Half-way Through Topic 1 (Connected Learning)

We’ve had a really active week with #etmooc so I just wanted to drop a quick note regarding what happened last week, and what’s coming up.

  1. We’ve had 100s of new blogposts re: Connected Learning at the #etmooc hub.
  2. The Twitter stream has been very active! While it’s possible to keep up with the #etmooc hashtag through a web-based Twitter search (or #etmchat for our weekly chats), it’s likely a good time to adopt a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to make information management a lot easier.
  3. We’ve had some really great Blackboard Collaborate Sessions. If you missed them, we’ve posted all of the recorded sessions to the archive.
  4. Sue Waters has written a fantastic post that will help all #etmooc’ers navigate some of our spaces (e.g., Google Plus, Collaborate, Twitter, etc.). Be sure to check it out. Also, I’d strongly recommend Sue’s posts on beginner blogging that was written as a support to the sessions she offered.
  5. We’re on our way to creating a collaborate #lipdub project! The song was chosen, the instructions were sent out, and we’ve already received 58 submissions from participants. We still need a few more, but it looks like we’re on our way! The final project should be released by February 2nd if all goes well.

If people are looking for ideas to write about, I’d like to take this opportunity to once again share the blog prompts that were mentioned in the Introduction to Connected Learning presentation.  These included:

    • What does my PLE/PLN look like? How can I share it?
    • How important is connected learning? Why?
    • Is it possible for our classrooms and institutions to support this kind of learning? If so, how?
    • What skills and literacies are necessary for connected learning? How do we develop these?
    • What are limits of openness in regards to privacy & vulnerability? Are we creating or worsening a digital divide?
    • How do we expand this conversation?

I hope that these are useful. Thanks to everyone who has already responded to these and similar questions, and has helped to move our community forward.

Finally, I wanted to share what’s coming up. This week we have Dave Cormier discussing Rhizomatic Learning, George Couros facilitating a Networked Leadership presentation, and Sue Waters running a session on Blogging with Students. And of course, we have our regularly scheduled Twitter chat mid-week. Check the #etmooc Calendar for details.

Got ideas for sessions, presenters, activities, or formats? Let us know – we’re always looking for new ways to engage participants.

Enjoy the week ahead!

Alec

Moving Forward from Orientation Week

It’s been an amazing week of #etmooc. The experience hasn’t even fully begun, and we already have 1647 registrants, 355 registered blogs, 851+ blog posts, and 1000s of tweets. To get a sense of the global reach of #etmooc in terms of network interactions, take a look at this analysis provided by @marc_smith found below (or view this link for full analysis).

January 18th analysis of #etmooc

For many people, even the more experienced networked learners, MOOCs can be overwhelming. In fact, some posit that complexity is an essential part of the experience. However, I am hoping to provide a bit of guidance and encouragement here to assure you that feelings of ‘being lost’ are common, but through persistence, sense-making, and personal connections, the vast majority of learners can persevere and make great gains through the dissonance and complexity.

Here are a few things that are likely important as we move forward:

First, during this Orientation week, there were several Blackboard Collaborate sessions that were offered and recorded. These include the Welcome & Orientation (slides available here), an Introduction to Twitter, and an Introduction to Social Curation (links go the session recordings). We also ran an Introduction to Blogging, but for some reason, the recording failed. However, @suewaters has kindly agreed to offer a repeat of that session during this coming week (see Calendar). These recordings are here for your convenience, and do remember that all sessions are optional. If you missed the sessions, you can always come back to them when you are ready.

Second, if you haven’t yet joined the #etmooc Google+ Community yet, I strongly recommend doing so as it has already become a great place to share resources and ask questions. For those newer to edtech, I believe that a Google+ Community will be an easier place to navigate and connect with others. There are even specific categories set up for finding a mentor and for Q & A.

Third, if you have a blog, and haven’t yet added it to the #etmooc Blog Hub, Alan Levine has created a straight-forward tutorial to make this process relatively easy. If you are a Google Reader user, I have created a screencast tutorial to guide you through the process of subscribing to #etmooc participant blogs. Important note: Don’t even bother trying to read every single post from every participant in #etmooc. Instead, read, comment on, and share blog posts (e.g., on Twitter, Facebook, or in your own blog) when you come upon ones that interest you. Collectively, we will provide everyone with an audience and an opportunity to be read more widely.

Fourth, if you haven’t yet done your introductory assignment, it is never too late to do so. If you are looking for inspiration, or want to see how others have approached their introductions, search for #etmooc on Youtube and you will see many wonderful examples. Or, you can search for terms such as ‘introduction’ or ‘intro’ on the #etmooc Blog Hub for other great examples. Note: I am not pointing to specific examples here intentionally, as I am hoping that you will discover these through similar search and sharing techniques.

