Thursday, 21 March 2013

First Impressions of a MOOC

Reassuring to read Martin's advice on the overwhelming nature of the MOOC experience. Got me thinking about this 'stream' of information that he talks about. For me, I realise that I apply filters to this stream and there are a number of things which, at least when first scanning the entries, will make me read a post or skip it. Just like when reading anything else, I'll usually look at the first line or two, or some of the headings if there are any, to decide if I want to read it.

What makes me do more than dip my toes in the stream?
  • A thought-provoking first sentence or two
  • Intriguing visuals
  • Someone from a well-known institution
  • A contributor whose post I've read before and enjoyed or found useful
...and what puts me off?
  • Long essay-type answers (I tend to think "I'll come back to that, but then don't)
  • Poorly presented text or images
  • Participants who contribute too much
After a week of this MOOC, I'm realising that participating requires a reasonably high level of digital literacy, both in terms of technical know-how and the ability to process and filter vast amounts of information, connect with others and so on. In fact, I think it's about 'mastering ideas AND keystrokes', to paraphrase Paul Gilster. I'm wondering how people on some of the bigger MOOCs with tens of thousands or more manage - not surprising that they suffer from high dropout rates, but maybe this doesn't matter... If you have a course with 100,000 people enrolled and 90% dropout, that's still 10,000 people completing...

1 comment:

  1. These are good points Jim. I think this art of getting others to take the time to even look at what you've done will become increasingly important. People talk of an attention economy or attentionomics - I had some similar thoughts to yours thinking about MOOCs, here: