So this week Gamification, with Kevin Werbach of UPenn started! After close to two years of working on, what is now termed, cMOOCs (connectivist MOOCs), I decided to check out an "xMOOC" (institutional MOOC) to see what the learning experience is. I hope to be able to write a weekly recap about my coursera experiences :-)
So, the gamification course is a six-week course on gamification from a management background, which ties into my MBA background. The course isn't designed to teach game development, but rather give a broad overview of gamification, and gamification techniques as they apply to a management background. Nice!
The course itself revolves around some mandatory videos of the instructor (in total Week 1 was about 2 hours worth of video, broken down in 10 minute segments). The videos themselves are quite doable, even when you are in the office. You can easily download them and put them on a mobile device to view during your commute (this is a nice example of mLearning!). Each week there are also additional reading materials that you have access to (and up to now, at least, everything seems to be centered around open resources, so I didn't have to buy anything).
It seems that at the end of each week there is a multiple choice quiz to test your comprehension (I got a 4.75 out of 5.00 on the first week, not bad!) and eventuatlly there will be 3 assignments, that will be peer reviewed; as well as a final exam (also machine gradable). Do all these and pass them, and you get a certificate of completion. Since I like the topic (and I am indulging my completionist gamer ethic) I am aiming for gaining that certificate.
There are also fora as part of the course, but these are highly recommended rather than required. While I do think that learning occurs from interaction with peers and with instructors, I have yet to really fully participate in the fora. Even on the first day there were 3 pages of open threads (many with duplicate topics) and it seemed like it required more time than I had available to really delve into them. Since the fora aren't graded, I don't see myself going through them with as much regularity as I go through blog postings in cMOOCs; but it's only the end of first week so let's see where this journey takes us.
One recommendation I have for coursera is this: In your fora, it might be good to have some sort of intelligent fora-minder that looks at the topics and content of a new thread, and suggests existing threads that this content might be able to go in; this way we don't end up with 10 threads on "what is your favorite game?"
Week 1 take-away for further reading: must read Huizinga's Homo Ludens.
side note: I chose Coursera over Udacity as my first xMOOC testing platform due to the liberal arts and management content. I would love to get back to my BA roots and learn to program again, but it's not something I have time for this year. Maybe in 2013 I will test out Udacity more (which seems to have more technical content)