Finally, I want to share a video from #etmooc’er @bhwilkoff titled “#ETMOOC Is Overwhelming. So, Let’s Make Some Meaning.” I think Ben makes some really important points here, and I’ve summarized and expanded upon these below:

  • MOOCs are overwhelming, for everyone, no matter what your experience is with networked learning.
  • There are processes and tools that you can use to filter and curate the vast amounts of information being created and shared, but that’s not the only approach or focus for sense and meaning-making.
  • Connecting with even a few other participants in a MOOC while creating deeper relationships – relationships that last beyond the experience itself – are successes often associated with MOOCs and other forms of networked learning.

#etmooc’s new topic, “Connected Learning: Tools, Processes & Pedagogy” begins today and will run through February 2nd.

Think of today as a fresh start. You are better prepared for that fresh start than you were a week ago. You are more familiar with the #etmooc community, and you have becoming more skilled with and cognizant of the tools and processes necessary for sense-making in a networked environment. Congratulate yourself for making it this far. And, here’s to your continued success and to the growth of our community.

Alec

#etmooc Orientation Week Activity

Greetings everyone!

As you should know by now, #etmooc is an example of a connectivist MOOC (cMOOC). Dave Cormier shared a few relevant characteristics of cMOOCs in this post which include:

  • cMOOCs are not proscriptive, and participants set their own learning goals and type of engagement.
  • cMOOCs are discursive communities creating knowledge together.

These are key characteristics that, once understood, may either reduce or increase anxiety levels of first-time participants. While the organizers will design environments  provide sessions, nurture interactions, and outline activities, the active learner plays a dominant role and choice and autonomy are key.

To further the distinguishing characters among types of MOOCs, Lisa M. Lane has done well to posit three distinct types of MOOCs; networked-based, task-based, and content-based. #etmooc is likely to be more dominantly a networked-based experience, with certainly some aspects of both task-based and content-based types. Of networked-based MOOCs, Lisa writes:

The goal is not so much content and skills acquisition, but conversation, socially constructed knowledge, and exposure to the milieu of learning on the open web using distributed means. The pedagogy of network-based MOOCs is based in connectivist or connectivist-style methods. Resources are provided, but exploration is more important than any particular content.

To network most successfully in a connectivist, networked-based MOOC, a learning identity must be formed, declared, and maintained by each individual. This is partly the rationale behind asking #etmooc participants to use their own blog spaces. This is also, the rationale behind the following task.

We would like you to introduce yourself to #etmooc. Declaring your identity, through letting us know a bit about who you are, will help participants better relate to and connect with you. So, here is what we would like you to do.

  1. Create an introductory post, video, podcast, slideshow, etc., of yourself.  Tell us a little bit about yourself – perhaps, where you’re from, what you do, or what you want to be when you grow up – and let us know what you’d like to gain from #etmooc? A few paragraphs of text, or preferably, a form of visual or auditory media lasting between 30 seconds and 2 minutes is ideal. These are very rough guidelines – feel free to break every one of them if you wish.
  2. Tools & Software – There are many tools you can use. If you have a Google/Youtube account and a webcam, you can record directly to Youtube. If you want to do some simple video editing, iMovie (Mac) or Windows Movie Maker (PC) might do the trick. Or, if a screencast is your choice, Screenr or ScreenCastOMatic are both good, free tools. Maybe you’d like to try digital storytelling? @cogdog has compiled a list of at least 50 tools for that task. Or maybe you want to animate your message with tools like xtranormal or Go Animate. There are countless ways to do this task – but in the end, it’s your story that we want – simple is always good.
  3. Post to your Blog – If you haven’t set up a space for #etmooc because you don’t know how, don’t worry. We’ll help you do that this week. BUT, if you know how to set up your blog, or have one already, please post your introduction and share it with all of us. But first, be sure that you have added your blog to the #etmooc Hub, and if you share to Twitter, but sure to use the #etmooc hashtag in the tweet. As always, if you don’t know how to do any of this stuff, please ask!

In my #eci831 course, I had students take on a similar introductory task. Here are a few, random examples for your viewing.

Thanks for taking on our first challenge! We can’t wait to meet you!

Gearing Up for #etmooc

Below is a copy of an email that should have gone out to all #etmooc participants that were registered by the morning of January 11, 2012. In case you missed it, view the information in its entirety below or view the MailChimp HTML version here. The emailing list will be updated with new registrants before the next weekly email is sent out.

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Hello #etmooc’ers!

