOOC).
  5. The most active people on c-MOOCs seem content (perhaps “addicted”) to a twitterish-scale brevity, frequency, and off-the-cuff-ness.  These people are often involved in educational technology not simply in the topic of the MOOC.  They and other not-so-active participants appreciate the shared links and sometimes create blog posts that show how they are digesting what is discussed and shared.
  6. Some of the not-so-active c-MOOC participants indicate that they are not getting that much from the twitterish-scale exchanges or shared links, but it doesn’t follow that they jump at the invitation to join a CE or establish a balance between input and digestion (see no. 6 in tips for g+ community life).

Possible approaches to drawing more people into the CEs:

A. Slight modifications of CE arrangements:

  1. Emphasize at the start of each session that what is shared is not for wider sharing or attribution.
  2. Set the CE time to fit schedules of those who register, but share an initial session of the CE more publicly.  Have that initial publicly shared event start 15 minutes before and as a separate hangout from the 60-minute session.  The idea is to a. draw in people who want to experience something before registering; and b. carry them over directly from the 15 minutes into the CE proper.
  3. During that 15 minutes, a. do a warm-up freewrite and check-in on the case; b. provide the real session’s hangout URL on the stipulation anyone joining or watching the streamed version abides by #7; and c. explain that registration is needed to join the private g+ community and to be informed of the URLs for subsequent sessions.  At the start of the 60-minute session, inform people that #7 has been emphasized, but participants need to take into account #3.

B. Collaborate with a high profile MOOC:

  1. Get a high-profile and large-catchment MOOC to agree to an experiment: During signup for the MOOC, students would be asked whether they want to participate in a facilitated small learning community within the MOOC that meets on hangout for 60 minutes each week for weeks 2-5 of the course. The overarching topic of the small learning communities would be “exploring how to support deep learning — for ourselves and others — during a MOOC.”
  2. Those who say yes go would to a google form to indicate times that they prefer and times that are possible and to specify whether they want to apprentice as a facilitator.  The CE organizers would have to be prepared to divide up hosting these small learning communities using the CE structure and processes and to train the apprentices.
  3. Around week 4, invite apprentices to create and advertize their own g+ communities for weeks 6-9 using the CE structure and processes, specifying topic and/or hangout time.  (Of course, the apprentices or anyone in the small learning communities — indeed, anyone in the MOOC as a whole — is free to establish a g+ community at any time using whatever model they choose.)
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