etmooc: Are moocs learner centred?

There have been too many great #etmooc tweets to mention, and I’m trying to keep track of my favourite tweets and posts in a growing Storify board. But this particular post is focused on a conversation begun by the following tweet from Christoph Hewett:

Keith Brennan wrote a nice post on this issue, replying to Christoph’s tweet, called The sense of self, how a MOOC can make or undermine you. Christoph’s tweet, and Keith’s reply, have got me thinking. Here are some results of that thinking.


Keith gives a nice definition of learner-centred learning:

Learner centred learning takes account of, and speaks to the differeing [sic] needs, requirements, and contexts of the students we engage with.

He then focuses on how taking into account students’ prior knowledge (and variations therein) must be a major part of making courses student-centred. In addition, he explains the idea of self-efficacy, from psychologist Albert Bandura, and how factoring in prior learning can enhance learner’s sense of self-efficacy. As Keith puts it,

Self efficacy is, simply put, your confidence in your own ability, and capacity to succeed at a task, as well as belief that the task is achieveable due to the contexts, tools, constraints and the overall situation.

[As an aside, I am thankful to Keith for pointing me to this idea, as I hadn’t heard it before and it’s very useful for thinking about why some students seem to lose faith and heart and just drop out of courses, whether officially or unofficially. I need to look into the self-efficacy notion further to see if there is something about the way my courses are structured, or about how I’m teaching them, that could lower some students’ self-efficacy.]

Keith then went into some suggestions for how to make etmooc more responsive to prior learning and thus more supportive to self-efficacy, such as: setting up a series of clear paths for learning and tasks to measure one’s progress, being sure to have resources ready for common problems faced by novices to the technology being introduced, structuring the teaching into clear chunks (since novices often prefer specificity to freedom), and more.

These are all useful ideas for helping some people feel that the course is more learner-centric, and that they can succeed. And, as Keith notes, those of us who want less specificity or don’t want to follow directed paths to learning can just ignore those things and learn what and how we wish.

Further thoughts

I want to think a little differently about Christoph’s original tweet, the idea that cMOOCs are crowd-centric rather than learner-centric. When Christoph said that, I thought immediately of a MOOC I sat in on a little while ago, which was more the “traditional” type of MOOC, with very structured learning paths, videos to watch, quizzes to take, etc. It was most definitely a content-delivery course.Crowd Photo by James Cridland, from

I can see that that sort of MOOC could be said to be more crowd-centric in the sense that the learning is the same for the crowd–the content is provided centrally, and it’s the same for everyone. There is no individuation for specific learners, nor changing of the content according to how the class is going (though that is at least possible–one could monitor the questions and comments fora and decide to add new videos or tasks to the course as it goes along, so at least some of that is possible).

However, it really got me thinking because my experience so far in etmooc has been very, very different from the other MOOC I took, and I actually think of it as more learner-centred. This is because there is much less in the way of centralized guiding of learning in this MOC than in the other one. There are only a couple of presentations per week, and even in those (from what I’ve seen so far), the point is less to provide content than to provide tools for connecting with each other, our students, and with more people around the world through global and social media.

This seems to reflect the difference between an “xMOOC” (content-focused) and a “cMOOC” (connection-focused)as explained by Martin Lugton in a blog post. I like his description of a cMOOC, as it fits well my experience with etmooc so far:

It’s a chaotic experience (as @RosemarySewart put it) and is inherently personal and subjective, as participants create their meaning and build and navigate their own web of connections. cMOOCs are not proscriptive, and participants set their own learning goals and type of engagement.

This is why I think of etmooc as actually learner-centred in its own way: learners focus on what is most meaningful to them, and they build their own connections through following the advice provided by the facilitators to blog, comment on blogs, read the discussions on Google+ sometimes, and read some of the Twitter feed. You can’t do it all, all of the time, but doing just some begins, even if slowly, to help you build connections and start contributing to conversations.

