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the OLDS MOOC daily: day 5

posted Jan 14, 2013, 6:14 PM by Yishay Mor
This is a slightly longish summary, so we’ll start with a reminder: tomorrow at 12:00 GMT we will have the convergence session, and we’re waiting for your questions (and volunteers for the “fishbowl”):

Also, we are aware that a few of you are experiencing some technical problems with Cloudworks. If this is the case, please see the support page: and join the self-help topic in the open group. 

The last 2 days of week 1 ask you to reflect on learning design and what it means to you.
You can do this by editing the mindmap, posting to the topic on the open group or by sharing a post from your blog. Some interesting views are coming up. Stephen Wheeler says: “I don't really understand what the presentation is saying about learning design. I think any teacher who puts any thought into what they do would consider what they do to be learning design.” Is that true? Or do we have some criteria for what counts as design? Catherine El-Bez says: “for me it seems to me that learning design must start first with a reflection on the learning outcomes, teaching method and assessment. Once you got the relationship between them. then we can begin to design a learning activity.” Personally, I couldn’t agree more. I would add one thing: context. The same outcomes and pedagogical approach would lead to radically different designs for different contexts. Imagine we were having this conversation in a convent...

Ida Brandão has produced an amazing collection of definitions and models of learning design as a wiki:
I don’t know if she intends to open this up for everyone to edit - perhaps an alternative to our mindmap?

Another task that you had been working on is setting up your teams and study circles. Already we see some geographical circles emerging, such as the Auld Reekie (Edinbrugh) circle, the Big smoke (London), and the Wellie (Wellington), as well as some topical circles, such as the Digilit circle and the Design science circle
If you are already working as part of a study circle, you might wish to tweet a brief description of it and invite people to it (including the tag #oldsmooc_w1)
Some of you are using social media to set up your circles, such as @jgh who invites you to a “G+ Community Study Group for the OLDS MOOC with a schools focus.” ( ).

We’re hearing some concerns regarding the teams. Stephen Bright ( asks: “If a project is something that you have proposed but that no-one else 'signs up' for what happens then? For particular work reasons you may be committed to doing this project.” and Apostolos Koutropoulos wrote: “I feel that we could run into a "stutter" moment when working on project groups. For instance, I posted a project on dreambazaar, but since I am not on a specific time table to get it done, I can easily "drop it" and work in another group, but how does one indicate this?” and proposes a big board of projects. Interesting idea, but how do we implement it? Anyone wants to have a go?

Again, we do believe you will benefit the most from this MOOC if you work on a project with a team. But the activities are designed to afford other modes of engagement. If you end up without a team, or even without a project - you can still participate in most of the activities in the following weeks.

If you are finding the going hard, take heart from Jonathan Vernon’s helpful feedback  comment
I know from experience of learning entirely online with the Open University for the last three years (the MA in Open and Distance Education) that the best approach is to make an intelligent go of it even if you know at first that you feel you have gone to the wrong cocktail party, in fancy dress, wearing a blindfold. I'm trying to follow the instructions but feel like the kid with an Airfix model wearhing ski gloves. This feeling of hopelessness eventually goes. I learnt to swim, I learnt to ski. I can edit video. I can keep a blog in Wordpress. If I can't function in a MOOC then I may give up.

Jenny Mackness, in a very thoughtful post, gives us a broader MOOC perspective:
My understanding of MOOCs (cMOOCs) is still that they are intended to exemplify the principles of autonomy, diversity, openness and connectedness/interaction. Diversity means amongst other things, a mix of novices and experts (professionals and students) who learn from each other.

And Claire Donlan expresses what I think many of us feel:
So I need to filter and also put in place my own filtering system. I went to look for a study circle or group, to Cloudworks, found a digilit study circle - sign in? Log in? - followed and posted to discussion. Found Digital identity and Social Media group - followed and posted to discussion. I then found a study circle for anyone living in Edinburgh 'auld reekie learners' :)

Perhaps Sheila Macneill has the answer:
As with anything "massive" you just can't keep up with everything so, imho the having the confidence to be able to not try and do everything/ read every post is crucial too. Not only in terms of having any chance of completing the course but also for your own sanity.
To try it yourself put into your browser, and if change the "=2417" to whatever the ID of the cloudscape you want to view is e.g. my oldsmooc cloudscape looks like this, the "2417" has just been changed to "2567".

Finally, Diana Laurillard (in a discussion on the open group) recalls her work on Dearing Committee which considered the purpose of universities, and came up with 4 items: developing the individual, developing new knowledge, preparing the workforce and developing the citizen in a diverse culture.
Siglinde Pape reminds us (in a different thread) that “diversity also means paying attention to accessibility.” True. This is something we’re aware of, and hope to improve as we go along.
(Diana also commends Ida on her reference to Dewey “always good to remember that there are few insightful things we can say about education and learning that were not said by Dewey a hundred years ago.” - Dewey study circle anyone?)