MOOCs Connect Learners

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)

Collaborative Learning

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.


Dr. Nellie Deutsch is an education technology and curriculum consultant, faculty at Atlantic University in the MA transpersonal and leadership studies, teacher trainer, researcher, and writer. She organizes Moodle MOOCs and online conferences. She earned her doctorate in education and educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix Her dissertation research (available on ProQuest & Amazon) focused on instructor experiences with integrating technology in blended learning contexts in higher education around the world. Nellie offers free teacher training courses on teaching with technology, action research and Moodle for teacher courses to new, veteran, and future teachers who wish to teach online, face-to-face or in blended learning formats. She also provides online courses to teachers and ICT people on how to be administrators of Moodle websites. She integrates Moodle and WizIQ live virtual classes in all her courses.

Comments

  1. What MOOCs did you take in 2014?

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