But that’s not what Christoph said

He said “cMOOCs” are crowd-centric, rather than learner-centric. I can see it for xMOOCs, but it didn’t seem to be so for cMOOCs, to me, until I started thinking about it more for this blog post. How can cMOOCs be said to be crowd-centric?

Perhaps insofar as they offer many, many resources and tools for people to choose from, and can’t possibly tailor those to each person’s needs so individuals themselves have to find what they need out of the wealth of information. I don’t know if that’s what Christoph meant, but it’s one way to think about it.

Still, of course, there is individual tailoring: partly by individuals themselves, but also from the community–others read one’s questions and prompts for advice on Twitter, Google+, blogs, or elsewhere, and (hopefully) comment and provide help with one’s specific issues. The individual has to centre the course for him/herself, with the help of others in the course. The course itself is, and must be if it’s a MOOC at all, crowd-centric in the sense of offering information that could apply to the crowd, to anyone in the audience equally. No facilitator can hope to tailor it to each person in such a large course, so we all have to help each other do so.

Keith still has a point

But this means there’s going to be much more information, tools, resources than is going to be digestible or really serve the needs of any individual participant. As many of us have noticed in blog posts, tweets, and more, numerous participants are feeling a bit at sea, overwhelmed, wondering how they can possibly do everything in etmooc, how they can keep up with all the conversations, etc. That theme has stood out to me over the past week or so, and it’s something I’ve felt too. I’ve had to repeat to myself a line that I learned from a post by Gayle in her blog, Learning by Doing:

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t do everything — only feel guilty if you don’t do anything.

I’ve tried to pass that sort of idea on to anyone I hear expressing a sense of drowning.


Providing a set of tools and lots of information, and allowing people to pick and choose what interests them most, may not work for all learners. Those with little prior knowledge, or who feel they don’t have the same tech skills as many others in the course may get too lost in the swarm of new things they could be learning about, and, realizing they don’t have time to do it all, could drown and drop out.

Also relevant is this post by Nick DiNardo at his blog, Live Curious. Nick notes that the style of learning in etmooc is such that, “What you put into it, you get out of it.” This can be one way of thinking of etmooc as learner-centred, because learners can pick and choose what to do amongst the many things on offer. As Nick puts it, “Learners can come and go as they please throughout the course, participating socially as they see fit.”

However, Nick also notes a downside to such a structure: it may be best for autodidacts, “learners who take an entrepreneurial approach to learning what they are curious about.” What of those who do not learn this way?


Could Keith’s suggestions above for etmooc or other cMOOCs work to help those types of learners? Or would they turn cMOOCs more towards xMOOCs in a problematic way? Is there a way to keep the focus on connection and the ability to leave people free to choose what to focus on, while structuring a cMOOC a bit more?

My fear is that if etmooc were more structured I personally would feel like I should follow the learning paths specifically, and then it would feel more crowd-centric, designed for a crowd, and less open for my own tailoring. Yet there are problems with the latter as well, as noted above.

I must admit I’m kind of stuck here. Maybe one should offer more structured learning in cMOOCs like etmooc and yet emphasize that that is not the only way to do the courses, that people can come in and out as they please, but those who wish it can do the more structured paths? Would those who choose not to feel like they are missing something important, and so ultimately the cMOOC experience turns into more like an xMOOC one?

Ideas? I am new to the whole xMOOC vs. cMOOC distinction, so perhaps there’s something important I’m missing here!


Photo Credit: James Cridland via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: dameetch via Compfight cc


  1. Hi Christina Hendricks
    Interesting subject in this blogpost. Keith wants the mooc to be more learner-centered. ” Learner centred learning takes account of, and speaks to the differeing [sic] needs, requirements, and contexts of the students we engage with.” he writes. If I do some close reading I find this: Keith does hide the subject of the sentence. Who must take account of and who must speaks to the … . That should be a teacher? But if the teacher lays down a path to follow, the course is teacher or course centered.
    Structured learning is fine, if the student structures the learning. If someone else structures the learning, it is teaching. Thanks you for this fine blogpost.
    Happy etmoocing

