Questions I’ll bring to #etmooc

Since I’ve participated before in connectivist MOOCs, the start of #etmooc has me thinking about why I’ve come back. Sure, I’m interested in the content of the course. The topics this course will explore come up daily in my work as an instructional coach, so I think this course will help me stay current on important, emerging themes in educational technology. Though I have great interest in the topics which will drive the course, I’m most excited to see the types of learner interactions that arise from this type of open format. I’m interested in the implications of this type of course for teacher professional learning. With that in mind I’ll look to answer the following three questions during this course.

What assumptions do participants make when evaluating this course as a learning experience?

Participants will compare MOOC learning to other types of learning they engage in and these comparisons reveal assumptions they have about what learning should look like. I hope to learn about the assumptions that learners bring to the course. Do teachers bring different assumptions than graduate students, for example? How do knowledge workers from a diverse range of employment and educational contexts respond to this open format?

How do active participants and learners engage with the course and other participants to further their learning?

What happens when connections start to form in a connectivist course? How do the connections among participants provide for some of the conditions of learning that an instructor in a traditional smaller course might provide, like feedback, or demonstration? Secondarily, I’m interested in discourse among active participants about “lurking.” In open courses I’ve been in, I have noticed what I think is a trend: Active participants in courses will initiate discussions about lurking and how to encourage lurkers to engage more in the course. While I understand the sentiment, I also think that active participants might have a stronger experience if they think through what the next steps for highly participatory learners are, rather than thinking through next steps for less participatory learners.

What processes or approaches to this course surface from active participants?

I’m interested in the reports that surface from learners about how they develop successful, personal processes for learning in open courses. Since the  course is comprised of so many choices and distributed digital content and texts, even the most veteran of the crowd of learners in this MOOC is likely, I believe, to rethink her approach to the class as the weeks go on. I’ll aim to capture these processes as learners share them.