webinaring with fellow MOOCers and disconnected throughts to connect #cmc11

Will I make it?

Will I make it?

Rushed home to login and participate in this first webinar. I couldn’t believe it when I had difficulties loggin into Blackboard Collaborate… I thought I would miss it! In the end I didn’t…

I have to admit, I expected… the masses when I arrived. I thought finally, I will understand why a MOOC is called a MOOC and what this is all about.

Yes, I am still wondering why these open courses have been baptised MOOCs. If anybody is reading this and can explain this to me that would be fantastic. So, no masses tonight. I was actually thinking that more people would engage in a synchronous way than asynchronously since this would be a one-off per week but then of course asynchronous communication and collaboration might be more convenient because it can happen anytime, anyhow, anywhere if you have the technology in your pocket or bag. But is it effective for everything? I have heard and experienced many times how slow it can be (too slow? Too slow for what?) How could we use effectively synchronous communication and collaboration? Think about lectures and how these are usually delivered. Tutor and learners are there but who speaks most and why? If tutors are there for the learners, why don’t we let them lead us? And if this is possible and we should be doing this, how would this look like in a webinar? The asynchronous form to communicate and collaborate online has indeed moved away from being a tutor driven activity. Self-directed learners experience this as a paradise. How can non-self-directed learner learn how to thrive in such environments?

Is it just a problem with all the different timezones? Are people signing up without participating? How many are just lurking? How many are just accessing the resources and participate elsewhere, perhaps within existing online communities? And what would make them participate (more)? How do you form online communities? How do we form online communities? How can disconnected blog entries become conversations among individuals and enable them to get together. Do we spend more time searching for such opportunities? Or is it too early yet and I want it to happen now? Am I impatient? If we want to be part of a community we can’t expect that others will find us and come to us, I think. What role do we play, or could we play in the formation of such communities?

I am still clouded about all this and have many questions in my head (loads more than I have included here). However, I have started making some connections and I no longer feel on my own. Some meaningful exchange is happening and I am thinking about this course frequenty during the day. Maybe this is because we just started developing our own open course. I wouldn’t call ours a MOOC at this stage but I guess since it will be open access, we should prepare ourselves that it might become a MOOC. But how would we prepare ourselves?

Let’s focus a bit on the webinar itself. The orientation today was very useful and it is definitely something we will also offer in our own little open course. We might use additional features of Blackboard Collaborate doing this such as

  • the video and photographs of the tutors/facilitators
  • design activities during which learners can participate on the whiteboard and polls
  • if the group is small, introductions and why everybody is there, would help to give a more group feel
  • demo site features by using the desktop sharing or weblink to make it more dynamic, live and responsive
  • integrate questions into the session throughout which would enable participants to respond
  • encourage individuals to take the microphone (this might be problematic if not a community)
  • also less is more on slides, we would keep more empty room in the slides to enable adding of thoughts and ideas expressed during the webinar (this could be done by a moderators)
  • Using emoticons can also add to the webinar experience and enable participation and responding in different ways.

Then again we are also keen to explore the use of the BigBlueButton since it is an open access web-conferencing tool.  At the moment we are discussing options and try to identify the best way forward. But it would be great to use an open source tool for an open course… If you are reading this and have any ideas and would like to help us, please get in touch.

Am I focusing too much on the process than on the content of this course? Is this normal at this stage? Was this the point of the orientation tour? Just checking.

Beyond what I have already included, I have two terms zooming around in my head since they first appeared on one of the pages this evening. Multiculturalism and Interculturalism, as an ex-translator and a non-native English speaker, I try to understand the differences between these terms so that I can distinguish between them, add them first to my passive vocabulary but also my active one, if or when needed. After a brief visit to wikipedia, this is how I think I understood it and I am going to share my thinking visually in a very simplistic way. I would really like some thoughts on this, if you are reading this so that it can help me understand better.

snack happy love mix

multiculturalism: loving and celebrating variety

interculturalism: mixing

interculturalism: loving mixing ingredients

Will stop here for now and think a bit more about what I externalised and captured here. I am sure some of the questions will die and new questions will be born.