Thank-you Michael for starting off the reflective blogging. Your post got me thinking about my participation in MobiMOOC and what that is going to look like this year.
I feel an obligation to contribute to MobiMOOC this year, largely because MobiMOOC last year was such a valuable experience for me, and the resulting collaborations of the MobiMOOC research team were a great boost to my resume, but also provided me with emotional support at times when I needed it. It has been such a pleasure collaborating with such a great geographically diverse team. Overall, it has been a very rewarding experience, so I feel that I owe it Inge to be a memorable participant in this year's MobiMOOC.
On the other had, this is very busy time of year for me. As I'm sure is true for many other participants, it is difficult to find the time to contribute. I was also not particularly motivated by the project challenge, as I'm not that interested in ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development). My area of interest is more with helping university professors adopt iPads, so my research rarely aligns with ICT4D objectives.
However, in EduMOOC last year, I learned the importance of taking control of my own learning in a MOOC. I need to decide for myself how I will contribute and how I will join in the conversation while still getting my other work done. I also need to adapt aspects that don't align with what I need – so a project that doesn't align doesn't mean I won't do a project, it just means I'll redefine the requirement to align with what I need. So, in this post, I thought I'd share a couple of strategies for how I will integrate MobiMOOC into my activities over the next few weeks, such that I can still participate and connect, whilst getting my other work done.
First, I have looked for where there are synergies between MobiMOOC and what I already need to do. The key area where I see overlap is in the iPad Professional Development workshop I'm giving on October 2nd (If you happen to be in Ottawa, you are welcome to sign up). For that workshop, I'll be developing a fair bit of new content that will likely be of interest to MobiMOOCers, so, I'll be posting it on my blog. I've decided that my "project" for MobiMOOC will be the preparation of the content for the iPadagogy portion of my workshop. In mid-October I'll also be presenting the various theoretical foundations that support an iPad Professional Development Program (iPDP) that I'm working on as part of my PhD research at a couple of conferences (Ubi-Learn and mLearn). MobiMOOC presents an opportunity for me to share some of my ideas and to learn from others.
Second, I've decide to mostly follow the Google group on my iPad. I found the interface (via Safari or Chrome) to be pretty good, and reading the groups on my iPad means that I'm not reading them when I'm sitting in front of my computer working. So, I use my breaks from my computer, those times when I need either a physical or mental break, to check up on the conversations. I follow the twitter stream as well. I don't feel the need to read everything. I scan and skip things, but I also give myself permission to jump in where I think I have something to contribute. For the most part, I write and post my contributions from my iPad (although I found I needed to use my Desktop to add my pin to the map). This also provides a test of the feasibility of participating in a MOOC strictly with a mobile device (my iPad), and points out to me when there are limitations. I've also found that the discussions are the one part that I think MobiMOOC does better than any other MOOC I've participated in. For some reason, they are richer and more active than I have experienced elsewhere. I feel that if I didn't participate here, I would be missing out!
Third, I don't expect to participate in any of the synchronous or video-based activities. Personally, I've not found them to be an effective use of my time. If I were less busy, I think I'd find them fun – during EduMOOC I participated in several Google Plus hangouts which was cool – but those were more about playing with a new technology (Google plus had just been released) than it was about meaningful conversations and learning.
And finally, the readings on course wiki. I'll scan through the weekly readings for the topics that interest me to see what has been published within the last year. As a result of my last year studying Mobile Learning at the PhD level, I've already read a lot of the older readings. In scanning the new ones, I'll likely find a few that I should add to my "to read" list. I can't guarantee that I'll get them read during MobiMOOC, but I can at least add them to my future reading list.
So, in the end, I believe I've struck a nice balance. I've defined how I can make MobiMOOC a valuable learning experience for me, without adding too much to my existing heavy workload!