I'm finding it difficult to get engaged with the Change MOOC, and I have to ask myself why that is? I know that it "technically" hasn't started, in that Monday signifies the first official week, and this week has been about orientation, or at least that is the theory. Here is the thing, I'm not oriented. Every time I tried to go into Participating links, I got blank screens or placeholder posts. I tried several times, and eventually gave up – decided to wait and see. This morning I tried logging into the system on my Android Phone while on the bus to work. Sadly, the system wouldn't even let me log in :(.
As I write this, I try again. I see now that the blog posts are now appearing. I'm challenged by the lack of usability features in the interface. For example, I'm navigating through the blog posts. I click, and scroll through several of them – when I'm done, I can't get "back" to the main Change MOOC page, there is no link :(. When I try to join in on the discussions, I discover there is no way start a discussion (or at least no obvious way). And I won't know if my blog posts have been "accepted" to the feed until I post this and see if it appears. I've filled out the form twice, but the post I did last week on "needs analysis" didn't get picked up (I guess I was too early), and my blog isn't listed on the list of blogs.
All of this is leading me to feel like my "voice" is being silenced. I'm pretty sure that isn't the intention, but I thought I'd share that feeling. If I were less inclined to be involved, I probably would have already walked away. Fortunately, I've already discovered my blog as a means of being heard, and I already have a network of people listening (from my previous MOOC experience).
Deep down, I guess I'm disappointed. I had looked up to this MOOC as being "the Mother of MOOCs" and hoped to glean best-practices in MOOC design from it, but it certainly has not started out in a stellar manner. I hope it gets better. My lesson for MOOC design is that the first is THE most important week – even if it is listed as "orientation", it needs to allow for participation, and all the features of the interface should be up and running on day 1.
I have found the Twitter hashtag #change11 great for harvesting useful links and commented on at least one blog post that I found because the author tweeted it. This first week, it has been the only way I've been able to find connections.
I'm eagerly looking forward to next week – and the discussions on mobile learning.