During the first week of #oclmooc (September 24 – 30, 2014) , we’ll do our best to help participants prepare for the distributed nature of this experience. A learning management system (LMS) will not be used. Rather, an array of ‘small tools, loosely joined’ will be adopted to provide participants with an authentic, networked-learning experience.
Here are the key tools we’ll be using:
- This blog – The oclmooc.wordpress.com site will act as the central news source. Check the main page frequently for news & announcements.
- Your Blog – We’re hoping that every participant in #oclmooc will blog about their learning on their own blog. You can create a new blog space just for the course or use a blog that you have already set up. There are many options available. We recommend WordPress.com, Edublogs.org, or Google’s Blogger, because they are easy to use for beginners. Please note there are also blogs that you can host yourself and some of the participants in this MOOC may be self- hosting and could possibly offer some assistance. Or, you could use a service like Tumblr. Just make sure your blog has an RSS feed (these listed services all do – ask us if you’re not sure about your choice).
- The Blog Hub – Tracking down the blogs of other participants can be tricky, so we plan to make this easier for you. We’re listing recent blog posts by all oclmooc participants in the blog hub so you’ll be able to view posts by all participants in one place. This is a great place for you to view examples of blog posts and read other participants’ reflections about what they are learning. You can share your blog address via the sign up sheet or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you decide to use your blog post for reflecting on oclmooc, please use the hashtag #oclmooc in the title of your posts.
- BlackBoard Collaborate – We will be offering synchronous sessions at least once a week through the web conferencing tool, BlackBoard Collaborate (formerly known as Elluminate). BlackBoard requires a Java install the very first time you use it, so try it well before the session and/or follow this guide for first time users. We suggest logging in at least 15 minutes before your session starts so that you can deal with any technical issues that might arise.
- Twitter – Twitter has become an essential tool for networking opportunities and just-in-time learning. As you tweet about the course or share relevant resources, please add the #oclmooc hashtag to your post. All tweets with the #oclmooc hashtag will be included on the sidebar of the #oclmooc blog and can found via this Twitter Search.
- A Mailing List – When you registered for this course, you provided an email address. We will create a mailing list and email you weekly with news & events. If you don’t want to receive emails from us, we’ll be sure to offer you a way to unsubscribe. You can reach us at email@example.com.
- #oclmooc Google+ Community – Conversations are often difficult to manage and follow on Twitter. The Google+ Community will allow for deeper conversation, resource sharing, and support. Be sure to join the Community and participate!
- #oclmooc Google Calendar – We plan to provide many different events for participants. With your Google account, you’ll be able to subscribe to our (with this link) and it will then be dynamically updated and accessible in your own time zone.
If you are not familiar with some of these tools, or feel that there is too much to keep track of, try to remain calm and we will help you. The use of these tools (i.e., the what, how & why) will be covered during the first few weeks (with just-in-time support thereafter), and one of the key goals for #oclmooc is to help you manage complexity within networked learning environments.
So to get started with #oclmooc here’s what you’ll need:
- A Twitter account.
- A Google account.
- A blog (we will help you set one up in Week 1 if you have trouble with this). Here’s a good WordPress tutorial if you want to take a leap.
- A membership in our Google Plus community.
- A subscription to the #oclmooc Calendar.