    1. Thanks, Jaap, for the thought-provoking comment. I do think that Keith’s quote about learner-centred learning requires a teacher (the “we” in the sentence). And I do see that any structured learning by someone other than the students could be said to be “teaching.” But I’m not sure if you’re suggesting that that is a problem–are you? I can see that too much structuring leads to less learning, whereas more learner-structured activities lead to more learning, but I also hope there is a balance to be found. At least, instructors can perhaps find a place in suggesting resources and tools, offering some advice when asked, and even perhaps asking questions for learners to get started on a path towards something they find meaningful. To me, etmooc hits this balance quite well–it offers a bit in the way of structure (some presentations, some suggested blog questions) with a lot of openness to write about and discuss whatever is most meaningful to oneself.

      1. Probably a good take home lesson for me – #etmooc does hit the balance well (for most people). Which is amazing given it’s use of resources (not a penny spent, volunteer time etc).

        Something for me to focus on more in my own participation.

  2. After publishing this post, I had a helpful Twitter conversation with Christoph Hewett (@ChristophHewett) where he explained further what he meant by saying that cMOOCs are crowd-centric, not learner-centric. Here’s a little of what he said:

    “xMOOCs are only content-centric, can’t be changed by crowd. cMOOC’s are governed by the crowd (big or small), not the learner.”

    So in part, the particular crowd you get influences the MOOC experience. His point goes further than that, in that he is concerned with MOOCs sometimes getting overcrowded with early adopters who aren’t so much learners but experienced practitioners. Those who are indeed learners can then sometimes end up just being lurkers in the chatter. The tweet he sent out just before the one I posted was, “Are Early Adopters toxic to Massive Open Learning?”

    Fascinating issue, and very different from what I discussed here. Thought I’d throw it out there for further thought by anyone. And this is something to consider in etmooc–let’s try to ensure that the conversation is helpful to as many as possible! I think it is already, but if not, we should all hear about it.

  3. Hi Christina,

    your post was well worth the wait – and thanks for tweeting it too.

    But I’m going to start with a response to Jaap, before beginning to respond to your post (I think it will take me a while to fully process the ideas you posted, and probably a post of my own in a few days time).

    Jaap said

    “That should be a teacher? But if the teacher lays down a path to follow, the course is teacher or course centered.
    Structured learning is fine, if the student structures the learning. If someone else structures the learning, it is teaching. ”

    Thinking about this question in an “either/or” framework is, I think, unnecessary. I’m attempting to think of it in a “also, and” framework. It’s not a question of either teacher or student led learning. It’s a question of designing for novices (teacher/designer led, skills based), and intermediates, and also experts (connectivist, constructivist, student led).

    There’s no requirement to exclude one group or the other. It’s possible to design for both. Providing designer structured guidance for your novice learners doesn’t mean you have to alter, adapt, or change the main course body.

    What I’m attempting to suggest is a course of action which ensures your novices have the tools to access the learning contained in a connectivist MOOC, with no real changes to the main body of the MOOC.

    Some participants are complaining about being unable to keep up with the learning curve involved in learning the technologies necessary to connect with learning during the course. An answer here would be to get them up to speed with the tools (ideally in advance) to enable them to connect, and choose their own paths through the MOOC so they can connect effectively, efficiently, and maximise their learning and peer contributions.

    Here’s s simple way to identify and teach to your novice learners so that they have the tools to connect efficiently in the main body of your course, providing student centred experiences for both groups.

    In your course description, state, explicitly, the course requirements. Re the technologies, what they are, how they will be used, and how that’s important in the course, breaking down the components into basic blocks, and providing instructional resources where students don’t have those skills.

    For example
    ” These are the course requirments,. They’ll detail the technologies and skills you’ll need to be familiar with to get the most from the course. If you are unsure of any of the technologies, what they are, or what they mean, you can click on the link for an explanation, and resources that will teach you the skills we’re detailing.

