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:
- to stress the connections that we hope participants will make (with other participants as well as with the content)
- 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.