Curation and hosting MOOCs (#edumooc)

Ever since the May 5th #lrnchat (lrnchat is a twitter-based open discussion between learning professionals that occurs once a week during the school year, and once a month in the summer), I've thought lots about what it means to be an educator. On that particular chat, the discussion surrounded our role as educators and used the analogy of curators as the lens. The questions where:

  1. What makes someone a successful content curator? How is it measures?
  2. How is content curation similar and/or different than content creation?
  3. How has this age of information changed the scope of curating content for learning?
  4. What stage in the design process does curation happen?
  5. What is the different between content curation and content scraping? (ethics?)
  6. What tips can you share for effective curation?

This lens really resonates with me. With so much information out there, and so much good (and not so good) content already available, curation skills are quickly becoming (if they aren't already) more important than creation skills. Where information is readily available, it matters how well you can filter and annotate resources. As a learner, I look to experts and teachers to help filter the excess information, so that I don't get lost.

What does it mean to be a curator of learning information? It means that you filter the vast amounts of content available, and select a few of the most suitable pieces for your exhibit. You provide notes – annotations – to help learners understand why you choose the pieces you did.

Then I ask myself, what is the role of the designer/facilitator/host of a MOOC? The hosts set the topics and initiates some structures that allow the MOOC to occur. They organize facilitators and create the necessary discussion groups to get thinks kick off. But should they not be curators for the topics? Is the MOOC experience not more valuable if the hosts provide you with some filtered content and annotations explaining why they choose the pieces they did? And if the MOOC host did that, would they be breaking the MOOC law by providing too much structure? I don't think so. Curating isn't "teaching", and it doesn't enforce a "structure". It allows for organic exploration to occur. It just helps the process by getting things kick-started.

What do you think? Should MOOC hosts/facilitators act as curators for their topics?

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