How to survive (and thrive?) in a cMOOC

I’m in my first MOOC and I’m learning.  I’m learning how to be a learner in this new-to-me environment.  This is a constructivist MOOC, so while each of us is constructing our own learning path, we are also all shaping the learning experience together.

What I’m learning about how to be a learner in this space is this:

  • We need a strategy for managing our time.  This is exactly what our first-year students need to learn and I find myself struggling all over again to find time for learning.  This morning I replaced my 1/2 hour morning-coffee-social-media time with #OpenLearning17 time (I kept the coffee).   I think that’s going to work.  What little bit of time could you let go for the duration of the MOOC to spend on learning?
  • We need to engage.  Commenting on other people’s blog posts and writing my own is not in my current comfort zone, but here I am doing it and I’ve already been rewarded with some great interactions.  We need to step out of our comfort zones and engage.  And won’t it be fun if we meet in person someday and feel like we are already connected!
  • We need discipline.  Just like a new exercise routine, it takes discipline to create a new habit.  It takes discipline to get results.  If we are going to learn in this space, we need to be disciplined enough to come back to it regularly and actively participate.
  • We need to be discriminating.  Not every post will grab our attention, not every week’s topic will pique our interest.  That’s okay.  We don’t need to follow every hyperlink or comment on every post.  We just need to stay engaged in the overall learning and follow what interests each of us.
  • We need each other.  This form only works if we connect, discuss, and debate.  We need to ask questions.  We need to be provocative.  We need to be caring.

What am I missing?  What are your strategies for thriving in this learning environment? What have you learned so far?

Updated 2/10/17:  I just found Laura Gogia’s great Conversation with Gardner Campbell where she articulates the need to develop a strategy for our connected learning.  Great stuff!

4 Replies to “How to survive (and thrive?) in a cMOOC”

  1. I think you’ve got it! And I really like how you’ve emphasized the need to get and remain connected with each other as well as with the syllabus in general. I was thinking that it might be good to make some time next week to cultivate the #openlearning17 network on Twitter. Have a “meet and greet” there with some prompts for re-connecting with old friends and making new ones? Do you think that would be helpful?

  2. Good thinking! I especially agree with your last two points. Even in this limited environment, the amount of information and commentary can be overwhelming, and yet I think every voice participating is important. I think the idea is to get the flow of the ideas, even if we aren’t looking at every word.

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