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We have approached the end of the second week of a one-unit course (EDTEC 700 Adding Social Media to the ID Tookit).  The students in the course are currently building an intricate wiki about various social media tools and their application in learning and training. It has reached 55 original pages.

I contributed a wiki page on the cMOOCs and their use of various social media such as blogs, Twitter, Google Hangouts, and others to create a community of learners and collaborators.

Here is an excerpt from my entry on cMOOCs:

cMOOCs

The Canadian scholars Stephen Downes  and George Siemens taught the first cMOOC called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, in 2008. More than 2200 students participated online, free of charge.

The cMOOCs (“c” stands for “connectivist”) are based on a new theory of learning- connectivism.  It rests on the idea that people learn from each other in a network by connecting existing nodes of information. Learners are encouraged to write blogs, twit, contribute to wikis and, in the process, connect content, create content, and construct knowledge; the facilitators of a cMOOC class would send daily emails with aggregations of the participants’ contributions.  Through sharing information and content-creation learners aim to refine their abilities to detect links between ideas and sources of information.

Siemens (2004) presents the following principles of connectivism:

  • “Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.”

Volunteers, passionate about their subject and eager to create a community of learners, become the sponsors and organizers of cMOOCs. They devote their own time to the moderation of a cMOOC course. In an environment of decentralized knowledge and within the context of an online learning community, every participant can be simultaneously a learner and a teacher.

A cMOOC Example

The cMOOC #ETCMOOC Massive Open Online Course: Educational Technology& Media was facilitated online between January 13 and March 30, 2013. The course created a decentralized network of learners who were encouraged to share ideas through blogs, Twitter, Google hangout, and other social media platforms. “ Sharing” and “networking” were the buzz words. Organizers also moderated Blackboard Collaborate sessions on the various topics of the course to introduce learners to the theoretical background of ideas and to the many digital tools available for sharing and collaboration. Here is an ETMOOC Archive of the Blackboard Collaborate sessions: http://etmooc.org/archive/

Sample topics used in ETCMOOC:

  • “Connected Learning – Tools, Processes & Pedagogy”
  • “Digital Storytelling – Multimedia”
  • “Remixes & Mashups,”
  • “Digital Literacy – Information, Memes & Attention”
  • “The Open Movement – Open Access, OERs & Future of Ed.”
  • “Digital Citizenship – Identity, Footprint, & Social Activism.”

The ETMOOC participants used the hashtag #etmooc to share information on Twitter.  All the participants shared their blogs’ addresses in a “Blog hub.” ETMOOC learners also had their own digital spaces in Google+ and Diigo.

Zooming in on specific learning activities in ETMOOC

One of the topics in the course was “Digital Citizenship – Identity, Footprint, & Social Activism.” The organizers had planned the following activities for this topic:

  • Learners were asked to blog on any issues related to the topic for two weeks. Through their digital activities, participants aimed at “ re/defining what Digital Citizenship is.”
  • Alec Couros, one of the ETMOOC facilitators, invited learners to his presentation in Blackboard Collaborate.
  • Learners were encouraged to participate in EDTMOOC Twitter Chat and follow it at #etmchat hashtag.
  • A guest speaker Bonnie Stewart facilitated a session titled, “ Digital Identities: Who are we in a Networked Public?”
  • In addition to the “planned” events, participants were  encouraged to form their own Google Hangouts to discuss ideas and share knowledge.
  • Finally, the organizers suggested some reflective assignments. Since this topic was one of the last in the course, learners were encouraged to reflect on ideas they had been exposed to as a result of their participation in ETMOOC.
  • Participants were also asked to select a digital tool or digital tools, reflect on their learning, and share the link of their final digital creation on Twitter.
  • Here is a link to the aggregated digital artifacts created by EDTMOOC learners: https://www.rebelmouse.com/etmooc/

References:

Siemens, George. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A Learning Theory of the Digital Age. Retrieved June 29, 2013, from Elearning Space: Everything ELearning:  http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Morrison, Debbie. (2013, April 22). The Ultimate Student Guide to xMOOCs and cMOOCs. Retrieved June 29, 2013 from MOOC News &  Reviews: http://moocnewsandreviews.com/ultimate-guide-to-xmoocs-and-cmoocso/

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