Reflections on a MOOC so far

Reflections on a mooc so far.

This was written over the course of a day trip down to London. I have not edited it since writing it on a Pad as it is a document on thoughts and reflections prompted by the openning chapter of ‘The Digital Scholar’ by Professor Martin Weller 2011.

A 9 month old , opposite, is being entertained with a mobile phone with an app that makes animal noises when he presses that timage.

Why Am I moocing, how did i get to here in moocland?

I like the sense of community. There are folk here from the previous Mooc. i was impressed upon enrolling to be contacted very early on with advice by one of the moderators to give a direction as to how to lodge my blog on the aggregator. Contact was quickly made with Paige and Alan in the Forum . A course community has grown quickly in this first week. Also  feedback came pretty quickly by mweller. Though it took a while to work out that he was the tutor,

Professor Weller. It  felt good that the lead tutor was giving feedback so soon and made contact with regards to the artefact I had posted. Thank you.

Communications across the h817open group are more inward looking than before, being in the forum within Moodle and Google + in a closed group as opposed to in facebook or across twitter , although I check there occasionally in my gradual orientation of where things are happening within this mooc. I do regret linking my email accounts to the postings as now I have to sift through the inbox to get to the rest ofmylife. ‘reading through the postings is done by rapid scanning on the abridged first lines on the email,time constraints or curiousity determine whether I comment or not or even enter into the posting further.

Iam now travelling on the train back from London.

a fortuitous opportunity to visit theWaterstones in Gower Street aided the link up with Prof Wellers book The Digital Scholar 2011. I have justified buying the book version to myself by the fact that I am off to the West Coast of Ireland tomorrow, want to stay in contact with the H817open course and may not be able to link up on the Internet. i am hoping it goes down well with apint of Guinness on the Burren. i am typing this on the ipad as I cannot connect to te wifi on the train due to my inaptitude towards digital connectivity and I wish I knew how to get riof the click on typing (there prob is a way) Also to explain the bad spelling from the slippery surface of the screen and the font is about 6 on the screen, at least no one can read over m y shoulder.

Ok just to prove I am not so inept after all I have managed to turn the clicks off so now at least less irritating to the chap next to me.

i like the reference to the’ highly connected scholar, creating media outputs and sharing these with a global network of peers’ (p4) btw Im only 5 minutes into this train journey North. i do work in the context of the University, now on the outreach side, widening participation, I have dabbled with technologies but not in a very informed way, more by immersion and doing . i come from an Art and participation background, engaging with all aspetcts and ages ofvthe public in lots of different levels of education in differing settings; coalminng communities, womens refuges, post industrial landscapes, archaeological sites, creatively and using creativity  with all levels from  post grad to primary. tregnd towards collaboration mainly as I am attracted to the spaces in between two disciplines so I have worked alongside civil engineers (linear thinkers apparantly) and art students together, and creative writers and art students with a japan projects officer in anothe project.

And then I tumbled into Moocs in the past few months, this is my second in succession.

I read I am meant to be defined by my network and  online identity that i have established. (still page 4)

o k whats that then. i have a bt yahoo email account that I must have had almost forever and I have my work email identity but I rather walk across the campus to see someone or bump into them in the coffee queue. i twitter, initially just stalked for work purposes occasionally getting brave enough to say something but the moocs changed that rapidly as I was exposed to tweetchats and tutor hangouts; sitting in the dump kitchen with an ipad for tweeting and a laptop for listening as I was makingpizza and quafting a beer. Definitely not a formal learning situation and memorable experience because of that. Since the onset of moocing I have gone into so many more apps, my network I guess is social, work and the Mooc community plus the Cavers forum I am a member of. just to state I am not sure where I am going with all of this.

‘a digital scholar need not be a recognised academic and equally does not include anyone who posts something online,(…) a definition of someone who employs digital, open ,networked approaches to demonstrate specialism in a field.’ As a mooc newbie I feel I do not fit into any of those categories. i am on this course as a non specialist, asa student, maybea wannabe. i am in a process. scholarship is too formal a term for me. as you can tell by the presentation and the grammar and the rambling content here this is not quality or considered. it is a raw reflective and personal presence in the digital environment. The freedom of expression means there are no parameters and no boundaries bar the personally imposed ones of behaviour, language, decency and the possibly of being removed from forums or unfollowed.

having spent many more hours in the past few months in the company of a global community I have not experienced any unpleasantness or unethical behaviour but its out there. Maybe the trolls, abusers, hackers and spammers do not enter the digital school gates? (thats just to say that I am pleasantly surprised, not an invitation to being spammed, hacked or abused.

I ve just got to item 8 on page 5. ‘should bloggers use institutional systems or separate out theit blogging and formal identities’ Having just found the confidence to merge some of the presence that Ip had previously kept very separate I feel my digital presence is in chaos and would take a lot pof unravelling. do I have to keep academically / professionally on guard all of the time? When blogging reflectively naturally leads towards the cathartic and life dump? The mooc blog is my first , beyond a couple ofmore formal e-portfolios I had created for award recognition at work; the SEDA SLT elearning award and for the dialogic route into the FHEA. It feels quite liberating as a form of expression. also this blog os not likely to translate into a book in the future so I am not conciously accummulating my responses here with a purpose. But I am here at this point because I have elected to become astudent of digital culture and e-learning. but yet to understand how this might affect my practice in my work. Although just saying that I was engaging with a stakeholders group on a consultation in another institution recently  and delivered the session via notebook ona smartboarrd that I had not done at all before. i was able to save the slides of the notes and translate them as evidence of a consulative process . i am dabbling in a survey approach, again quite new to me in this blog at a point on time we are planning to engage with young people via their ICT classes to establish their aspirations and motivation towards Higher Education so it is providing me with solutions and experiential skills that will be useful in this.

Page 7 openness as a state of mind and a technical feature; a set of tools so anyone can contribute. this reference to openness as a state of mind;a philosvohical concept ( sorry the train is quite bouncy at this stage, hence the misspelling, my fingertip aim is pretty bad. i had realised in putting together Activity 4 asa mind map that I was approaching the problem quitestructurally, from the view of the institution thatIam part of (i mean HE as we currently know and deliver it

Fast cheap and out of control (p.9) this could also reference the MOOC experience and not just the technologies that have enabled or acte d as acatalyst tow ards the mooc growth.

Page 10/11 ‘…human behaviour is, to a greater or lesser extent, shaped by technology’

Technology Determinism. Pedagogy via technology. Having experienced mature students in tears because they could not handle the technology to produce an assignment I am aware of how the degree of digital confidence, literacy and skills can determine outcomes. Technological pedagogy can be the reading writing literacy that is increased due to the reflection within a e-portfolio, pupils blogging and communicating with each other. the digital haves and have nots.

Oh Ive just read forward to the end of the chapter which references chapter 14 and that rings a chord; ‘anxiety surroundingdigital scholarship and proposes a perspective based on ‘ digital resilience’ I am tempted to treat the book like the web and jump to that area rather than read from beginning to end. i am drawn to building resilience, not only in myselfbut the students I engage with. i want to be able to enable within themselves the survival and study skills, the confidence and curiousity to have a go for themselves.

At this point I would like to give my profound apologies to Martin Weller for stomping through his openning chapter but it has shaped some of my responses and comments here and has served admirably to pass this journey. i look forward to continuing reading ‘the Digital Scholar’ whilst in Doolin sitting by a peat fire after bracing walks across the Burren and exploring the caves there.




About martell2013

Progression Manager, widening participation. MA , FHEA. SEDA SLT .
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