There has been a lot of talk about MOOCs lately and I have been doing a lot of thinking about how they could fit into our offerings for students in Burlington. But before I get too much further I want to make sure that everyone knows what the acronym MOOC stands for. A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course and Wikipedia describes it as follows: A massive open online course (MOOC) is a type of online course aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web.
A number of top colleges have been offering some of their online offerings so that anyone interested can follow along and participate. Check out the offerings from MIT, Yale, Harvard, and Stanford just to get a small sample of what is available. It is a tremendously exciting time to be a learner in a day and age where you can take advantage of the opportunity take courses from some of our country’s most prestigious institutions for free.
So as we consider ways to take advantage of the opportunity MOOCs offer our students, I think we have to keep in mind some of the commonalities of meaningful learning experiences. These are things that I have been reminded of as I have participated in my first MOOC, the Educational Technology and Media Open Online Course (ETMOOC).
The top thing for me is that a meaningful learning experience must offer participants meaningful opportunities to receive feedback and interact with other learners. The #ETMOOC experience has done this in many ways with options for participants to interact with both facilitators and learners on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. The other thing that I believe is needed in learning endeavors is an opportunity for fun. While I am not saying that every learning experience has to be fun, I am saying that we need to find more ways for learning and fun to go hand-in-hand.
While I know that I am simplifying a very complicated conversation, I also know that we can learn something valuable from what is happening with MOOCs. Just the video above is pretty impressive in my mind and the fact that in just over a week a group representing people from countries all over the world were able to come together to create something that is representative of their cause.
Stay tuned for more of thoughts on my MOOC experience…