The weather in Winnipeg matches my navigation of Week 1 of the Open Learning Design MOOC: periods of snow (low -21C/high -10c), windchill warning, blizzard clearing overnight, sunny, sunny. I realize I have just walked into a Canadian cliche of talking about the weather. I am (in part) a product of my environment and with some application I believe this MOOC will also affect my thinking about learning. This blog post is a reflection on Week 1: Initiate.
Since hearing about MOOCs from my colleague (@yvetteinmb) a few years ago, I have looked in from the fringes. I have watched and followed the growth of Coursera and Khan Academy, and downloaded a number of iTunesU lectures. For two years I have started an Electronic Village Online session, but then let work, and other commitments distract from regular participation. At the start of the Open Learning Design Studio’s MOOC my only goals, expressed in the pre-activity survey: to tweet at least once a week, post one blog entry, and apply for a one week badge. Low expectations? Perhaps. However, given my track record, I did not know if I would manage completing one week’s worth of activities and I was unsure if I belonged in this group of learners.
Thursday, January 10, 2013 hit like a storm without warning, huge information blizzard. I got lost in links within links, within passwords, within applications, inside windows, tabs, and arrow buttons. Every once in awhile, I would see a landmark called “Initiate”, “Dreambazaar”, and “Introduce youself”, only to go sailing into Cloudworks, Bibsonomy and Google+. Luckily, blizzard training is ingrained at an early age here in Canada. A compass won’t help because you can’t take a bearing. Don’t panic. You need to stay warm, so move around and leave indications to make it easy for someone to find you. It will end. And it did. I left a few comments as markers, kind participants reached out in Google+ and Twitter and Yishay Mor’s summary emails of activities would come just in time!
Week 1: Initiate asked participants to: Introduce themselves (mine is in Google Groups Open discussions), set up personal workspace, share your dream, join a team, form a study circle, brainstorm and reflect (this is my quick reflection on Week 1. This first #oldsmooc blog post is more ‘surface’ than I would have liked it to be, but I will reframe this week as Pre-Wk 1: Orient. I have my metaphorical ‘compass’: I know where the facilities are, there are a few friendly names and I there is more to keep me coming back!
Note: I have already exceeded my own expectations: 15 Tweets, 1 blog entry, and I am about to apply for a one week badge!