    We’ll be using Twitter in severakl ways, (if you’ve never used twitter, click here to set it up, and have a quick tutorial on using it) and it will be a key tool that students will need to be adept with to access learning and peers during the course. We’ll be scheduling weekly tweetchats (if you don;t know what a tweetchat is, click here for an example and explanation), for participants to talk to one another. Yopu’ll need to be able to use an application like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck (click here for a turorial on downloading and installing them if you need it).

    You’ll be using hashtags to connect with other learnwers, ask questions, offer help, collaborate, and make your blogposts and resorces available to other people, and access theirs. (click here etc, etc, etc)

    And we’ll be using twitter as a backchannel during the presentations and sessions on blackboard. (click here etc etc etc)

    You’ll also need to connect with other users and start your own conversations about content, ideas and experiences to experience the MOOC as it’s intended. (click….)

    If you are completely new to Twitter, and you feel you could benefit from a complete course in how to use it efficiently, click here for our suggested learning path – it’s a course that will bring you from signing up, all the way through to massive tweetchats with hundreds of participants, and linking twitter to your blog, and other applications you might like to use.

    Needless to say, if you are comfortable with some or all of these skills, you can pick and choose your own way through the resource, or ignore them completely.

    “Keith does hide the subject of the sentence” …no hiding intended Jaap. I’m trying to be as transparent as I can. Apologies of my intentions or ideas were unclear, or not clearly spelled out.

  4. Hi again Christina,

    thanks again for storifying and discussing the post. Hope I have enough time to do your post justice here.

    I think Christoph’s tweet deserves more thought than I gave it. I’m probably not representing his idea well – it just sparked with thought’s I had been having, and sharing with and from other participants.

    I operate from a premise where any educational experience needs to take into account the variables, and adjust it’s focus, practice, theory and experiences in order to be student centred. Design should flow from understanding your student. The student is the ultimate variable, and to be student centred, you need to accept and embrace this. And that’s going to inform my response here.

    The ADDIE model has this at the analysis stage – who are you designing for, what are their characteristics, how does that shape your design. It’s at the beginning of the model because this shapes the entire process.

    Both MOOC types are learner centred (as are the task based MOOC types), depending on what learner you are talking about.

    xMOOCs have a niche that finds them centred on them. cMOOCs have a niche that feels they are focused on them. I have students who want Behavioiurism, students who want constructivism, students who respond well to a cognitivist approach, ones who expressly want a constructionist approach. Frankly, xMOOCs that want to broaden their scope, appeal, and learner base could probably take a leaf from the cMOOC base. Give your expert learners freedom. It’s better for them. cMOOCs could take a leaf from the xMOOC book. Give your novices direction.

    I’m a pedagogical pragmatist, which means I’m faithless and promiscuous. I won’t stick to one answer no matter what life throws at me. I’ll flirt outrageously with every theory in the room.

    In #etmooc’s case, I think the main body of the MOOC doesn’t have to change (though it could benefit from being more explicitly spelled out in a specs document – be nice to your learner, tell them exactly where they need to start from, even if, by design, you don’t have an idea where they will wind up) at all. My idea is to get the novices who are dropping out, or finding it incredibly difficult, or expending a lot of learning effort for not enough return, or are unable to pick the path through the MOOC that they want, …is to get these learners to a place where they can connect efficiently, quickly, and well.

    I think your concerns about changing the c top an x in MOOC are fair, and need to be designed for. Changing a cMOOC into an xMOOC is merely swapping the niche, and is not an answer. It’s just a different but related problem. As I said in my other comment, we should probably design with” also, and” as a motto and not “either,or”.

    What we need to do is provide the tools (preferably in advance, explicitly – we’re doing this in an instructionist way to get you up to speed with connectivism, here’s what connectivism is, and here’s how these tools will help you with it – and with tasks that produce connectivist experiences and results) in a way that allows participants to engage with them.

    “Could Keith?s suggestions above for etmooc or other cMOOCs work to help those types of learners? Or would they turn cMOOCs more towards xMOOCs in a problematic way? Is there a way to keep the focus on connection and the ability to leave people free to choose what to focus on, while structuring a cMOOC a bit more?”

