This week begins the latest phase in the great Siemens, Cormier, and Downes MOOC adventure. It is the longest and most ambitious to date, which is saying something considering the nature of the Massive Open Online Course is by its nature a pretty ambitious effort.
Change MOOC 2011 looks to be a remarkable investigation and exploration into the evolving space that is education, learning, and technology. Scanning through the course schedule, I couldn’t help but being excited at the prospects of where this will go. The roster of thinkers and topics is impressive indeed. I have to credit the three Canadians for turning me on to many of the names. I have been following the work the work of Cormier, Siemens, and then Downs now for a few years and because of that I now find many of the guest participant names far more familiar as a result.
I remain most fascinated and interested in the MOOC as a kind of phenomenon, albeit a seemingly small one. The course content is intriguing as well, but I can never help but feel that there is something remarkably powerful about the very nature of a MOOC. I have participated, more or less, in all but the first efforts of these three individually or collectively. I hoped to jump in the first time and very quickly lost track of it before I even truly got started. Consequently the second offering presented my first real deep dive into the experience, which I relished to the point of kind of drowning. Learning how to function and best participate in a MOOC creates its own unique kind of experience and knowledge.
Now after thrashing around in a few of them, I have found them to be extraordinarily rewarding and valuable, despite not feeling as though I have alway been completely successful. While goal-setting and determining success might be most purely individual within the context of a MOOC, but I can’t help being hungry and endlessly fascinated by so much of the material that is offered. I seem to always feel a bit hopelessly overwhelmed, even though I intellectually understand keeping up with it all is impossible, and I even make thoughtful choices to manage and try to avoid that feeling. I simply get so interested I wish I could remain submerged in the material and the learning.
Essentially, I am actually quite excited about this new course and the sheer scope of it. Since it will span over 35 weeks, it provides a range of topics that may be more or less of interest. So from that standpoint, this offering may very well be a bit easier to manage with longer rhythms that hopefully will not feel so fleeting. My hope is that I will find a way to simply make the course a part of my daily routine for the better part of the academic year. It should be fascinating if nothing else.