In just over 2 days, over 1,000 participants from three dozen countries have sign-up for participate in the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) devoted to exploring Online Learning Today…and Tomorrow! There has been a lot of buzz over this latest MOOC, hashtag #EDUMOOC. For those who have never participated in a MOOC before, you’re in for a treat as this will be an online learning experience unlike any other.
If you are new to MOOCs, take a few minutes to view these brief videos by Dave Cormier that answer the questions “What is a MOOC?” and “What is ‘success’ in a MOOC?
I can’t stress enough the importance, as Dave described in his video, of defining for yourself how you will define ‘success’ in the learning experience and in being proactive in adding your contributions to the conversation, as well as reading others’ contributions and commenting. Here are my top 5 tips for others preparing to embark on #EDUMOOC:
- Setup a blog (if you don’t already have one) and post to it. While we do have a Google Group for this MOOC, if you are looking to build your personal learning network beyond the scope of this course, it’s helpful to have your own online home where your conversations (ie: your initial posts and replies) can persist long after the MOOC is over. So, if you’ve not already done so, setup a blog using a free tool like Blogger, WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr, etc. This may sound obvious, but once you setup your blog, go ahead and post to it…at least once per week during the MOOC. I personally plan to spend more time on Twitter than the Google Group or blogging, but will post my reflections and more lengthy conversation contributions to my blog and then post the link on Twitter. On my WordPress blog, I use the free WordTwit plugin that automatically tweets each new blog post I make.
- Give Twitter a try. You’ll find during this MOOC that there will be a variety of different locations where conversations will be taking place and Twitter will no doubt be one of the most active. If you’ve never tried Twitter before, now is your chance to give it a try! Sign-up for a free account at twitter.com and include in any of your course-related tweets the hashtag #edumooc. You can then search Twitter, either at twitter.com or on any of the Twitter apps, the course hashtag #edumooc to see the entire flow of “tweets” related to the course.
A great place to learn more about Twitter is to take a look at the archived presentations and links for the session, Using Twitter for Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development in Higher Education that David Wicks, Skip Via, and I offered this past January where explored best practices for using Twitter in teaching, learning and professional development.
- Let people know of your posts!. When you post to your blog, be sure to let the rest of the EDUMOOC community know that you’ve made your contribution to your blog. The easiest way is to share a link to your post on Twitter, using the hashtag for the MOOC, #edumooc. You also can reply to the thread for the week in the Google Group with your contribution.
- Bookmark online resources of interest. When you come across online resources that others are sharing that are of interest to you, bookmark the links using a social bookmarking service. I personally use Diigo and have found it to be a fantastic way to create my own digital online locker of resources that I can then access in the future. When you bookmark an online resource, use the course tag edumooc.
- Set boundaries for yourself. The larger the MOOC, the easier it is to easily become overwhelmed with the amount of resources shared and volume of conversations that take place. Don’t feel like to have to keep up on everything that’s happening in the course. Set goals for yourself and give yourself permission to get out of the course what you need from the course. I personally plan to set aside 30 mins. per day to check Twitter and read through the previous day’s contributions to the Google Group to stay up-to-date on the conversations and to participate. Remember that the more you contribute, the more you will in turn find others engage with you.
Those are just a few of my tips…what other tips do you have for individuals preparing to participate in a MOOC? Leave a comment with your tips, or better yet, post your own on your blog and leave a comment here with a link to your list!
If you’ve signed-up for #EDUMOOC and stumbled across this blog post, leave a comment and say hello! MOOCs are all about connections and networking with others!! You can also fine me on Twitter @jrhode or Facebook at facebook.com/jasonrhodephd
**UPDATE 6/23 – I’ve recorded a couple of screencast tutorials and posted here with a few more details on how to get started with the Google Group, as well as setting up Google Alerts and subscribe to see what those who are blogging during #EDUMOOC are saying**