MOOCs Connect Learners
Amanda Palmer, a brilliant human being, wrote The Art of Asking. The artist, musician, singer, caring individual connects with her fans through social networks like twitter in very personal and engaging ways. According to Amanda, one way to make our connections blossom and grow is to ask.
Amanda believes that “Asking is, at its core, a collaboration. Those who can ask without shame are viewing themselves in collaboration with – rather than in competition with – the world” (Palmer, 2014, p. 56).
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Asking for help with shame says:
You have the power over me.
Asking with condescension says:
I have the power over you.
But asking for help with gratitude says:
We have the power to help each other.
~ Amanda Palmer (Palmer, 2014, p. 57)
Teachers and students can also collaborate through social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google (drive, hangout, plus), Instagram, LinkedIn, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Technology and the Internet provide opportunities to collaborate for learning. If an entertainer such as Amanda Palmer can connect with her fans for collaboration, teachers and students can do the same. Teachers and students can partner by learning to ask. Yes, asking is not only an art, but a way to connect for deeper learning and self development.
Massive Open Online Courses
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provide opportunities to ask and learn. MOOCs began with the idea of connecting for learning via personal learning environments (PLEs) using blogs, wikis, google groups, and Moodle. According to Wikipedia, the term MOOC is said to have started in 2008 by Dave Cormier and Bryan Alexander “in response to an open online course designed and lead by George Siemens and Stephen Downes” (wikipedia).
Having massive number of learners, open doors to networking at its best. MOOCs can pottentially connect teachers and students if the two learn the art of asking.
MOOCs in 2014
In 2014, I organized and participated in 6 MOOCs on WizIQ.
- Moodle MOOC 3 June
- Moodle MOOC 4 February
- Moodle MOOC 5 October)
- MOOC on Second Life in April
- Healthy and Sustainable Living MOOC in September
- EVO14 sessions: Moodle for Teachers (M4T) from January to February for 5 weeks
The facilitators and I encouraged the participants to ask as many questions as possible. Questions are key to filling comfortable in an online course. Loneliness can take over unless you ask questions and engage in the tasks.
I spent hours responding to questions on the MOOCs. The questions connected and brought me closer to the participants. Asking is key to online learning and making close ties.
Reflecting and Learning
Participants of the MOOCs had to reflect on the webinars and the overall experience of the MOOC. They had to create a PowerPoint presentation and add their voice using Movenote or SlideSpeech. Not everyone felt comfortable with the technology and having to share. It’s not easy to reflect and share your experiences in a blog post or on YouTube. Putting yourself out there for the world to see takes practice. I hope that more and more people will see the value of asking and sharing as a way to learn.
Palmer, A, (2014). The art of asking. London: Grand Central.