After the mooc has gone – the real collaboration and connectivisism begins

In my invited speaker slot at ALT-C last month I mentioned that MOOCs despite what you may think of them have given the sector a rush of some kind of energy.  Measuring success on MOOCs tho is still fraught. Many much wiser souls than me have shared various theories as to why this may be, including the drop out rates, the “you take what you need”, “it’s more like a conference” etc.  I’ve blogged a lot about  my adventures with MOOCs over the past year. I’ve analysed and reflected on my own disengagement (and engagement) with them.  By traditional measures I’ve only actually completed three MOOCs but from each of them I still have sense of community and connections that have endured beyond the set time of the actual MOOC.  

#oldsmooc ( the learning design MOOC run by the OU) has been probably the most challenging MOOC for me but in many ways also the most rewarding as it was actually the first time that I felt that I had true learner autonomy.  It was a challenging for many reasons but towards the end there was a real spirit of community, trust and support – and that wasn’t just because there were only a few of us left standing 🙂  

Through the wonders of social media (particularly twitter) I’ve managed to stay in contact with a number of my felllow #oldsmooc-ers., and over the last couple of weeks I think we’ve done something quite extraordinary. Six of us have collaboratively written a paper. Like so many things these days, it started with a tweet.

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And so the power of connectivism sprang into life (see this storify for more)

Coordinating suitable times between  Australia, Canada, England, Ireland and Scotland  was quite a challenge, but thanks to some people being willing to get up at 6am, we did it. Using google hang-outs we started to make our plans.

After much discussion we decided that it would be good share our contrasting experiences of the #oldsmooc and what we have individually and collectively classified as our own measures of success.  Several months have passed since the end of the course, and I think it is only now that we all are able to begin to articulate and properly reflect on what we have all experienced and what impact it has had on us.

For me it was having the confidence to be able to in a way do what I wanted in terms of thinking about the context of learning and in particular the user interface of Cloudworks which  believed could be far more user friendly and useful through visualising connections. For others it was about developing and extending their own personal learning networks, using some of the actual course materials and methodologies in their own practice and collaboratively developing new learning designs. There is a really rich stream of data from our conversations and notes – enough for several papers.  

Fingers crossed our paper will be accepted but even if it isn’t, I’ve really enjoyed this extended learning experience and working with my peers from #oldsmooc.  Another measure of a successful learning experience imho.

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