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Sharing Views Narrative 


Situation    Most learners in the “H817 Open” MOOC were education professionals who needed a clear learning focus to discussions in the forum.  The mixture of formal and informal learners in a MOOC environment in early 2013 - a time when most educators had not yet experienced a MOOC - may have created the feeling of awkwardness of many learners in initiating interaction with their peers, a necessary first step to developing discussion.  Whilst an introductory thread opened by a facilitator quickly grew to 90 posts, which referenced one another, most other threads tended to have fewer than five posts and many posts did not reference those of any other learner.


Task    The MOOC design intended for learners to interact via comments on one another’s blogs, and to use the forum for discussion on some tasks - but not all.  The forum was to provide peer interaction and support both from fellow learners and facilitators.  In addition, this MOOC on open education and open educational resources (OER) sought to encourage open practice and the sharing of resources created.


Action    In Week 1 learners were encouraged in the third MOOC activity to “create a visual representation that defines openness in education’’ in response to readings provided about these concepts.  These representations were to be included in learners’ blogs.


Result    A learner opened a thread in the official forum to share a link to a blog and other learners spontaneously responded within the thread, both sharing links to their own visual representations and commenting on one another’s.  Their posts within this thread referenced other posts and interaction between learners was clear and included both supportive and approving comment on the content, the form of representations, and the sharing of techniques and tools to create them.  This thread was the third most populous in the first week, with between ten and thirty times more activity than almost all other threads.
Reflection    Learners appeared to have enjoyed the task, and were very willing to share their results, which might suggest that this felt less threatening for some than text-based responses.  It was easier for learners to quickly engage with, appreciate the work of others and to comment positively.  The visual form appeared to make it easier to grasp many other learners thoughts and views of the concepts without a large time investment.  They began to interact more freely, not only in the formal MOOC forum, but also in other social networking spaces where these visual forms were more readily embedded into posts. 

 

Author(s): Paige Cuffe, Eileen Kennedy, Yishay Mor, tharindu, Steven Warburton
Published at: 10 Aug 2015 13:05 GMT
Original link (login required): https://ilde.upf.edu/moocs/pg/lds/view/2417/