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.