    I think your questions are really good, key, and clear. And concise. Something I’m often not.

    I’ll pass on the first, as I’m biased. The second, I think I’ve tried to answer. Be honest, and direct with your learners, design your tasks well, from their perspective, with your aims clearly in mind and stated, and direct their attention, via instruction and task, to where you are trying to get them. Your tasks should generally be connectivist in nature, and mirror the contexts you want to achieve, and validation should be in that context. Impose the structure electively, be completely transparent about this (here’s the how, why, what and when, and the ultimate aim is to get you up to speed with connectivist tools) and have it as a separate but intersecting program.

    With good design, there’s no need for contradiction.

    1. Hi Keith: Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I like your answer to my question about whether adding more structure to a cMOOC like etmooc might make it more like an xMOOC: it is possible to find a balance with adding structure and still keep the focus on openness and freedom to find your own path. I do think that etmooc could use a little more structure. For example, I had a heck of a time finding the archived Blackboard sessions at first (as tweets from others show that they are too), and hadn’t thought to look under ‘archives’ on the etmooc site. I also just responded to Nick Smith on Google+ when he asked where are the assignments (I think he meant suggested blog topics) for each topic in etmooc. Those are really hard to find (I think this topic’s ones are now on the front page of the site, but weren’t before). Just little things like that could help, in addition to what you note above.

      I really like the way you put it: Give your expert learners freedom, and give your novices direction. That sounds exactly right. My only concern is that I have the kind of personality where if I’m given direction, I feel like I have to follow it. And even though I count myself as something of an expert learner in the field of edtech (though there’s still much I can and have learned from etmooc!), I will often just follow the path given even if what I really need is freedom. But that’s not something a MOOC can control. It’s something I (and others who are like me) would need to figure out how to deal with on our own. But perhaps a MOOC could make it explicit that the direction is not necessary, that one can get just as much out of the experience by exploring on one’s own what is most meaningful to him/her, and that not all suggested paths need to be taken. etmooc has been good at doing this, for those who start to feel guilty about not doing everything–we are assured by moderators and fellow etmooc-ers that doing everything is not the point. Doing what one finds most important is, and leaving it at that.

      And your post about cheerleading the etmooc moderators is right on!

      1. Oh, and I wanted to ask:

        I found this age on the etmooc site really helpful–it has some links to tutorials and advice for using many of the edtech tools. Some of the things you suggest in your reply to Jaap are here, I think. Should there be more in the way of this sort of thing–is that what you mean?

        The problem is that the title of the page is not really self-explanatory (to me, anyway): “Dynamic Guide to Active Participation.” I clicked on it just to see what the heck that meant. But for those looking for tutorials on tools used in the MOOC, that title may have been confusing enough that they didn’t click on the page!

      2. Hi Christina,

        really good points about the signposting of resources. I think addressing this is a really good beginning to make it more manageable for people who need that help.

        I also think your point about explicitness is insightful. I think being explicit with your learners (wjhatever your role is – teacher, educator, facilitator, mentor…) is really helpful, and important. Being explicit about where things are, about the tools needed, the applications of the tools, the structure methodology and learning paths in your MOOC are really good practice.

        In my own practice, I try to tell my learners what, where, when, why (what this will help you do, and why we need to look at it) and how (the educational methodology, as well as the tolls we’ll use, the steps we’ll take, and how we’ll assess them), at (almost) all times. Educators sometimes overlook the how part, but it is important. I think this type of explicitness is really key,. and if #etmooc implemented it more,( maybe as part of the publicity, signup, and course spec) that’s a quick and easy way to address a lot of issues.

        It falls under the term “be knid to your learners” for me. If you want them to achieve something, let them know ways to do that. If you have tools, make them easy to find. If you want them to engage in a process, tell them clearly what the process is. If you want them to make a journey, put markers up, tell them what the journey looks like, and describe points along the way so they know what they look like when they arrive, and how far they’ve come and have to go. Make all this info easy to access and find.