This is the second official email that has been sent out to #etmooc participants. If you missed the first one (sent January 3), you can find it here. We now have over 1200 participants registered representing 67 countries – take a look! (Apologies that not all participants seem to show up on the map).

Orientation week is right around the corner and we’ll kick off with some sessions using Blackboard Collaborate. The Calendar of events is found here with events displayed in Eastern Time (GMT -05:00). I would suggest subscribing to the Google Calendar if you know how. If you do not, we’ll be covering this and many new skills during the Orientation Week (January 13 to 19). If you miss a session, don’t worry. Attendance is encouraged but not compulsory. And, we’re going to aim for repeat sessions and plan to record all webinar type events.

Now, here’s something important that we will need from you. As mentioned previously, we’re asking all participants to blog during #etmooc so we’ll need to know where we can find you. @cogdog has put together this great tutorial that explains how you can submit your blog address. If you want to use your existing blog for the course, we’ll only need your tag, category, or label link, and that’s well explained in the tutorial. For quick reference, the tutorial and submittal form can be found at: http://bit.ly/etmooc-share-blog.

The first #etmooc session will be held on Monday, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time in Blackboard Collaborate. All Collaborate sessions will be accessible athttp://couros.ca/x/connect throughout #etmooc. If you have never used Blackboard Collaborate, this page has useful information and will allow you to get set up with the proper system requirements.

#etmooc has an account on Twitter (we’re @etmooc), and we’ve put together several Twitter lists of registered participants. Twitter only allows 500 people in each list so we’ve had to create three (feel free to follow List AList BList C). To share and connect with other participants on Twitter, please use #etmooc in your tweet and it will show up in this Twitter search.

And if you haven’t already, feel free to join the conversation in the #etmooc Google Community.

The organizers of #etmooc are really excited to have so much interest in this community. If you need any help in getting oriented to the experience, we’re never more than a tweet or an email message away.

Meet you all very soon!

Alec

Visualization of Registration

With fewer than 10 days before the launch of #etmooc, we currently have about 680 registrants representing about 37 countries. To provide a sense of what that looks like, I created a rough, mapped visualization using a tool called MapAList. Take a look below at the interactive, zoomable map based on early registration data.

This has already been an incredible, humbling experience, and we haven’t even begun. We’re really looking forward to the connections in the weeks to come!

#etmooc – Introductory Message

This is a copy of an email that should have gone out to all #etmooc participants that were registered by the morning of January 3, 2012. In case you missed it, view the information in its entirety below or view the MailChimp HTML version here. The emailing list will be updated with new registrants before the next weekly email is sent out.

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Happy New Year everyone!

If you are receiving this email, you’ve signed up for #etmooc. We’re set to start very soon so this message is meant to serve as a reminder and to help you get oriented to the upcoming events and activities. If you are receiving this message in error, we apologize, and want to let you know that there are unsubscription options found below.

As we develop #etmooc, we will continue to add information to the website found at http://www.etmooc.org. Keep on eye on it, or subscribe via RSS. If you don’t know what that means, we’ll be covering RSS during orientation week so don’t worry.

We’ve outlined various things we’d like you to do in prepation for #etmooc under the Orientation page found at http://etmooc.org/orientation. This is an important read as the learning environment is a truly networked space, and can feel quite complex and overwhelming at times. #etmooc is intentionally designed to help you better understand these complexities as we collectively explore emerging topics in educational technology & media.

So, as we head into the kickoff for #etmooc, here’s a short list of things that you can be doing:

  1. Read through, and prepare yourself for #etmooc using the http://etmooc.org/orientation page.
  2. Begin to tweet using the #etmooc hashtag. Connect with and support others, share resources, and start discussing some of the upcoming topics (it’s never too early). Many of the #etmooc participants on twitter can be found through these curated lists: here, here and here (NOTE: Due to the high number of registrants, additional lists may be created, so please keep checking back here for updates). A list of the #etmooc planners are here.
  3. If you can make it, be sure to come to one of the ‘T0S1:Welcome & Orientation’ sessions planned in the Orientation Week of #etmooc (see: http://etmooc.org/calendar). These sessions will mark our official kick-off and will present a good opportunity to get to know each other, ask questions, provide input, or receive clarification about the weeks ahead.
  4. If you know of others who would be interested in this opportunity, please do extend an invitation. There’s plenty of time to sign-up, and no limit on registration numbers. The more the merrier! You can point others to the Registration page at: http://etmooc.org/register.

On behalf of the organizers, I want to say that we are tremendously excited to begin this journey. We are doing our best to create an experience where #etmooc is not just a course, but a starting point for a vibrant, energetic, and passionate community that supports its members and advances the wise use and thorough understanding of technology & media in teaching & learning.

Sincerely,

Alec (@courosa)