Readings, and Related Inspirations

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Infographing the MOOC

I have pretty much always a fan of the infograph, yet still haven’t made one myself. Of course by always, I mean since last year when I discovered they were, indeed, a ‘thing.’ Recently, a woman named Allison Morris emailed me with this infograph about MOOCs and it’s worth passing along.

And while I must note that the infograph is a little too optimistic about the MOOC, what it does, and who it serves, it’s a great way to start explaining what a MOOC is, especially if you’re like me, and you’re on a single-woman crusade to get everyone (and their grandmother) to do some personal-information expansion.

Below is the MOOC inforgraph taken from




Participant Pedagogy in Games

Hey all –

For today’s MOOCMOOC challenge, I would like to re-introduce the idea of gaming in the classroom. Some of us had mentioned this in the first #moocmooc discussion on Sunday.

Based on our readings, and some thoughts I have had about decreasing the grading load, especially for us composition teachers, I have come up with a game to play to teach my students rhetorical, audience, networking, community, online, blogging, google doc, and honor system skillz – all rolled into one.

I invite you to check out the game on my syllabus: What’s Making Me Happy. Please please please respect the spaces I have provided for my students and keep the Google Score sheet clean.

I welcome ANY feedback you might have about the game. It launches (in my classrooms) in about 3 weeks. It has never been attempted and I’m not sure what exactly to anticipate.


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Last August I participated in my very first Massive Open Online Course hosted by Hypbrid Pedagogy. It was called MOOCMOOC. It was a MOOC about MOOCs – it answered questions like, “What is a MOOC?” and “Where does learning happen?” But it also opened my eyes to a lot of new experiences I had never had before. And most of these experiences I did from inside my house.

As soon as the board at Hybrid Ped said, “We’re going to do another MOOC,” I cheered loudly – inside. And of course, I’m at it again. This time, it’s MOOCMOOC2. Essentially, it’s the same thing as last time. Which brings me to my post here. Today is Video Tuesday and below, you will find my video which answers the question: “What do I value in learning?”

You might have noticed, if you’ve watched my previous videos, that I seem to have learned to use my Live Movie Maker, and that I have found a camera… with sound!! Not that that matters, because I also learned to use Audacity. Can you tell I had a busy semester? I’m no professional, as you are about to be able to tell, but it was fun making this film, and I hope you enjoy it.



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Today we discussed the MOOC in class a little.

For those of you who are a little acronym fatigued, MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. It is currently developing as a forum for learning for learning’s sake. There are no grades assigned, no credits earned, and no diplomas at the end. And for some reason… people still seem to be compelled to do them.

Here are some links to different MOOC sites so you can get a feel for what a MOOC actually is. Remember, MOOCs are still new. They will morph and change. They WILL become something else, and soon.

Udacity – founded and operated by Sebastian Thrun (Google VP and scholar), and two other really smart guys, Udacity offers a bunch of different learning options.

Kahn Academy – Where you can learn ‘almost anything’ for free!

Coursera – Overcoming the boundaries of geography, time and money!

And then there are some learning links, for those of you who don’t want to actually try it all out:

MOOC Youtube

Or… wikipedia. Everyone’s go-to


And of course there are some great article on Chronicle of Higher ed, and Hybrid Pedagogy… you want it… the internet’s got it.


The End of MOOC²

I told a lot of people I was doing a MOOC this week.

Almost every conversation went this way:

Valerie: “So I’m doing this MOOC about MOOCs and I have to make a video… etc”

Friend: “A what?”

Valerie: “Have you every heard of a MOOC?”

Friend: “I don’t think so?” followed by a confused look… and so on.

In Melonie Fullick’s Blog Post “Following the her, or joining the merry MOOCscapades of higher-ed bloggers”, Fullick talks about ‘disruption’, which is “portrayed as a means of breaking up the monopoly of the university(through technology).” She is critical about the way in which higher-ed bloggers and the spreaders of the MOOC-is-great rhetoric of late are missing some of the points of communication technology and its effect on the way we do academics. MOOCs, then, can be seen as a piece of that disruption. But if higher-ed bloggers are writing about MOOCs, then why have none of the people I’ve spoken casually with ever heard of a MOOC?

During my week of MOOCsploration, I discovered new abilities I can now exploit, both in my personal sphere,  and in my classroom. I learned about the importance of a communal cause (to experience the MOOCMOOC). And I learned that making up MOOC-related words is kind of fun, and oft’ done, it seems.

Melonie Fullick was right in using ‘disruption’ when talking about MOOCs. Sure, MOOCs might have a hand in disrupting the traditional learning system, but this week, MOOCMOOC had a hand in disrupting my regular life. In a good way.

In Jacques Berlinerblau’s article “Survival Strategy for Humanists: Engage, Engage” Berlinerblau remembers a past when scholars were involved in the virtues of popular culture. They published reviews and were prevalent in mainstream culture.

