#etmooc – Let’s Get Started!

In mid-August, I wrote a post to gauge interest in a possible Edtech-focused MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to begin January of 2013. I received a handful of responses on my blog, dozens of Twitter replies (captured in this Storify), and (to-date) 142 individuals stated their interest in participating via this Google form. I believe there is more than sufficient interest in an Edtech MOOC, and so I am very happy to begin the development process. I am looking forward to those who have expressed interest and those we are likely to pick up along the way.

I thought I would share my ideas for the course. These ideas are informed by my initial thoughts on the MOOC (from my experience running #eci831 & blended courses), the growing body of literature on MOOCs (especially the cMOOC variety), informal conversations with individuals (theories, practitioners, students), and the many responses received through the process mentioned in the above paragraph. I also hope to make as much of the planning & development of the MOOC open & transparent so that others can understand and learn from decisions made around tools, technical processes and pedagogy. Thus, I will be doing my best to gather documentation, and I invite others to do so as well. I hope that the ‘making of’ the MOOC will be as valuable as the MOOC itself.

Ideas will be shared below. I will then copy the headers into an editable Google Doc so that facilitators/participants can write, edit, add feedback or sign-up for key roles.

What should this MOOC be about?
I am hoping that this MOOC will be developed on the topic of educational technology & media, a broad-ranging and continually expanding area of study. I believe that this MOOC can be relevant to all educators (P-12 school teachers, instructors, professors) and learners across a number of educational systems. As well, it is my hope that the MOOC is accessible and relevant to participants across the globe, wherever there is access to Internet technologies.

Some possible topics may include, but are not limited to the following (in no particular order):

  • History of educational technology in teaching & learning.
  • Relevant educational theories & integration models.
  • Overview (how-tos & critique) of current gadgets, resources & web tools.
  • Connected/networked learning and personal learning networks/environments.
  • Mobile learning overview, strategies and resources.
  • Learning management systems, overview & critique.
  • Copyright, copyleft, mashups, remixes – overview & practical use.
  • Digital citizenship, digital identity, footprint, ethics.
  • Privacy, edu. business models, terms of service – what to know about web services.
  • Digital storytelling & other non-literary modes of expression.
  • Memes, viral videos, and how information spreads.
  • 21st century literacies (whatever that means).
  • Openness in education (Open educational resources, MOOCs, etc.).
  • BYOD initiatives, responsible use policies, and other ed. leadership topics.
  • Future of … (technology, schooling, education).
Again, these are just a few suggestions. I’m looking for your feedback. I think that once we refine the list, we can start scheduling and finding individuals willing to facilitate these topics (and others that have not yet been suggested).
Beyond the content itself (outlined above), I am hoping that the greatest benefit of this course will prove to be be participants developing resilient personal learning networks, forming the habit of connecting with others to facilitate independent learning goals (both planned & serendipitous), and nurturing online communities based upon sharing & transparency.

How should the MOOC be organized and/or facilitated?

It feels traditional, but I assume we will need to come up with a time-frame for this experience (start & end date, semester framework?) and methods of facilitating content/connections (e.g., live seminars, networked writing spaces, microblogging, newsletter, etc.). Other logistics needing to be discussed may include:

  • the bridging of educational sectors (K12, university, tertiary).
  • development of global nodes of activity, time-shifting, & having localized events.
  • assessment (peer assessment, do we need assessment?).
  • credit (badges, peer developed, localized approaches, no credit?).
  • type of assignments (maybe something like DS106 assignments model?)
  • development of peer mentorship relationship (support participants at various levels).
  • involving the less connected (e.g., teachers at schools who would have never heard of a MOOC but could be supported & encouraged locally/globally).
  • development of participant blogging (or other publishing) spaces to decentralize the learning environment.
  • development of a common hashtag (#etmooc?) and other ways to aggregate data (such as Downes’ GRSShopper or tools like http://paper.li)
  • a central aggregation site for course information (like http://eci831.ca)
  • development of a research agenda/protocols/ethics for those wishing to study this experience.
  • getting people interested & involved & sustaining participation & engagement to avoid MOOC dropout.

What do we need to make this happen?

  • What tools & processes will we need to develop the content? Timelines? Responsibilities?
  • What tools & processes shall we use throughout the course?
  • Who shall we invite to facilitate? How do we develop localized nodes?

