End of week 1

Wow, it’s been a great week of learning and connecting at #oclmooc! 91 participants have signed up from around the world, a number which I am sure will increase over the next few weeks.

This week participants have been introducing themselves in our Google+ community, and in their blogs, connecting and sharing learning resources on Twitter, and reflecting on their experiences in #oclmooc on their blogs. There are 38 blogs on our Blog Hub. If you haven’t added yours yet, it’s not too late. You can find out more about how to start a blog on this page, and add your blog to the Blog Hub by filling out this form.

We have also been finding out about cMoocs and connected learning. If you missed either of our synchronous events – cMooc Stories, or the webinar with Dave Cormier you can view the archives on the Archive page.

Tonight at 7pm mountain time Verena Roberts will be hosting a Twitter chat about connected learning, please join us in the #oclmooc Twitter feed. If you’ve never participated in a Twitter feed before, you can find out more here.

Tomorrow we move on to week 2 and our topic will be Digital Identity and Digital Citizenship. There is information, suggested activities and resources on the page for Week 2, and we’ll be sending an email to all registered participants with information about week 2 later today.

I look forward to more learning next week.




#oclmooc optional hangout scheduled this afternoon

This afternoon (September 28th) we have scheduled a hangout from 2-3pm mountain time. It is totally optional and we haven’t prepared an agenda. We’ve planned it as a place you could pop into to ask any questions you have, just to say hello, or as an opportunity to use Google Hangouts if you don’t have much experience with them. It will not be broadcast on air and it will not be archived.

You can pop in at any time between 2-3pm mountain time, there will be at least one person in the hangout the whole time, but you don’t have to stay for the whole hour. Click here to join the hangout. If you’ve never participated in a Google Hangout before you’ll probably find this tip sheet useful.

Archive from Dave Cormier’s webinar September 25th

Last night Dave Cormier was our special guest in the first webinar of #oclmooc. It was a great session!

He took us on a historical journey though the history education from the tradition of oral learning, through the catechetical era through to the current textbook model. We all agreed that cMoocs are most like the tradition of oral learning but participants are no longer limited by the need to be in the same place at the same time.

Screen Capture from Dave Cormier's Webinar

Screen Capture from Dave Cormier’s Webinar

Dave talked about rhizomatic learning and encouraged us to think of the Community as the Curriculum – because the content that the community provides ends up being what you learn, but more importantly because being able to participate in a community is what it means to know. You aren’t an expert because you remember information about a topic but because you can make decisions about it and you can engage in a community of knowers about that topic. This is why we need to learn as social people.

Dave shared his advice and experience about how to succeed in a Mooc, expanding on his 5 Steps to Succeed in a Mooc:

  • Orient
    • This is the step that many learners miss and it is crucial for success in a Mooc
  • Declare
    • It’s your job to give others a chance to know who you are – you need to share.
    • We recommend blogging, participating in the Google+ Community and sharing and connecting via the #oclmooc Twitter hashtag.
  • Network
    • Then it is time to connect with others – responding and commenting on what others say. Networking is never coherent it’s always messy and real – like our lives
  • Cluster
    • You can’t follow everything and everyone. At some point you start to cluster around people who are doing work that is important to you, who make sense to you, who challenge your work.
  • Focus
    • There is a cycle that happens at the start of Moocs where people are really enthusiastic but that isn’t usually sustainable. You need to decide what you are going to focus on, how you are going to leverage the network and cluster to get the work that you need to do done.

If you weren’t able to join us last night, or if you would like to view the webinar again, you can listen to the archive. Here is the link to the archive of Dave’s session. It is a Blackboard Collaborate archive so you will need to install Blackboard (or perhaps update Java) if you haven’t done so. You can find instructions for installing Blackboard here.

Webinar with Dave Cormier scheduled tonight, September 25th

Tonight at 7pm mountain time we’ll be hosting our first webinar on the topic of getting started in a course like #oclmooc with special guest Dave Cormier. You can find out more about the session in the week 1 post, or in the calendar. We’ll be using Blackboard Collaborate for the session. If you haven’t used Blackboard before, we suggest logging in at least 20 minutes early because there is software you will need to install. Even if you have used Blackboard before but haven’t done so in a while we suggest logging in early as you will probably need to update your version of Java.

There are instructions for using Blackboard in this post. Here is the link to connect tonight, September 25th at 7pm Mountain time.

This session will be archived so you will be able to watch it later if you can’t watch it tonight.

Welcome to #oclmooc

Welcome everyone to the first day of #oclmooc. This week we are focused on getting connected and how to learn in a cMooc environment.

All of the details for week 1 are posted on the week 1 page, these include information, events, suggested activities and resources. We’ve also sent these details by email to those who had signed up as of last night. If you haven’t signed up yet you can do so by clicking on this link.

This week we are hoping that you will join our Google+ Community and share an introductory post, as well as sending a Tweet using the #oclmooc hashtag. We also encourage you to start a blog if you don’t have one, and write an intro post to share with the #oclmooc community. If you don’t know how to do any of these things there are instructions on this page, and more details and resources in the week 1 post.

Tonight we hosted a Hangout On Air called cMooc stories where members of the PostEtmooc community shared their experiences and advice for participating in a cMooc. If you weren’t able to watch it live, you can watch the archive below.

Tomorrow at 7 pm mountain time we’ll be hosting our first webinar on the topic of getting started in a course like #oclmooc with special guest Dave Cormier. You can find out more about the session in the week 1 post, or in the calendar which you’ll find near the middle of the right hand side of the website. This session will be using Blackboard Collaborate, if you haven’t used Blackboard before, we suggest logging in at least 15 minutes early because there is software you will need to install. There are instructions for using Blackboard in this post. Here is the link to connect tomorrow night (Thursday September 25th at 7pm Mountain time).

