Introducing ETMOOC trust exercises – falling in the right direction?

As in any ‘class’ ETMOOC has asked us to introduce ourselves to our peers in the orientation week.

In his welcome chat, our ‘chief conspirator’, Alec Couros, has emphasized that connected/networked learning, typical of cMOOCs such as these, simply does not work without TRUST. We need to trust each other for the peeragogy to work its magic! And the best way to start building the TRUST is to REVEAL something of yourself to others.

The difference is – when we do so in this, open, online classroom, we also introduce ourselves to the whole online world!

This is a BIG step. Some might even say a leap;) Alec Couros encourages us all to overcome our fear of putting ourselves out there (or here;) – and promises an exhilaration and a sense of achievement – using the analogy of this girl taking her first ski-jump.

I am inspired by this imagery, and do recognize in it my own “yipeee! moment” when I got a first like and a comment on my own blog a month or so ago. This online audience attention does wonders to motivate me to continue to ‘reflect’ in more depth and more publicly than I would normally do!


I have also seen the video doing the rounds on twitter about how trust exercises can go wrong – you would have seen it at the start of this post.

So you will understand if I tell you that this enthusiastic call to simply jump and see what happens also feels a little bit like being cheered on to streak down a busy the street with a megaphone! (to clarify – *the video does NOT contain nudity* – it’s just my head’s nightmare scenarios;).

This in turn makes me feel that the calls to try on the radical openness at the start of both cMOOC I have experienced so far (Hybrid Pedagogy’s MOOC MOOC in early January and now the etmooc) appear fairly uncritical. Perhaps not enough caution about the consequences of the radical cMOOC openness during the ‘orientation’? Perhaps not enough pointers to strategies for preserving at least some aspects of privacy? Even though we are all professionals used to presenting a ‘face’ to a lecture theater or our future employers/colleagues – online seems an entirely different setting with its multitude of audiences, permanence and permeability between private and professional.

So far in etmooc’s week 0 there was a passing mention of anonymity as a shady practice in relation to digital citizenship by the participants in Alec’s introductory session. Does it mean that if I don’t reveal it all I am a bad citizen?! Do I mind being a bad citizen and whose definition of a good citizen is it anyway? I was more reassured when in a blogging intro session somebody described how she keeps several separate blog identities for different audiences to ensure some privacy and separation of personal from professional. There was also a very commonsense warning from the session leader – edublogger‘s own Sue Waters (@suewaters): do not say anything online which you would not say to an f2f audience of a 1000 people.

No doubt, these issues will surface in more depth as we go over the etmooc topics and I am looking forward to examining them in more detail (especially Openness movement and Digital Citizenship in March). But as they are at the forefront of my mind right now (and no doubt of many other beginners), I would have probably wanted to be making a more informed and strategic decision before putting my dignity at risk with that blog megaphone;) So before I get too far out the door – any quick tips?

Still, I am here. And I would very much like you to know and trust me – at least a little bit. Would also like to keep experimenting with this trusting the world thing;) So here is my introduction for the fellow-etmoocers (and the world) – with some privacy reserved;)

I also putting together a more technical post on how I put the video together and some thoughts on the tool (Disclaimer: more of a aide-mémoire to myself than an expert’s opinion).

P.S. For those who read my first #etmooc post and are wondering how my OU’s course is going – I have met some very nice people via the course social forum and it feels more like a home now. And as far as the prerequisite ‘literacies’ go – I will simply address them as we go along…