Summary at end of week 3 of ETMOOC:
I have pondered on the question of what is the point of ETMOOC for me, and I have come to two conclusions. First it is a way for me to get some experience with the so-called social media (web tools for social interaction: LinkedIn, Facebook- strangely not used by ETMOOC, but twitter, google+, wordpress, edublog, YouTube, TED, etmooc.org, diigo, and others are), and secondly to assess what ETMOOC offers in the way of educational approaches. This latter effort has taken some time to work out. Whereas MOOCs in general are 1) mainly ‘illustrated’ lectures, 2) hosted by websites often based at Universities, and 3) may have some type of automated follow-up (online test/quiz), especially if they are for credit. Still they are very different from online courses from places like Phoenix where 1) often there is an expectation that students converse on the website or by monitored email with each other, 2) the student is expected to produce some writing each week, and 3) the instructor is expected to comment on and/or grade that writing and be available to the student for comment, all hosted by the school’s or education provider’s website. ETMOOC is working towards a model that emulates the ‘Phoenix’ model but more as lecture and then precepts or discussion classes, though these are not necessarily led by instructors. It is an echo of the Protestant movement wherein there is the priesthood of all believers. Here there is the ‘teacher-status’ of all learners. This struck me quite strongly as I looked at Sue Waters’ chart of the Blogging Cycle at http://suewaters.com/2013/01/18/learning-through-blogging-as-part-of-a-connectivist-mooc/. One student posts his blog, then the evaluating process begins (in the small class following the large general lecture) in which the student sees different perspectives on the subject of the blog, then another student comments on his blog and operates as a preceptor or teacher. The last stages are the original student’s reflection and possible revision of some or all of the original blog, as the student fits it into the enlarging structure of context that is being built and back-filled. Accordingly, ETMOOC is exploring the possibility of a ‘grass-roots’ educational institution based on 1) the principle of the teacher-status of all learners and 2) the free availability of social media organized in a way to emulate the best pedagogical models, using among others the lecture-and-discussion model. It seems to gravitate towards open-ended areas and subjects. The challenge will be to see how it works in less-opened more content-driven subjects.