I enrolled for my second MOOC a few weeks ago – the Moodle MOOC. It was advertised as a self-paced, collaborative learning course. I was hoping to get some insights into how other teachers and administrators used the LMS, especially the new version – 2.5.
I enrolled a day before the official opening, introduced myself, and watched the opening live session. Disappointed in the opening session as it seemed to have more hype than content. Next day we were asked to enrol as beginner teachers, experienced teachers or administrators. I enrolled in the latter two, and again introduced myself to the two groups. However, I was informed that I could only enrol in one. Then I was asked to state what my experience as an administrator was, as only those who were experienced as admins could enrol there – no room for newbies. My reply was deemed OK so I was able to stay in that role. I kept waiting for the content.
Finally, it seemed to arrive in the form of an email giving us a task to do. As administrators we were to make an artifact about the interface of Moodle to present to the teachers in the course – a slideshow or screencapture seemed to be what was required. And it had to be engaging. Also it had to be done collaboratively. And by June 8th – this was June 5th. Three days to create a team – and as it was a worldwide MOOC, chances are at least one of the group members was probably just going to bed as you read it. Having a deadline seemed to ignore the promise of being self paced. As did the element of creating for someone else who expected to have it within a few days. As did the idea of having to collaborate and try to fit in with someone else’s schedule.
Rather than getting an insight into the newest version of Moodle by those in the know, it was going to be up to me to investigate the features and teach others about them. Not quite the blind leading the blind, but certainly not what I was expecting from this MOOC.
The learning theory behind this was that through collaborating with other admins, we would gain insights and be able to pass them on to the teachers. The teacher would also make some demands on us and so push us into new areas. Learning by doing is the current buzz phrase to describe this. In many ways a methodology well suited to achieving the objectives. But not in a MOOC, and most certainly not in one that was promoted as being self-paced. I had already spent 4 days providing my personal input and reading others, getting nothing worthwhile from this MOOC. I could see myself spending the next 3 days getting frustrated with the task and the deadline and still being none the wiser about Moodle.
I decide it was time to call quits and get back to my more preferred mode of learning – getting the manual (book or PDF, I don’t mind which), working my way through it, and appealing to members in forums if I get stuck. So I unenrolled. Wikis and forums are the real MOOCs. No certificates, just the joy of learning.