Initial thoughts: #Change11

A few weeks ago, I saw a link on twitter that advertised a MOOC (massive open online course), #change11.  I was intrigued.  I didn’t know what it was or what it was meant to be.  But it sounded interesting.  Fascinating.  A way to learn more about education and online technologies.

I clicked that link.  Now, I’m finding my way through the murky waters of self-directed, self-assessed online learning.  Sifting my way through various blog entries to find the fish in this big lake is an exciting exercise.  You never know what you'll come across.

Having so many articles at my disposal, I find myself wondering, ‘what do I really want to know?’

There is a proliferation of information on the Internet.  We all know it.  We know that finding what we want to know involves a good idea of your question and a way to adequately represent it in a Google search.  It involves knowing how to optimize that search.  It often requires remembering or saving good websites for future use.

This MOOC is focused on education in the online world.  We’re taking an open education course (a whole 35 weeks!) to learn about (and hopefully become somewhat knowledgeable in) spreading understanding through mobile and online media.  It’s fascinating to see the people already involved in the course – several University lecturers and staff who are already using this sort of technology, those that want to see it more at their institutions, those who are brand new to the tech world but can see the difference it will make, and those like me who are in it because it seemed fascinating.

Personally, I’m entranced by the ways in which we learn. Sure, there are the three generic subtypes of listening, seeing and doing.  Too often we try to categorize people into one of these when we are really a composite of all of these and have a need to use them all daily.  Beyond this simple classification, there are myriad ways in which we respond to stimuli in the environment.  The complex interaction of our upbringing, previous education, lifestyle, experiences and environment come together to give us an expectation of how education should occur.  Anything that deviates from this is often considered inappropriate.  Our brains shut off and refuse to learn because it doesn’t ‘fit the bill.’  While each person has a very different concept of the perfect lesson, we also interpret each session differently, depending on the above factors.

Participating in a MOOC will hopefully change that for me.  It isn’t a lecture.  It isn’t a reading list from a prescribed text or a PowerPoint or a journal article.  It’s people. Real, thoughtful people who have opinions showing us what they think. It’s all of us collaborating.  It’s interactive yet we’re in different time zones across almost the entire globe.  We’re separated by thousands of miles, different industries and cultural backgrounds yet we’re all passionate about learning.

I hope that the MOOC will enable me to make education more exciting for all.  I hope that learning can become about more than coursework – not just here but across all areas with which I interact.

I always said I liked cutting edge…I hope we do some of that here.


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