Late to the #ETMOOC party

I wasn't going to join this MOOC. I didn't know how I could possibly carve any extra time out of my day to participate. This year has been very much about my face to face relationships and putting energy into the people around me. As a result my online efforts have diminished.

But then I started looking at a few Tweets. I recognised quite a few of the names as people I had learned from in the past. Eventually I decided to have a look at the website and got as far as reading the Orientation post. I still wasn't sold, but I was fascinated by the Blog Hub and how it was being used to aggregate posts. I want to know how you do that!

Then I started reading a comment stream (which, of course I can't find again), and I could feel the neurons firing up. I started thinking about learning and my own journey and how learning is not something done to someone, it is something they choose to do to themselves. Which seems to be what MOOCs are all about.

Then I made the mistake of adding the #ETMOOC hashtag to my Hootesuite dashboard and immediately saved three blog posts to read later. The one that caught my eye was on Connectivism and Knowledge Construction. I like the term connectivism. It's the reason I am going to try and participate in this course. I'm here for the conversations (which I know are going to be great) and the connections (to passionate educators who will support me and challenge me).

I did try a MOOC of sorts this summer. I signed up for the Google Power Searching MOOC. I didn't finish it. The funny thing is that I should have finished it, but I was too busy being a passive learner. The Google course was VERY different from #ETMOOC. Very content and assessment based. Every unit involved watching a video and then answering quiz questions. So I watched videos, and answered questions … and ran out of time. In hindsight I was not taking control of the learning. Every video had a written transcript that I could read much quicker than watching the video took, and if I had just opened up each transcript in one window and done the quiz in a different window I would have been done.

That said, as a result of the power searching course I came across Google's excellent lesson plans for teaching search and have used them in my classes this term, and am even presenting a search skills for teachers workshop at an upcoming conference. So really, despite officially NOT being a course graduate, I gained a lot by participating and it really doesn't matter whether I got the piece of paper or not.

Which brings me back to #ETMOOC. I am fascinated by the way this course is structured. Many platforms connected via RSS and Hashtags. It is all about the learning and the connections. There are no grades, it is not pass fail, it is what I make of it.



  1. Alec Couros

    Welcome! Thanks for sharing your experience with the past MOOC. I’m actually hoping you never finish this MOOC either – in fact I hope that no one does. In fact, I hope the MOOC just becomes one long, lingering community so there is no way that we’d ever have it another way

    I look forward to connecting with you – thanks again for stepping in.

  2. pmacoun

    Thanks for the prompt reply Alec. I was excited to see that I had recieved a comment already. You have inspired me to start commenting on other people’s blogs more often.

  3. Judy

    I saw you were from Nanaimo, BC. I rarely come across people from there, so thought I would leave a reply. Many years ago I backpacked around Greece with someone from Nanaimo. I live on the East coast of US, and thought the two of us would never connect. Well, one day, I was touring around BC, and called my friend on the phone. I thought he would never remember me after all of these years, but he recognized my voice immediately. I had a great summer touring around BC. Made it out to Long Beach Island, where I camped. Felt as though I was going as far West as I could on the contient, but don’t think that is a fact in retrospect. Enjoyed your post about connecting and constructivism. I am on Twitter more than I should be, so caught your post in the #etmooc stream. I am @judyarzt on Twitter.

  4. David Wees

    Hey Phil,

    Glad to reconnect with you in #etmooc. I always like our conversations together, so I’m glad we have another space to do it in. I’m also late to the #etmooc party, but I’m planning on inviting a couple of my colleagues today, and we’ll see if any jump on board.


  5. pmacoun

    @Judy Turns out I am already following you on Twitter 🙂 Guess I probably spend too much time there as well. In my experience the sorts of intense relationships that develop while travelling can often stand the test of time. I look forward to connecting with you more during this MOOC.

    @David I too enjoy our conversations. I have mentioned #ETMOOC to a few colleagues but no takers yet.

  6. Vanessa Vaile

    There is a distinct Hotel California quality to the best moocs…first whiff of overstructured prescriptiveness I hit the road (or just find a few conversations to follow)

  7. Jodie Reeder


    Your post was brought to my attention via Claire Thompson as I too just wrote a post on my experience in that same course. ( I am currently in another! online course on quality online DL courses and so I am focused on that at the moment. Your post and comments by others have me thinking about the expectations one brings to an online course experience. When I participated in Google Powersearching I was more content-orientated and actually didn’t watch any of the videos. Like you said I could go in get info quickly and then participate in activities if I wished. There were opportunities for engaging with others but (this sounds rather snobby) I wasn’t really interested in creating any connections as it wouldn’t have been with my professional peers. In this course on the other hand I am happy to explore and I’m not really concerned about a final target. Thinking of my high-school DL students, most of them of course want to take the straightest route to completing a course. I think we as teachers and learning institutions do have to maintain some balance in designing a course based on what students want and feel comfortable with and what will push their comfort level and leaning experience. However, while I see value in a course like ETMOOC for myself, I can’t see anything similar being successful with my high-school students, due to their expectations, skill level and the asynchronous nature of the courses I teach.

  8. pmacoun

    Thanks for your comment Jodie. I agree that high school students want to take the straightest route to completing a course, but I can’t help but think that the reason this is so is because that the structure of school encourages this approach to learning. Courses have distinct start and end dates and at the end of the day the only thing that matters to the institution is the grade they get. You can’t really blame students for their reluctance to explore learning in this kind of environment. At my school we are slowly starting to try and move away from some of this structure, starting with our report cards It is too early to tell what sort of impact this will have on our student’s attitude towards learning but I am excited by the possibilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.