During the orientation week of #etmooc (January 13-19, 2013), we will do our best to help participants prepare for the distributed nature of this experience. A learning management system (LMS) will not be used. Rather, an array of ‘small tools, loosely joined’ will be adopted as to provide participants with an authentic, networked-learning experience. Below, you will find the key tools that are to be adopted.
- This blog – The etmooc.org domain will act as the central news source for #etmooc. Check the main page frequently for news & announcements. Or, you may want to use an RSS Reader such as Google Reader to be alerted when news has been posted.
- Your Blog – We’re hoping that every participant in #etmooc will set up their own blogging space. There are many options available. We recommend a WordPress-based blog such as WordPress.com, Edublogs.org, Google’s Blogger, or one that you host yourself. Or, you considering using a service like Posterous or Tumblr. Just make sure your blog has an RSS feed (these listed services all do – ask us if you’re not sure about your choice). Note: If you already have a blog and would like to use it for #etmooc, that would be just fine. We’ll just need to get a specific RSS feed from you that is linked to a tag or category (we’ll talk about this during orientation).
- Blog Aggregator – Reading the blogs of other participants can be tricky, so we plan to make this easier for you. Once we get all of your blog addresses, we’ll feed them to http://etmooc.org/hub. You’ll then be able to read all participant blogs in one place.
- BlackBoard Collaborate – We will be offering synchronous sessions at least twice a week through the web conferencing tool, BlackBoard Collaborate (formerly known as Elluminate). The connect link is found HERE. Be sure to bookmark it. Also, Collaborate requires a Java install the very first time you use it, so try it well before the session and/or follow this guide for first time users.
- Twitter - Twitter has become an essential tool for networking opportunities and just-in-time learning. As you begin to tweet about the course or share relevant resources, please add the #etmooc hashtag to your post. All tweets with the #etmooc hashtag will then be found via this Twitter Search or through the #etmooc Tweet Archive.
- A Mailing List – When you registered for this course, you provided an email address. We will create a mailing list and email you weekly with news & events. If you don’t like email, we’ll be sure to offer you unsubscription options.
- #etmooc Google+ Community – Conversations are often difficult to manage and follow on Twitter. The Google+ Community will allow for deeper conversation, resource sharing, and support. Be sure to join the Community and participate!
- #etmooc Google Calendar – We plan to provide many different events for participants, and we’ll also do our best to provide repeats when possible to serve different time zones. With your Google account, you’ll be able to subscribe to our #etmooc Calendar (with this link) and it will then be dynamically updated and accessible in your own time zone.
If you are not familiar with some of these tools, or feel that there is too much to keep track of, try not to feel anxious. The use of these tools (i.e., the what, how & why) will be covered sufficiently during the first few weeks (with just-in-time support thereafter), and one of the key goals for #etmooc is to help you manage complexity within networked learning environments.
So to get started with #etmooc, here’s what you’ll need:
- A Twitter account.
- A Google account.
- A blog (we will help you set one up in Week 0 if you have trouble with this). Here’s a good WordPress tutorial if you want to take a leap.
- A membership in our Google Plus community.
- A subscription to the #etmooc Calendar.