        None of these need to be prescriptive. They can be freeing.

        And support in path choosing (resources, letting go of guilt, choosing focus, tools to use and how) is something the community has been good at…but you do need a base level to access this support. And I guess my main focus has been on people who are feeling they either don;t have the skills to access the support, or have too srteep of a skills (ie using twitter, Google +, collaborate) learning curve to implement skills, advice and path choosing.

        The resource page is good – I’ve looked at it, and used some of it,. I think for learners a little further along the curve than ones I’ve been think of, it’s good (but it does need to be more explicit A resource page is only good if your user knows where it is, and why they need it, and exactly off it what they will need, and what it will help them do).

        For novices, I’d suggest something more designed. Something that has more direct examples, access to a resource as a person, and offers some validation techniques.

        For example, for someone who has never used twitter before, and isn;’t web savvy, you probably need to give them something which leads them through the entire process.

        I’d suggest setting up an instructor twitter account. Setting specific chunked resources to teach a particular skill, validated by relevant tasks, that use the account to monitor and porovide validation.

        So, resource 1 teaches you to log in, search for a username, and follow someone. Task, set up your account, find and follow the instructor account. Task two, hashtags, and sending a tweet. Task, tweet to a specific hashtag that is tied to the instruction. Resource and task three, following people from tweets. Find three other people who posted to the hashtag. Resource and task 4 installing and using tweetdeck. Install it, load it, tweet the instructor from it.

        Move your tasks more and more so that the user is detaching more from the instructor, and integrating more with the community over time. Finally, use twitter to run tweetchats and as a backchannle to do with another part of the intro course.

        This needs a lot more thought and design…but something like that.

        1. Hi Keith:

          I agree generally with your points, but I think the more granular level of task-validation that you give as an example in Twitter might be a bit too much for a mooc like this, which, as you note, is done totally on volunteer time! Personally, I think that pointing people to good tutorials on each tool, video tutorials to help people visualize what to do (and I expect most of those are already out there on the web) is good enough for a mooc without a lot of resources behind it. It seems to me that if people have found etmooc somehow, they are probably at least tech savvy enough to watch tutorials on the web to get started with the tools. However, I do think having resource people to email for specific questions about specific tools would help, in case they can’t get the tools to work for them. Otherwise, they can just ask their questions inside the tools themselves (Google+, e.g., where people are posting on the Q&A forum!).

          So overall, I agree with your points about having some structure in cMOOCs for novices, I guess I lean a little further away from the structure side than you do! More of a balance of structure and getting info from connections is where I’m at right now.

          1. I don;t think we disagree at all.

            I didn’t really mention the resource issue, or give it the prominence it needs in my pints, but it is key, and a determining factor in what can and should be done/provided.

            That said, I had though tech savviness came with the territory, but I’m not certian, now, that it does. It probably does for most, but it can be surprising how difficult it can be.

            For my last project, I had to read a case study paper detailing the need for explicit it support for a group of final year IT undergrads who needed designed howtos to get them to use a wiki for labs and project work – low takeup in the first month was due to students being unfamiliar with the posting and editing tech, and the tutors had to insert howtos.

          2. Re structure,

            in general, I prefer guidance, and a formative feedback cycle that flows every way, student student, teacher student, student teacher, a collaborative process, and learning by doing/making.

            You are absolutely right…balance is key. But I think also contextual. I try to think of it as a learner driven balance. Some learners need more, some less structure. Many novices benefit from it, but not all, just as many expert learners need little, but not all.

            We might think about balance a littlr differently, but I think we share more than we differ.

