A Plea to Experienced MOOCers

This week is the first week of our open, online class in teaching online, the POT Certificate Class.

It is primarily intended for teachers new to online instruction, especially at the college level.

However, it is a completely open class, and last year we had participants from all over the world. Most of the people who had a lot of experience acted as moderators and mentors, and it was a wonderful community.

This year, we have some wonderful additions, but many new participants are not only experienced with online teaching, they are experienced with MOOCs. The tradition (if such a word can be used by a phenomenon that’s only been around since 2007) is for people participating in Massive Open Online Classes to set up their own blog and, in most cases, do their own thing.

According to my Three Types of MOOC schema, they are people accustomed to Community-Based MOOCs.

This class, however, is not Massive, and it is task-based. Thus members should be creating blog posts based on the tasks of each week, rather than engaging in broad open-ended topics, particularly those laden with ed tech jargon and the names of various other MOOCs (ds106, cck08, change11) as they compare their experiences.

Unlike these MOOCs, this class is not an open framework for participating in an online community. The syllabus, unlike other MOOCs, is not just an open topic and a synchronous session (we may not even have many of those). It is based on guided exploration particular topics with a particular design of progress, particularly suited for those just beginning to teach online.

Class has been open for one day, and due to the activities of these wonderful people, all of whose work I personally love to read, the new folks are already intimidated.

The pedagogy here is not really connectivist; it’s more constructivist, with some instructivism each week.

The task for this week is to set up our blogs. The experienced MOOCers all have blogs already, and are enjoying side conversations far above the head of the people for whom the class is intended. This week’s posts should pertain to setting up a blog, and discussing aspects from the reading in the textbook.

So I ask you, please, if you are an experienced MOOCer, you are invited to learn with all of us in whatever capacity you wish. But keep in mind – the intention of the “potcert” tag was to make sure that your posts that relate to syllabus tasks are the only ones that appear in the main blog.

As Jim wrote in his prompt, “In general, narrowly focused posts that offer interesting reflections and connections better engage readers than long summaries of the readings and/or long musings on a wide range of topics.”

And, as last year, I invite any of you MOOCers with a lot of experience to volunteer as mentors and help others.

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