Engaging about the MOOC

Engaging About the MOOC

This is a page (and associated discussion) for anyone who wants to talk about MOOCs in general, using eduMOOC as an example. Feel free to join in - this page can be edited by anyone who has an account (you just need to request one to get one) - and the discussions are open. Please begin the discussion by introducing yourself to this "smaller" group.

Topics that might be of interest to this group are:
  • MOOC design - what are the necessary characteristics to foster supportive communities?
  • MOOCs and connectivism - is it really a learning theory?
  • MOOCs as temporary communities of practice - what characteristics do MOOCs share with CoPs? Can we call it a community of practice?
  • How to learn with MOOCs - what do MOOC authors/facilitators/designers need to do to support new MOOC learners? What resources are out there?
  • MOOCs outside of education - does this medium work for us because we are educators? Would it work for non-educators?
  • MOOCs and research - what research can we do on MOOCs? What are the ethical issues?

And oh so many more - feel free to add questions / topics and to start discussions.


John Graves (JG), PhD Student, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand.


There is a diagram or "MAP" of one idea of the MOOC "process" on the collaborations page. (JG)

It answers some of the questions above as follows:
  • What is necessary? People connecting over a shared interest. Tools for making those connections (for eduMOOC we have these resources)
  • How to learn? The author/facilitator/designer vs learner distinction goes away to a certain extent, as all the learners can potentially be authors/facilitators/designers.
  • Massive Open On-line Learning outside education is far, far ahead of use in education. Look, for example, at StackOverflow or, for more general topics, wikiHow.

The key question, given Wikipedia's success in the collaborative creation of a reference work, is what prevents us from collaboratively creating instructional materials?
One reference here: Clay Shirky: Cognitive Surplus (TED Talk) book

Wikipedia found success through open source wiki technology and "the Google effect" (see the chapter on Wikipedia in Open Sources 2.0 (book) for details).

Where is the open source wiki technology which works well for instructional materials? What is the difference between a reference work and a lesson?

Perhaps one answer is: a reference work is an endpoint while a lesson is a pathway.

So an enabling technology could be to have a wiki which supports pathways -- written as text scripts. The result is wikiHow (linked above) or perhaps Instructables. While very successful, something is still missing.

That "something" is the other learner's half of the teaching/learning relationship. It is not enough to merely present content. Learners need to engage, play, practice, discuss, etc.