Advice (to myself) on working in the #etmooc

In “Is that a question I see before me?” Stacey Kerr remarks that holding a question in mind when she sits down to read through the content of the MOOC is a helpful strategy she discovered at the advice of another participant, Jeff Merrell.

Kerr’s post, and her relief at receiving some helpful guidance from a connection in the course, reminded me of a request for help posted in an open course I helped with on last summer.

Our course, decidedly not massive, had a group of facilitators anxious to dig in as learners when the course started. One participant, a relative newcomer to open format (aren’t we all), posted for help when 4 or 5 facilitators jumped on the start of the course armed with their ideas, their keyboards and, presumably, a great deal of caffeine. Our newcomer felt buried. He sent a group message to the facilitators on the second day of the course, saying the experience was overwhelming and “too free.”

I’ve excerpted from the message I sent him in the hopes of helping him and keeping him in the course. Digging through my sent file reminded me of my own approach to the volume of content. The advice I gave then I’ll follow now myself starting this new course.


Don’t despair! While it is definitely up to you to decide if this medium is too free for you, I think there are some strategies you can apply to make things feel more manageable.

You might try setting some goals before you log in. How long will you read? How many posts will you respond to? Do you want to do some extended writing or ask questions of participants? Perhaps by choosing a direction each time you log in at first, you will feel a little more comfortable. Thanks for reaching out for help. Keep letting us know what you think.