            Sorry if these reply posts are a little unfocused. My son’s nodding off on my arm as I type…

  5. Great reflection! Your post makes me think about the potential value of partners in a connectivist MOOC. Similar to how we pair up students in school, why not pair up people in the MOOC who have relatable but different levels of tech comfort and experience? This way, all of the time and individualization that people who are newer to social media and PLNs, web 2.0 tools, and other technologies might need can be found within the course itself without pulling on external resources or additional time from the course coordinators. Partners could also embed in the MOOC the development of deeper learning relationships that extend beyond the course and provide everyone with a “lifeline” if/when they feel like they’re starting to sink under the seemingly endless resources and discussions. I’m sure there would be challenges with time zones, participant levels, etc. but I think it could still work and be a unique growing opportunity for both people involved in the partnership. What do you think?

    1. Hi Margaret: Great idea! I was kind of thinking something like this myself, but hadn’t really put it into words yet. I think having a partner, or even a small network of people (in case your partner gets overworked and has to drop out or something) would be fantastic. And/or, how about a group of mentors specifically tagged for the sorts of things they know about, like: if you need help with Google+, tweet (or email, or whatever) to so-and-so. Or help with Twitter, blogs, etc. There could be a whole list of people willing to be mentors on different things. I still would like to have a partner or a small group, but an expert panel to go to might be good too! Thanks for the thoughts here, which sparked my ideas on an expert panel.

  6. Alison & I are discussing this thread, and could use your feedback on how best we could have done this.

    On the site, there are several pages to help new users. For instance, there’s an Orientation – and this was shared in one of the first blog posts (and via email) . Also, there’s a Dynamic Guide for Participants . Both of these were to help new users adjust to the tools in context to the #etmooc experience. Reading these comments, it is obvious that a lot of people missed this information, so we’d like to fix that. Or maybe we need to take another approach altogether.

    Although this information was emailed, blogged, tweeted repeatedly – what about this aspect (i.e., getting more new users acquainted and ready for the environment) could we have done better? And how?

    We’re really looking forward to any feedback that you can provide. And thanks for this wonderful, insightful discussion!

    1. Hi Alec (and Alison!): Thanks so much for joining in! For me, this is mostly a theoretical discussion about how to handle the differing needs of different learners in something like a mooc. But some specific things about etmooc have caught my attention in twitter, google+, etc. Lots of people have been looking for the archived Blackboard sessions, and at least one has been looking for the blog suggestions for this topic. I know the latter was sent via email, but that person also suggested (Nick Smith) that perhaps they could be posted along with the topics, on the “topics and schedule” page. I think it might be helpful for some of us, me included, if the topics and schedule page had links to the archived Blackboard sessions and the suggested blog post topics. It seems I’m not the only one who went there to try to find such things!

      It may be that some people pay more attention to just looking at the website for themselves than what is posted on Twitter or even email. And I think the website could be improved in this way. Also, perhaps, you could change the name of the “Dynamic Guide for Active Participation” page, since I didn’t know what that meant when I first read it, and didn’t realize it had all those helpful tutorial and advice for blogging, twitter, google+, etc. Maybe something like “tutorials and advice for participants” or a separate one just for tools, like “tutorials on tools used in etmooc,” or something like that.

      Thanks for listening and responding!

      1. Christina,

        Thanks for these suggestions. I just wanted to write and acknowledge that your response is very much appreciated and will be addressed! If you think of anything else that would be helpful, can you let either Alec or I know? :)

        1. Hi Alison:
          I did see this at some point early on, but I can’t remember how I got to it. It’s a good resource, and thanks for pointing it out again!

          I should say that in hindsight, and having started another MOOC, that ETMOOC did a fantastic job of providing resources for people to get into the tools and the whole notion of connecting with others. There was so much emphasis on commenting on others’ blogs, on using Twitter (with the weekly Twitter chats), on the importance of making connections more than following instructions/suggested assignments, that the message really got through–for me, at least. It was tough starting out, just figuring out how all this worked, but the information and help was all there and very good. I think starting with “connected learning” was an excellent idea, as that got us into the right mindset for how to operate in the rest of the MOOC. In another MOOC I’m taking, the community aspect (so far) is a little on the sidelines, left to the participants themselves to develop, but without a great deal of guidance.

          In many ways, ETMOOC got things exactly right!

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