How does this relate to MOOC MOOC disrupting my regular life?

During MOOCMOOC, I learned that being connected on a massive scale, communally experiencing what a MOOC is all about, is an exhilarating experience. If I found myself in Taiwan next week, I would absolutely look up Bernardo Trejos from Group 6. I might even think about skipping down to Wellington and learning to make margaritas with Rosemary. I never knew that twitter and a google doc could make me feel connected to like-minded individuals. The disruption then, makes me realize that I can participate in ways I didn’t know I could. It makes me realize that engaging in humanist activities on the massive scale can be a part of my academic career. And they probably should be.

But I don’t want to just praise the MOOCMOOC and not be critical – that wouldn’t be fair. So below, I answer a few of the Saturday questions:

  1. What have we learned this week about MOOCs? How do they succeed? How might they fail? What are their strongest points and their weakest?
        • I already talked about what I learned. And I feel I was a successful MOOCer – minus my disappearance on Thursday. Thursday and Friday were a little overwhelming for me because I had other things going on that needed my attention more. It seems that, in order to be a successful MOOCer, you need to be invested. And to stay invested.
  2. What is to be done with MOOCs from this point forward? Should they remain “massive”? Do they replace or reconfigure the traditional college classroom, or do they point to the invention of something entirely new?
        • I like the massive part of MOOC. I do not stand behind replacement in traditional classrooms. I still need that f2f interaction everyone is always talking about. NEED it.
  3. Are MOOCs really yet a form, a species of their own? Or are they part of an evolution toward something else — more workable, monetizable, and manageable?
        • We could argue that MOOC is a ‘form’, but it’s growing. It’s catching on – I think we just need to wait and see.
  4. What’s the first thing we want to say to non-MOOC MOOCers about what we’ve undergone this week? What’s the second thing? And, upon reflection, what will we actually say?
        • The first thing I say is that it’s fun, but a little overwhelming. I describe some of what I do, and then often find myself embroiled in a conversation about privacy, and identity… MOOC is a wonderful conversation starter

At the end of the week, I can safely say that I learned more than I imagined I would, and had a good time doing it. The mindset of the MOOCMOOCers was wonderful, but I can only assume that many MOOCs do not run this way. I liked that it was hosted in Canvas, which I am about to use for the very first time in my own class. And I liked that we had twitter socials. That was really great thinking on the part of the creators.

I feel that MOOCMOOC was a success.

Thanks Hybrid Ped peeps!

Oh – and before I forget – Here is the mid-way reflection storify I promised a few days ago – it’s kind of fabulous.

MOOCMOOC Day 3 Reflection Storify



Learning From Experience(s) @ MOOCMOOC Mass-ignment 3

Let’s face it: Some of us are turning into MOOCMOOC junkies. Whether that means we love doing it, are really hating doing it but can’t stop, or some variation thereof… there are those of us who are spending more time MOOCing than a 14 year old girl spends on facebook.

For me, much of my learning happens when I reflect on the readings I’ve done, and the applications I’ve attempted. For example, last night, I had to figure out how to use Microsoft Movie Maker really fast, since all of my other equipment failed me. And now I know how to teach someone else in a classroom. Today, I’m reflecting on what I learned, and a lot of it is about backups and sharing – the theory will come later, after more reflection.
Since today’s MOOCMOOC assignment is about participant pedagogy, I am taking it upon myself to open up an activity that promotes mid-term self-reflection. And it’s up to you whether you want to participate, or not. In one of our readings today from Hybrid Pedagogy, “Rheingold writes, ‘Participation is deliberate’ (145), which suggests that learning doesn’t happen when students merely follow the instructions of teachers, but only through mindful reflection about their own learning processes. ” I agree with this completely.

Below I am attaching a video I made this morning in a pinch. It has some rather specific instructions, which is sort of unlike what Jesse does with open directions, but I’m kind of old school like that, so I ask you to humor me.

Feel free to make a video, or a photograph in order to complete my Reflection assignment.

Then — tweet your photo or video link to #moocmooc & @vrobin1000 — so everyone can see it – AND please leave your link in the comments section below.

I will storify all the links you tweet me, or comment to me, and I’ll post another blog tonight with the storify link – Please get these to me by 10PM EST, so I can storify and sleep!

“If we do this right, I’ll learn more about facilitating others to self-organize learning.” – Rheingold Blog

Happy Building!

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MOOCMOOC – Tuesday – Video day

It took me a while – a long while.

Today’s assignment for the MOOCMOOC was to create a video answering the question “Where does learning happen?”

First, my camera audio didn’t work. So I said, what the heck? I’ll just do a voice over later. Nope. After I filmed, I couldn’t upload it through itunes… for whatever reason.

So instead… I did this.

Let’s see if one of those works. Clearly I need more practice at this.