Endorsing helpful MOOC participants
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Academic magnet narrative

Situation    Despite the large number of forum posts as contributions to discussions in the “H817 Open” course in the first week, it was difficult to see many ongoing discussions. Many contributions were standalone posts by individuals, with thread containing fewer than ten posts with little linking or referring to one another’s posts abounding.

Task    The task for the course facilitators was to create dialogue within forums so that interaction developed, as the first part of creating an environment of trust and connection to faciliate the growth of discussion.

Action    The course creator and lead educator Prof. Martin Weller offered informal comment on several forum posts, notably also in the learner led social networking spaces such as the Google+ forum.

Result    As soon as Prof. Weller’s brief comments - even when social in nature - appeared on a discussion thread it created an enormous influx of posts to that conversation. These threads then became discussions or dialogues rather than monologues as were observed before.

Reflection    Learners like to receive feedback and be noticed by the educator. In a MOOC learners and educators are not known to each other personally unlike in a face-to-face setting. In the online setting, an educator posting on a thread that a learner has posted seems to provide the impression that the educator is recognising or noticing the contributors/contributions of that thread. Learners may also see the discussions where educator has posted as useful, interesting, or worthy to follow. This could be a strategy used by learners to filter-out the information overload they face.


Author(s): Paige Cuffe, Eileen Kennedy, Yishay Mor, tharindu, Steven Warburton
Published at: 10 Aug 2015 12:58 GMT
Original link (login required): https://ilde.upf.edu/moocs/pg/lds/view/2422/