Who’s going to help, and what role will you play?

In the online form featured in my first post, I broke down participation into four major roles: development/planning, session facilitation, online mentors, participants. Obviously, individuals could choose more than one role. Am I missing anything?

For those who would like to help planning/developing this MOOC, consider signing up for the #etmooc Google Group. If you have a suggestion for a better place to collaborate, please let me know.

Thanks to everyone who is considering some form of participation in this experience. I look forward to working with you and making this experience beneficial for those interested in exploring technology & media in education.


20 thoughts on “#etmooc – Let’s Get Started!

  1. Hi Alec,

    I’d be very interested in helping. In particular I’d like to see something about the management of educational technology (I guess it’s the terotechnology).

    Have applied to join the group.



  2. I am really interested in this being a part of this project; planning/developing and/or facilitating.

    • Thanks Shelly,
      Please feel free to join the Google Group if you haven’t already. There is some discussion happening there, and there will certainly be much more to come.

  3. HI Alec. Wow. This is very exciting and I am so new to much of what you are proposing. I’d like to participate in the course, and I’d like to propose a topic: marginalization as a potential impact with growing technologies in education – that could be both explored as opening doors and closing others. I know little about this topic, but see on Ryerson’s campus, a number of students who have not had a priviledged or perhaps cultural exposure to computers and technology. Where might that fit in terms of contributions?

    • I think this is a really important topic, and one that we need to pay attention to either as a distinct session, or something that we discuss throughout others (more integrated). I look forward to more input from you as to how to make this and other things happen. Thanks!

  4. What about the role of the library as a possible topic? Maybe even under Future of…

    • Thanks, Donna. I think this is an incredibly important topic, and hope we can work it in somehow. Through the planning, we’re seeing that there are more topics than we can possibly cover – but through the structure, I think we can certainly have this addressed.

  5. Interested in. Planning and design process
    And research agenda . Willingly to be help .

    Possible content areas comprehensive

    Ds1o6 assessment mode a good model.

    I see the unique features of collaborative open transparent planning and mentoring support for newbies as being welcome additions to mooc landscape

  6. Very interested in 21st century literacies and mobile learning. As a academic librarian I might be able to help co-teach/add to a session/class if there is interest.

    • Thanks Gillian – mobile learning has been mentioned several times, and I think whatever we decide 12st century literacy looks like (seems like the term comes in and out of favour), will have to be included as I think it’s essential to everything else.

  7. Hi Alec

    A great start… lots to consider.

    I think that in making the development process is a powerful and important decision. As the intention of the MOOC is, in someway, to develop understanding of educational technologies, the use and discussion around technologies to be used in the course itself is very important. Informed by sound pedagogical thinking the development could almost be a pre-MOOC MOOC in itself. And is likely to provide insight for educators seeking to put together online courses.

    The range of topics you have already identified are already diverse. While I’m not opposed to broadening that list, I wonder whether the list needs to be narrowed to 5-6 broad topics, as ‘platforms’ from which discussions/projects can stem from? My experience taking part in MOOC MOOC and reading the work of Dave Cormier and George Siemens suggests that this can be a particularly effective approach, emphasising the connection and group development within the course. Participants start with the given focus/topic and take it whichever direction they see fit.

    Finally, I am interested in the time scale aspect surrounding these courses. There is a pre-dependency to apply a strict time scale which is obviously important to fostering synchronous participation and discussion. I do wonder if such courses can be developed to both allow for synchronous and asynchronous participation; allowing some participants to establish their own pace? Just a thought that is occupying my thinking re: MOOCs/Online courses. :-)


    • Hi James,
      The topic list will definitely be shortened – I’m catching that sense from most people who have helped so far. The MOOC-MOOCness of this course (or experience or whatever we want to call it) will definitely be transparent. There is already a MOOC MOOC running as #moocmooc (available at http://www.moocmooc.com/ ) and I think it is doing some of the things that you are thinking of. I definitely want educators to see the process in making this so that anyone could do this (or something like this) if they felt there was a need. Thanks for your input.

  8. Hi Alec,
    I’m interested in participating and learning how this is done. I am a beginner’s beginner – so hoping for a tech mentor along the way.
    Gretchen Bingham
    Ryerson’s Student Learning Support Unit

Comments are closed.