Part 2: Taking a MOOC Course
My name is Bryan, and I’ve been documenting my experience in a MOOC Course. If you haven’t checked out my first entry, definitely take a look here! I wanted to give you an inside look at my experience taking a MOOC Course….definitely a good story! Here’s Part II of my experience–
Day 4: Inbox & Forum Overload
This morning, I checked my email and there are more than 20 emails all about people signing up for forums and posting introductions. Man, that’s way too much! I changed my settings immediately.
Recommendation: Check your email preferences/settings for the course
What’s going on in the forums?
Okay so there are a total of 11 forums…about 5 too many for me. I didn’t know where to post what! Wait, it gets even more crazy. When I go to one forum, there are about 2-4 “Sub-forums” under that one, totaling 40+ forums. So, where do I post again??
Of all the forums, I have to admit there’s one I like, it’s the Professor Q&A forum. In this forum, the professor answers 10 questions a week based on votes from us-the students. Rather than hanging out in that forum, I figured I better start looking at the class discussion forum. I got a little nervous when I noticed other students were already posting to the assignment 3 forum and I haven’t even started assignment 1! Oh *#$@!!!
Recommendation: Don’t get discouraged. Don’t compare yourself to others in regards to doing homework. As long as you are on time, you’re okay! The great thing about online learning is you can learn at your own pace. Sometimes, we just don’t have enough time to move through all assignments at once!
Day 5: Assignment Time!
Assignment 1: Post your Bio
A required assignment is to post your “bio” in the forum…this isn’t for me. With thousands of people in the course, I just shared my name and interest in the course. A nice feature was that I could post it anonymously but still get credit for the assignment. Sweet!
Here’s an example of someone’s bio post (some of the details have been changed to protect this person’s privacy)–
Hi- my name is Sandra. I’m from New York, NY. I have lived in NY all of my life, growing up on a farm in upstate NY. I have taught math and english and am now am the Director of Online Curriculum at Harvard University. I look forward to all I can learn from this class.
For this assignment, someone posted:
“Also, concerned about sharing private info on a MOOC that is only regulated by a sign up? So many of you put exactly where you live, and other very personal info”
This post resulted in thousands of new ones just about privacy. People were freaking out! I wasn’t worried because I didn’t share much detail about me. A ton of other people did.
Positive – a PowerPoint comes with each MOOC Assignment video module.
Downfall – takes super long to download and open documents/videos. It could be my computer but it’s annoying.
I figured I better start the homework. So I found what I think was all the videos for assignments 1 & 2 and started watching them and downloading the articles and chapters we had to read for the first few assignments.
Day 6: MOOC Course Cancelled
Wait, what?! I was just getting started! The professor sent us an email telling us she wasn’t happy with the inital design of the class and wanted to address these issues before facilitating the course. She opened the forums up for feedback from students and promised to relaunch the course.
My Final Thoughts
MOOCs, like any new initiative, have some nuts and bolts issues to address. I thought it was interesting that the course I chose to review had so many issues and was cancelled. I hope other MOOC Courses run smoother than this one. If you are interested in taking a MOOC course, here are my suggestions:
- Don’t pay for a MOOC course
- Take 1 course at a time
- Make sure you have the patience & time to navigate the course site
- Be prepared to participate in forum discussions
- Be prepared for technical difficulties
Would I exchange my degree-earning, online education for free MOOC courses? After this experience, not a chance!