MobiMOOC 2012 Reflections

MobiMOOC 2012 ran for the last three week. The structure for this MOOC was part of a MOOC experiment. It was a tree structure, breakout out each week into more branches of discussion. This also meant that each week there was more content being presented. The idea was, that learners could choose to follow the areas they were most interested in, and the structure allowed the group to explore more areas than would have been otherwise possible in the short timeframes.

I had decided early on how I would participate in the MOOC, which I posted here: How I am going to participate in MobiMOOC this year. One of the key decision I made was that I was not going to participate in the synchronous presentations, as I don't generally find them to be an effective use of my time. Unfortunately, the role played by these webinars was much more central to this year's MobiMOOC than it was last year.

From my perspective, last year's MobiMOOC was much more connectivist in nature. This year, the delivery of content in the form of webinars was much more central to what was happening. In looking at it, I think that people didn't necessarily break out into separate discussions, rather, they tried to follow several of them at once, combined with the large number of concurrent webinars, people didn't have the time or energy left for the online discussions. In addition, the breaking up of the online discussions into separate groups created a barrier, that not everyone was willing to jump over. As a result, by week three, the discussion were pretty much dead. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I really appreciate Inge for all the work she put into organizing this MOOC. I also have heard many people comment positively about the content that was presented. I just miss the connectivism aspect in this MOOC. I felt that the structure turned it more into a delivery focus rather than the connectivist, community created focus that was so successful last year. This may also have been partially due to a lack of enrolment. I don't know the actual numbers, but it didn't feel like we had nearly as many active participants this year as last. Again, I think this may have been related to the webinar focus, rather than the discussion focus, it may have been related to the challenges with the separate forums in week two, or it may have been related to the time of year in which is was offered.

It also seems to me that the structure didn't easily allow for the MOOC to adapt to the participants interests. It was much too logistics orientated and it didn't really allow for the creation of new "topics" that were not explicitly planned in the beginning. I suppose this could have been done in the main discussion group, but it didn't feel as open to such changes in the flow of things. 

My conclusion from this experience is that I won't be seeking out a tree structured MOOCs in the future. The effort required to follow the different discussion groups wasn't worth it, and my chance to connect with likeminded people was inhibited by the structure.

4 Comments

  1. I have participated in an number of MOOC and this was by far the most difficult to follow as a lurker or as a casual participant. Both the webinars I attended we interesting, but they felt very conventional.
    I really miss the daily email from Stephen Downes' MOOCs that collected links to blog posts and tweets with the MOOC's hashtag. That allowed me to skim through the list and pick a couple to read and reply too. In some cases, I wrote posts for my blog. I didn't find the Google Group to be as effective.
    Just like there are different formats for lecture classes and webinars, we now know that there is a range within MOOCs.

  2. This also was my first MOOC. Hence I can't compare it to others. But like Elisabeth I experienced it as a rich learning area. I would compare it toa market place. Therefor it may not have had the intensitiy of a clear focussed group. But for a newcomer in mobile learning it felt quite right. Get a lot of different impressions of the topic. I would be interested to go for MOOC the performs a you described it for MOBIMOOC 2011. It's good to see that there are different was it can go. Thank you for your reflexion because it helps me to build criteria for the experience of MOOCs.

  3. This was my first MOOC, so I am unable to compare it to last years.  I did not know what to expect and I admit that initially the tree structure frightened me…How much information could I absorb? and what about participating in unfamiliar topics to me such as AR…Would I feel confortable in that space?
    To my surprise I personally loved the tree structure, the ability to gradually increase the tempo and frequency of acess to topics forced me to focus on what I was really trying to get out of the MOOC.  Yes, I can confirm that by week three the participation number in some of the topics had declined but this enabled the participants within each of those groups to interact and build quite a strong repoire with each other and to share very specific knowlege and resorces. (totally invaluable)
    Personally having the forum discussions grouped into topics, suited my learning style perfectally...I like my kaos to be ordered in some sort of manageble pattern.  A few of the participants realised that at times the responses were suited to various topic groups or forums and they provided the link by 'cross posting'.
    I guess it comes down to selecting a learning model that suits each of us. John Thraxter, Adele Botha and Geogg Stead in different ways  reminded us of… "How the context feeds into the interaction and influences the type of feedback."
    For me, the tree model suited my learning model.  It provided me with a strong foundation to the topic (the trunk), it supported me through the interactivity of chats, topic groups and forums and it empowered me with freedom to explore a multitude of topics and explore unfamiliar ones without fear (the branches).

    • Hi Elizabeth and Lutz,

      Thank-you for your comments. Seeing the MOOC from a different perspective is always useful :)

      cheers,

      Rebecca

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