(with apologies to George Siemens for stealing his blog title - consider it a sincere form of flattery!)
A week of my first MOOC has stirred up a lot of different emotions, procrastination and a couple of tangible outcomes. What is clear is that my perception varies according to role, so I'll examine my learning experience from a few different angles.
I've had to take a deep breath, relax and accept I'm a constructivist by nature. I really don't need badges or tokens of status and the warm appreciation of my peers, though welcome, doesn't drive me. It must be my age. I'd rather discover learning objectives as I go along and I'm realising that the knowledge I need for those probably won't come exclusively from DALMOOC. It has helped me understand the 'high drop-out rate' from a different angle. I might apparently drop out (or just occasionally dip in) but that doesn't mean that I've left the personal 'course' that it initiated.
I can't type and think at the same time beyond the inane, hence a chat with a truly lovely professor in the US was a less than helpful learning moment. You just get bored waiting for a reply and type something, so three or four strands of conversation develop that get really disjointed. The Real Ale one was probably the best in my opinion and I suspect my chat partner would say the same. I'm never doing the chat thing again and I could never recommend it - the promise of synchronous communication with the hiatus of asynchronicity.
While installing and testing Gephi I used Netvizz to extract Facebook data, the quantity and depth is horrifying, yet fascinating, and I would strongly urge any Facebook user to be aware how vulnerable your interactions in a group or with friends are to analysis. Choose your friends and group members carefully and don't agree to release data to researchers until you have explored these two tools.
Course design facilitator
If I had any criticism it would be the content of some activities. Collecting reviews of relevant educational software in a Word document just isn't going to work unless someone merges them together, so the opportunity to construct a useful artifact was lost. And while the Tableau sample worksheet is fine to start out with, it would have been so much better if at least one more relevant dataset and perhaps an example worksheet from it was provided. Finally, the idea of discussing the institutional policy of one's home base in an open MOOC like this has a hint of the naive. I might be approaching retirement and give less of a damn than most, but this is pretty thin ice!
OK, criticising content in a MOOC that is designed to generate much more than it starts with may seem churlish, but it needs to set a standard. Perhaps one higher than this blog!
Now what ...
I'm clearly going to persist. The MOOC has given me some ideas about developing ways of recording discourse in a non-linear fashion (which collided with an idea from a colleague, Graham Smith, about argument mapping software). I've already been amazed at the way relationships can be extracted from Facebook. The power to abuse groups is pretty scary, so I must understand the social network analysis tools better.