Characteristics for MOOC success

#diffimooc Week One Essential Question:  What are the characteristics I will need to be successful in this MOOC?


Everything about this MOOC is so new to me that I feel like I can only think about it in metaphors.  I can only make sense of it in terms of other experiences.  I named my blog “Learning to Swim” after my first hour in our #diffimooc Twitter feed.  I had never used Twitter before, and I spent that hour feeling like I had been thrown in water over my head without knowing how to swim.  I felt like I was flailing around rather wildly, alternately snatching gulps of air and gulps of water.  But I also knew I was surrounded by other swimmers, some brand new like me and others experienced and competent, and all the evidence suggested that this was something I could learn to do if I just paid attention and kept trying.

The pace of the hour-long Twitter exchange was dizzying, and even as I started to catch on, I found myself wanting a snorkel, or at least some “floaties” as one classmate suggested.  But by the end of the hour, while I couldn’t exactly swim, at least I felt like I could keep my head above water long enough to hear some of the helpful instructions being offered by the more experienced swimmers around me.  So the learning continues…

This week, I have furthered my learning in many basic ways:  

  • I set up my Twitter account and began learning how to use Twitter and TweetDeck
  • I set up a diigo account and began learning how to tag useful webpages and use the highlighting tool to mark key sections
  • I set up this blog on WordPress
  • I learned how to record a video of myself with my iPhone, edit it with iMovie, and post it on YouTube with links in this blog and on our Twitter feed
  • I explored links provided on our #diffimooc and by our instructors and my fellow classmates to learn more about what a MOOC is and what connectivism is.

I’m not sure if I’ve done much yet to contribute to the learning of others in the class.  I have definitely benefitted from others in the class; Colin has posted a lot of very helpful information and has guided me in Twitter and YouTube.  I’ve tried to share my discoveries on Twitter, such as learning the difference between a private and an unlisted YouTube video; I hope that may have helped someone else along the way.

What characteristics will I need to be successful in this MOOC?  Stephen Downes gives this description of connectivism:  “To teach is to model and demonstrate, to learn is to practice and reflect.”  What Connectivism Is ~ Stephen’s Web  He also says, “Learning in a MOOC…is in the first instance a matter of learning how to select content.” Creating the Connectivist Course | One Change a Day

Select content, practice, and reflect.  The web and all of its resources is overwhelming!  I will need to learn to be selective, to be purposeful in my internet explorations and not let myself get dragged off on wild tangents or aimless wanders.  I will need to practice, which means being willing to put myself out there, “out there,” in cyberspace, which scares me.  I have so far been very cautious with my internet presence, and trying all of these new things at which I am so imperfect is very unsettling.  And I will need to reflect.  If I just go careening through cyberspace, I’ll miss the whole point of this MOOC, I think.  I need to allow myself some time to ponder what I want to learn and how the connections I am making (in cyberspace and in my own head) can help me improve my own teaching and learning.

I love this quote from Stephen Downes:  “We learn, in connectivism, not by acquiring knowledge as though it were so many bricks or puzzle pieces, but by becoming the sort of person we want to be.”  I am a work in progress!

About annekurland

#diffimooc participant UAS EDMA 658 Technology for Teaching and Learning Mathematics
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2 Responses to Characteristics for MOOC success

  1. Tracie Weisz says:

    Anne – you have taken on a lot of “new” for 1 week! I have had teachers in pd sessions have breakdowns over just putting up a blog – so congratulations! I like your links to the connectivist articles – puts you in the right frame of mind for how to approach all this. It’s important to keep your eyes on the prize – what will come out of it all.

  2. 733lori says:

    Anne, you have done a great job. I love your title – learning to swim. I really did feel like that this past week. There is so much for me to learn – it’s all new. I am also a work in progress!

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