Monday, January 2, 2012

Change11 - sustaining participation and engagement

Well, it is a new year and I am wondering what sort of unpredictable stuff will be coming my way educationally. I don't see anything posted on Change11 this week just yet.. With 14 weeks behind us and another 20 ahead of us, I am wondering if this MOOC is just way too long.  It may certainly go down in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest MOOC, but  I am wondering where the cohesion is.

I am looking forward to Couros, Siemens, Veletsianos, Stewart and Anderson (last 5 weeks of the MOOC), but I am hard pressed to feel interested in the second half of Change11 right now.  Why?  Two main reasons:

1)  The second part has 8 blank weeks - that is weeks that have yet to be assigned a topic and a guest facilitator.  This is a large amount of blanks, which gives me the impression (again as Jenny had pointed out) that this is more of a conference, a jigsaw of topics, rather than a cohesive and weaved narrative (I've personally considered courses cohesive and connected, and not a mish-mash of things - but hey, that might just be me).

2) Some topics seem to be coming back, same idea, but different name. For example, Rheingold's "[How] can [using] the web [intelligently] make us smarter?" topic and Hirst's "Infoskills 2.012: how to do a lot with a little"  seem to be either the same, or really highly related topics.  DeMillo's "Social Networks, Learning Communities and Web Science" and Downes' "Knowledge, Learning and Community" seem to be the same (or similar) thing.  I know I am interested in at least 2 of these facilitators, but I don't feel like being hammered over with the same (or almost the same) topic in a small time frame.

Levy seems interesting, but his topic suffers some collateral damage from being sandwiched into two "blanks" above and bellow him at the moment, so I find it hard to get psyched about it.

Anderson's "Open Scholarship" (last week) isn't exempt, it seems like the same thing as Weller's "Digital Scholarship" (Week 3) but it seems like there's been enough buffer between Week 3 and Week 36 to revisit a similar topic.

I plan on reading my accumulated reading list over the next few days and responding to some interesting thoughts, but I am not sure how much I will be participating until those final topics in April.  This makes me think of the perennial issue of participation and drop out in MOOCs, as well as learner engagement.  What could be done differently?
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