Jenni Hayman (a friend and grad student here at Athabasca University) called a few months ago to talk about setting up a Canadian MOOC provider/supplier Wide World Ed. She is very enthusiastic, well meaning and anxious to test and develop a sustaining MOOC model (no easy task). She choose for her first MOOC the theme online education and Online Instruction For Open Educators has attracted a global audience of around 500 registrants. From the introductions, I see that these are mostly learning designers and teachers with wide levels of experience in online learning.
I wasn’t too surprised to get an email from Jenni, requesting that I join her in teaching this first MOOC along with Bonnie Stewart and Dave Cormier. We would each be responsible for one week of activities during the 6 week MOOC. I decided to focus this week 2 discussion on online learning theory, and just a bit self consciously, assigned 3 of my own papers for content. We decided to “book end” the week with an opening and closing web conference, as a way to pace the MOOC. One of the benefits of this MOOC for myself (and maybe the other participants) was to get a chance to see Desire2Learn’s (D2L) new MOOC development and delivery tool. D2L offers a cut down version of their popular commercial LMS and it seemed to work quite well. The system does write and read twitter theme with the #WWEOpen13 tag, but it many ways the tool set and the way that I used during my week, was more site based, with usual asynch threaded discussions, real time web conferences, that were recorded and made available in the MOOC platform and a place for sharing links and resources. Thus I think one could classify the MOOC as an xMOOC, but the smaller size, meant that I could keep on top of the discussions. At least in my week, there was no assigned activities, beyond the readings and discussions.
So Jenni suggested the final web conference should be at 2:00 PM MDT on Saturday. Saturday dawned, I prepared a few powerpoint slides to use as prompts and I was ready to go. And then….. My good wife decided the 1995 Volvo we are selling really needed to be cleaned and while I was at it why didn’t I clean up my messy garage. Well, the next thing I new it was 3:15 – completely missed my own session!
I’ve been reflecting on this failure to attend for the last 24 hours. This is my first missed session in 30 years of teaching in classrooms and online. It isn’t just the synchronous, as I’ve used web conferences in my classes for a number of years. It might be related to it being scheduled for on a Saturday afternoon, as it has been years since I have scheduled Saturday classes. And yes, my garage was a long time unswept and I did have to show off the Volvo to a prospective purchaser (he didn’t buy it :-(. But, I also wonder if it doesn’t reflect that I was doing this task as a volunteer. I don’t like to think that I’m driven only or even mostly by money, but….
In any case my apologies to Jenni and the class. I will be participating in the final week of the MOOC and of course new registrants are still welcomed to enrol