Before Beginning #EDUMOOC: Tips for Participants

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 and include in any of your course-related tweets the hashtag #edumooc. You can then search Twitter, either at 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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

**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**


  • Jason –

    Thanks for the collection and reminders. Getting organized is the main thing, but I’ll add and reinforce a few.

    – Set aside time every day for reading, responding, creating. An hour, two hours – whatever you have.
    – Develop a daily routine: Check the main web page, google groups, then follow links. I signed up to have Google deliver a daily digest of the google discussion. Keeps incoming stuff together.
    – Once participants start responding, not all the content will be centrally located. You’ll have to watch for it. Use the hashtag #edumooc.
    – Don’t be shy. Find out where others are posting and subscribe to their blogs or wikis. Follow them on Twitter. Comment. Or not.
    – Find others you want to work with and form smaller sub-groups. The beauty of having 1500+ people around is that you can form some dynamic groups within the larger group.
    – Look into RSS rss in plain english is good). Subscribe to weblogs and others using Google Reader.
    – Devise your own projects and exercise as responses to ideas and themes. Post them to your blog with the hashtag #eduMOOC, as Jason mentions. Not everything has to be in writing. Do a video and upload it, use the hashtag. Create a prezi ( or PPT deck and share it. Create a diagram, flowchart, flickr or picassa photo set … Posting what you create moves the MOOC forward and lets it branch as people start to cluster around the new content.

    Enough from me –

    • Fantastic additional tips MC…thanks for sharing! ~ Jason

  • Thanks for the tips. I too posted MOOC tips at:

  • Awesome as always! See you around in Twitter and Diigo.

  • Barbara

    Thanks for the tips. I am totally new to all of this

  • Barbara

    Thanks for the tips. I am totally new to this.

  • Sue McLachlan

    Thanks for the hints – this is all new to me, so I’m keen on any help!

  • thanks for the information..a big help for beginners like me..:)

  • Very interesting and informative

    Thank you

  • Thanks for sharing! I don’t think I’ll be defining success in a MOOC, but will be reflecting on what I learned based on what I experienced.

  • Shanon

    I am a bit overwhelmed with all the information but your tips have helped me to think smaller–which in this case is good. What are a couple of things I want to focus on/learn about and go with that. I am having problems getting in to the Google group page to participate in the introductions and discussion. It says I am not a member so I can’t post–any suggestions.


  • Farida

    Thanks very much. Not sure if I’ll manage to go beyond the orientation though:)

  • Maha

    Thank you so much for the tips Jason and MC. It’s my first MOOC and I tend to get overwhelmed by the amount of reading and writing required if I try to follow everything.

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