Monday, September 17, 2012

Open can be lonely

Well, with  my work on #ioe12 done, it's time for a little reflection! For whatever reason, as I may have stated before, I completely missed the announcement for #ioe12, which I guess ran from January to April (or May) 2012. I thought, that since the material is still available on the course site (OpenEducation.us) I would be able to go through and self-study.

I did indeed go through and self-study, and I invited some fellow MOOCers to participate, but they had other things happening. This meant that the lone through the asynchronous MOOC might be lonely, and indeed it was.

In the end #ioe12 was a really good course, but if I weren't so interested in the topic, I would probably have dropped out by week 7, or I would have just skipped some topics.  In the various MOOCs that I have participated in, other learners/participants have helped get me through topics that I either didn't care for, or just didn't appreciate the topic as much before I saw others talking about it and shedding some more light on it (or at least showing another side of the topic).

This makes me think of participation in MOOCs in general. A lot of people will go up to bat to defend the right to lurk.  Don't get me wrong, some amount of lurking is healthy. After all, as the saying goes, if you keep talking, you don't (or can't) listen. But perpetual lurking is also an issue. How can a lurker sustain interest and learning in a course, if he doesn't participate in some way, shape, or form during the course? I was highly motivated for this topic and this course, but with no peers present, there were a few times where I almost threw in the towel.

The other thing that this experience makes me think of is the (asynchronous) OER aspect of MOOCs.  Many MOOCs are still available on the web, MOOCs that have come and gone, but whose course outlines, materials, and learnings are still on the web, for the benefit of everyone.  It's nice to have these OERs for other educators to incorporate in their courses, but I am having some doubts as to the "replayability" or time-shifting nature of a MOOC.

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