This week in the #rhizo15 world we are talking about the Myth of Content. Initially, I didn’t feel like I had a lot to say in this area as I have already talked about how my goal for #rhizo15 is in making connections rather than processing content. Of course, in order to have those connections, I need to engage in creating content – I need to write this post and read and comment on other peoples’ posts. If I don’t engage with their ‘content’ then I won’t be able to achieve my goal for #rhizo15. So, it isn’t that there isn’t content, it is just that it is learner created content.
This idea of content has me reflecting on two other MOOCs that I plan to participate in – one this weekend and another that starts on June 8th. The first is one sponsored by Google – Google Edu on Air. It’s a free two day conference on using various Google apps for education. The workshop that has me most intrigued is titled: How to survive a zombie apocalypse using Google Apps. The second MOOC that I’ve signed up for is Mini Medical School offered by The University of Colorado on the Canvas platform. This course intrigues me as a way to develop a better understanding of my doctors. Module 7 also talks about Cancer Biology which is something that I’m necessarily interested in. I’ve heard good things about a Mini Med School program offered face-to-face at the University of Ottawa, so I’m hoping that this free online version is also good.
So here is the thing, the two MOOCs that I have signed up for are all about the content. I didn’t sign up for them with the purpose of meeting new people or making new connections. That is not my expectation of those MOOCs. It is not the context in which I’m entering them. I shared with my network that I plan on taking the course, and I do know some other people who have also signed up – but it isn’t my expectation that we will connect or learn from each other. I expect that I shall learn from the content that is presented to me. I signed up for the content.
I think there is a place for MOOCs that are all about content. I also think there is a place for MOOCs that are all about making connections. Do I think we need both? Hell yes! Do I think one is better than the other – not really – no. For me, it is all about the purpose that I bring to the learning. The challenge I have is when one goes to battle with the other as if one is better than the other, especially when we are not comparing apples with apples. They serve very different purposes, and that is OK.