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Re-entering #etmooc and re-orienting

February 19, 2013

Absent a while from #etmooc, I jumped back in yesterday with no apology for missing class. I took note of Rhoni McFarlane’s posting about her own absence. McFarlane explains in a blog post how she missed the digital storytelling topic in #etmooc. In her two week absence, email notifications piled up to remind her that the mooc rolls on. Posting yesterday, she indicated that she’s trying to catch up. In her post, I found room for hope about this type of open learning.

In another type of course, falling behind means having to apologize to the teacher and make strategic decisions about how to manage an increased workload. In the mooc, falling behind is either a natural state or a misnomer. Everyone’s behind.

My guess is that the most MOOCed-out, wired-in, connected learner will never “catch up.” This distributed content is so slippery and elusive. In the time it takes me to write this post I’ll miss Tweets, blog posts and articles curated in Diigo and ScoopIt.  Looking back is a dangerous proposition because the conveyor belt of learning opportunities continues to churn with more offerings.

I’m not sure what it will take Rhoni to feel caught up. For me, I’ve opted to set a few goals to re-engage. Some content I’ve missed will resurface in the streams I watch. Other content won’t. I caught Doug Belshaw’s session on Digital Literacy, and hope to make Howard Rheingold’s upcoming session on Literacies of Attention and crap detection. I hope to get back to Dave Cormier’s Rhizomatic Learning session. In fairness to myself, that might happen this summer.

Thankfully, the digital footprint of this course means the end date might also be a misnomer.

Right now, my desire to join, participate, and respond in these sessions far exceeds my capacity to make time. A crucial web literacy for me in this moment is both my ability to find these opportunities and know how to access them when I do find time. A second literacy that seems important is what Deborah Seed demonstrated when she responded to Rhoni’s post. Welcoming her back to the mooc, she wrote

Deborah reassures a co-learner and shares her approach to reorienting in a massive course. More vital in this networked course than getting back to Cormier’s session, is doing what Deborah does: participate and respond to participants in the moment. An archived web session is one type of content we can learn from in #etmooc, the opportunity to participate by jumping in right now and responding to others is a different, newer type of content.

In the threaded discourse, I see great hope for a shift in learning culture online, away from instructors as authority and learners as recipients. Open, massive models situate instructors as organizers and content experts, and learners as engaged participants, content-creators and collaborators.


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  1. Thanks for the comment on my comment, Joe. To be honest I don’t comment on as many posts as I think I ought to. However, I envisage carrying on or restarting conversations after etmooc has finished, and I have ‘marked’ some to go back to. As you’ve mentioned, the pace of the course is much too fast to take it all in at the first sitting, and I don’t think that there any expectations that we do. In particular, I imagine the digital storytelling sessions would appeal to a particular subset, for instance I love playing around with new tools but generally they are not relevant to my work at the moment, so I will save what I’ve picked up for a rainy day.

  2. Joe I am not sure I will EVER catch up! This has actually been cathartic for me as I too often try to do too much. Accepting that this etmooc experience is just that….an experience, has meant I can let go a little and not let the intensity of it overwhelm me. I know that my participation, however minimal, will increase my digital knowledge, connect and enable me to share my experiences with others like yourself and Deb and provide an ocean of future resources to utilise. I am grateful that this type of learning is completely self monitored. We get to make whatever we want of it, whenever we want. I hope whatever you make of it contributes to your own learning. Thanks for connecting 🙂

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