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.