We’ve also posted all of the events we’ll be hosting for #oclmooc as events in the Google+ Community (sorry for all of the emails you got from me today, I won’t send this many again.)

We are looking forward to learning with all of you, no matter what that learning looks like for you.

Rhonda, and the rest of the #oclmooc co-conspirators.

Get Ready to Connect

The Open and Connected Learning Mooc (#oclmooc) starts next week. The page for week 1, with resources and suggested activities will be posted soon. Some participants might be wondering if there is anything they can do now to get ready. Many courses have pre-reading material and other things that you can do to get ready and #oclmooc is no different, although in our case, these are recommended but still optional.

Get ready to connect

You can get ready for #oclmooc by getting ready to connect. There will be a lot of conversations taking place in Twitter, the #oclmooc Google+ Community, and on participant blogs. If you don’t have a Twitter account and a blog, or you haven’t joined the Google+ Community, you can do so now so that you’ll be ready to go once #oclmooc starts. You can find instructions here. You can read more about the tools we’ll be using to connect on the Getting Started Page.

Spread the word

You can also spread the word about #oclmooc by telling others about it. One of the goals of #oclmooc is to connect participants with each other and to start conversations. The more people in the #oclmooc community, the more possibilities for connections and interesting conversations. You can spread the word via Twitter (don’t forget to include the #oclmooc hashtag), in an email, a post in Google+ or your blog, or through face to face conversations (we support those too) with those you think would be interested. You might want to share the link to the About #oclmooc, and Getting Started pages, as well as the registration link.

You could visit the Google+ Community and introduce yourself, or comment on someone else’s introduction. You could write a blog post about the start of #oclmooc, or check out some of the blogs in the Blog Hub and leave a comment.

If you are keen to get started these are some of things you can do before the official course start on Wednesday. But you don’t have to do anything at all to get ready, you might prefer to get outside and enjoy the last weekend of summer (it’s the autumn equinox here in Alberta on Monday).

We look forward to learning with you over the next five weeks, and hopefully long after the formal end of #oclmooc on October 30th.

Why your should join #oclmooc

Why your should join #oclmooc

What Do We Mean By cMooc?

We often describe #oclmooc as a cMooc, but what do we mean by cMooc?

What is a Mooc?

First of all, Mooc stands for massive open online course. The term was coined by Dave Cormier who will be the guest speaker at our Welcome Event on September 25th. Dave Cormier, Stephen Downes and George Siemens (all Canadians, although George now works in Texas) are usually considered the inventors of the Mooc. The massive part of the name was initially chosen to describe the massive potential of Moocs, but most people think it has to do with the size of the course because Moocs often have a massive amount of participants.

A cMooc is a connectivist massive open online course. But we promise you will never be tested on that, in fact there aren’t any tests planned for oclmooc at all. We emphasize the fact that oclmooc is a cMooc for two reasons:

  1. to stress the connections that we hope participants will make (with other participants as well as with the content)
  2. to point out that oclmooc is a cMooc and not an xMooc.

xMoocs vs. cMoocs

Moocs have been getting a lot of attention over the past few years. The New York Times even called 2012 The Year of the Mooc. Unfortunately most of what we hear about Moocs focus on xMoocs which follow a different format than cMoocs; one that is much more structured and provides less opportunities for participants to make their own connections with the course content. xMoocs often have thousands of participants, many of whom don’t finish the course. xMoocs can be very impersonal, and are usually run via a course site that participants loose access to once the course has ended.

cMooc are different. They do sometimes have a huge amount of participants, Etmooc, which oclmooc is modelled on, had several thousand participants; but the emphasis is different. cMoocs emphasize connections: connections between participants and connections that participants make with the material that is being covered. Instead of required assignments, there is are suggested activities and participants are encouraged to select the activities that they are interested in completing and to reflect on their experiences. Choice is emphasized. Participants are encouraged to participate in a way that is meaningful to them, which might mean that their participation varies during the course, or even that they jump in after the course has started.This can be disorientating at first, but it allows participants to build their own connections and networks that can last long after the course itself. Etmooc officially ended on March 30, 2013 but the #etmooc hashtag is still active, and the PostEtmooc community continues to meet monthly.

What does this mean for you?

oclmooc is structured to encourage you to make connections. We hope that you will make some new connections – maybe you’ll meet others who are interested in the same subject as you, or who teach the same grade or want to try out a new idea or project. We hope that you will learn some things you didn’t know and that you’ll have time to reflect on how it can be meaningful to you – in your teaching practice if you are a teacher, and in your life. We will encourage you to share your learning, in your blog, in the Google+ Community, and on Twitter. Don’t worry if you haven’t done these things before, you will be given a lot of support. One of the great things about the community that develops in a cMooc is that there are people there to support you as you try new things.

You are encouraged to participate in a way that is meaningful for you. That might include participating in most of the events, and doing most of the suggested activities. But it might not. You might only be able to participate in a few events, or just watch the archive after the events are over – that’s ok too. You might be really active for part of the time and less active for the rest. You might jump in after the course has started, or have your participation drop off as the course progresses. Even though we’ll encourage you to blog and share your learning, you might choose to lurk and keep your learning to yourself. You might even suggest some activities we haven’t thought of. All of that is ok with us.

We hope that you will join us, and that you will ask if you have questions and need support. We’re here to support and encourage you so that you have an experience that you can describe as successful. And if you learn a little about Moocs along the way that would be great too.

Next Steps

You can sign up for oclmooc here. If you have any questions send them to us at oclmooc@gmail.com or ask them in our twitter feed using the #oclmooc hashtag.