Saturday, May 5, 2012

Drinking from the firehose!

Well, the Bonk MOOC (Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success) is almost at the end of Week 1.  There certainly is  A LOT of discussion going on, with more than 3000 registered participants; at least that was the number at last count. I honestly would LOVE to see the analytics at the end of the MOOC.  That would certainly be some cool data to crunch (and perhaps write an article about).

In any case, both on #bonkopen and in other MOOCs, there has been a sentiment made clear by some participants that they feel like they are drinking from a firehose.  If you are a traditional learner (as in you come from a face to face course environment, or a traditional online course environment) you may feel like there is too much information. Some people want to create smaller cohorts, after all Blackboard Learn supports groups.  I don't mean to be insensitive when I roll my eyes at comments like this; I am sorry if I offend anyone - this is not my intention. I think that the sanctioned forking of a massive online course kinda defeats the purpose of having that diversity of opinion. Also, if you have a small group, wouldn't you still feel like you are missing out on what's happening in other groups?

The best analogy that I have for this feeling of being overwhelmed is the library.  Have you been to a library lately? A big magnificent library with many thousands of tomes of books? Or heck, even a small library with a few thousands of books? Do you feel like you are drinking from a firehose?  Of course not! The library has been there for all of our natural lives and we've formed a frame, a lens through which we view knowledge in a library.  We don't have to start at A and finish at Z in order to get the most out of the library - we need to look for interesting abstracts, titles and authors - then we pick books that we want to read.

MOOCs are sort of similar.  There is absolutely no need to read every single post and respond to every single participant. To do so would be pure crazyness! No one has that much time, and you probably won't get much more out of the experience than picking a few threads/blogs/people and really engaging.  Just like you don't treat a lecture and a seminar the same way in a face to face class, you don't treat traditional online courses and MOOCs the same way.  There is a different frame of mind that goes along with MOOCs, and a different set of learning skills :-)  This is why we are here, your fellow participants, to share best practices in learning, and to help you discover your own!
blog comments powered by Disqus