Sci-Fi. MOOCs. Visual Artifact. Done with homework.


Mashup by me.

Week 1. Would this representation qualify as utopian or dystopian? Please discuss.


Based on the following images:

Science Wonder stories cover
downloaded from x-ray delta one on Flickr

A Mirror for Observers, (Nov 1958, Edgar Pangborn) Cover art by Richard Powers

CC: Attribution – Noncommercial – Share alike


Carving out a piece of cloud #EDCMOOC

Ever since the course on Coursera officially started, the Google+ and Facebook groups have been hit by a tidal wave of new members. It’s more important now than ever to make decisions about my own focus and filters.

I would really like to find a cluster of like-minded souls in the #EDCMOOC cloud! Do give me a shout in the comments, Google+ or on Twitter.

My learning goals:

  • Use a set of interesting tools and theories surrounding digital culture(s)
  • Be part of a sustainable learning community
  • Learn about learning
  • Figure out the principles at work in MOOC

My interests, as far as MOOCs are concerned:

  • Learning design, instructional design, MOOC design
  • Connectivism, connected learning, learning communities
  • Digital Humanities
  • Higher Education
  • State of affairs in the big European e-learning projects and in particular in Belgium, France and The Netherlands
  • Digital literacy

My contribution:

  • Creating images and mash-ups
  • Layout
  • HTML and CSS
  • Figuring out blogs, feeds and Twitter
  • Languages: Dutch, French, English, in no particular order
  • Historical perspective (check out my “about” page)

Currently, I’m keeping track of #EDCMOOC through:

  • Coursera
  • Google+
  • a blog post here and there (Hoping to narrow it down to a personal selection matching my interests)
    For instance, Chris Swift’s Blog is interesting to keep up with the EDCMOOCcommunity:
  • #edcmooc on Twitter

Placing their xMOOCs in the public domain for a worldwide audience will oblige institutions to do more than pay lip service to importance of teaching and put it at the core their
missions. This is the real revolution of MOOCs.

Making Sense of MOOCs, Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility, by Sir John Daniel, Sept. 2012

Placing their x…

The Connectivist MOOC. The MOOC for MOOC’s sake.

Some MOOCs are wonders of instructional design scaled to a massive audience. They are open as in “free to join”. A good example is Duolingo, originally a Carnegie Mellon University project for language learning.

In this article about Measuring the Success of Online Education, on the NY Times blog “Bits”, Duolingo is cited, and the numbers are indeed impressive. A bookkeepers dream.
And of course, as prof. Cathy Davidson says in this lecture on Youtube, if teachers can be replaced by computers, they should. IF.

Other MOOCs, are open in an “open source” kind of way. The workings of the course are out in the open. Course materials are out on the Internet. Participants are a diverse mix of subject matter experts, intermediates and beginners, and they can participate as much or little as they want, tune in and out at will. People are encouraged to define their own course objectives, and to link up and cluster off with people with the same interests. Feed aggregators serve to mash up an overview. There is a DIY, peer-to-peer, festival kind of vibe to it.

This is a set of guidelines to make a MOOC like that work. Gleaned from the Peeragogy Handbook, Chapter 11. (free PDF )
1. Participants should discuss internal aspects: Discuss goals, self-motivation, intended outcomes.
2. Prepare by acquiring the necessary digital skills.
3. The distributed and varied nature of discussion and course material, is in itself content/a learning adventure.
4. Weekly heads-up through synchronous sessions.
5. Overview of the proceedings, like a daily newsletter. Important: the course-specific hashtag to keep everything findable.

Examples of this kind of MOOC, the connectivist ones, the ones happy to explore what MOOC means, are MOOCMOOC, by Hybrid Pedagogy (see their Canvas site:, and DS106 (Digital Storytelling, University of Mary Washington and throughout the Internet, various times a year).

Much ado about the buzz

The #edcmooc starts in a week, and already it gathers a lot of attention. Some participants have been busy gearing up as early as three months before the kick-off, and words like “keeping up” and “overwhelming” flow by on the Google+ stream. It feels a little like embarking on a journey, only to find out it is actually a race, and people have already started running. (One MOOC survival tip pops into my mind: pace yourself.)
But what else to expect of a massive open online course that aims to reflect on elearning? It is very “meta”, very buzzable, and perfectly able to throw its participants in a recursive loop of massively tweeting about the massive amounts of tweets generated about the buzz around this course that hasn’t started yet. (Except that it has started of course.)

Get ready to MOOC

Let’s get some vocabulary straight first.


MOOC stands for Massive Online Open Course.

Massive” stands for the scale, a MOOC is open to an indefinite amount of students, and that can mean a positively huge amount. At this point the number of students registered for the EDCMOOC has reached the 36 000 mark, and counting. Instructors cannot possibly keep track of the amount of interactions and content produced by tens of thousands of students, so students organize themselves, turning a myriad of social platforms into their learning environment.

Read more on learning in a MOOC:

Online” means that the courseware is online and the learning is meant to be done online. It’s not just open courseware that belongs to a real-life course, the content is structured for online use.

  • There are several big providers of free MOOCs:
  • Coursera (for-profit start-up by professors from Stanford),
  • edX (nonprofit start-up from Harvard and the MIT),
  • Khan Academy,
  • Udacity.

Open” says that there is no pay wall, registration process or other impediment to entering the course. Open also refers to a certain absence of a fixed path or strong guidance from an all-seeing, all-knowing teacher. Descriptions that pop up are “edupunk”, or “DIY learning”. It is “open” as in open door, but also as in open source.

The acronym rings a bell, “MOOC” makes me think of “MUD” (Multi-User Dungeon, multiplayer real-time virtual world) and “MOO” (MUD object-oriented), but it’s a whole other animal. Or not?