Creatively Learning Creative Learning
Yes, seems like a strange title, but once you have the context I know it will make sense to you.
Yesterday I sat in the first of many live sessions of MIT’s Media Lab Learning Creative Learning Open. This course is being offered for the first time online as and OpenCourse. That right there excites me. Over 7000 people have signed up for the course and are part of the Google Community. That’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I believe even Mitchel Resnick (LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research) mentioned that during yesterday’s session. The fact that he is heading the course is exciting.
What’s a bit scary….it’s a MOOC. MOOCs can be good, can be bad, and have had their fair share of discussions regarding their worthiness, relevancy, success, and failures. Even I’ve co-written an article on the pro’s and con’s experienced by learners in a MOOC tapping into my experience in a few MOOCs I’ve joined. Another article was shared with me yesterday, from a member in my “team” for this course, Steve Flowers, on “How to Build MOOCs that Fail” by Edward O’Neill. Edward really hits home on some of the easiest ways that MOOCs fall very short for learners. Steve, is also currently enrolled in another MOOC that has just started up and has some interesting perspectives on it as it begins and other MOOCs in which he has participated. He’s analogy to weather systems is quite spot on as well from my past experiences.
Edward’s piece I found particularly interesting and I think it is truly something that learners can use to gauge if the MOOC they are starting is going to be worth the effort of continuing. For the most part, after two or three weeks in any course a learner can decide if the course structure and material is going to address their learning needs. However, when it comes to participating in MOOCs I believe that the learner’s actual motivation and drive to participate/contribute/collaborate/share/ is a large part to the MOOCs overall success especially from the learner’s perspective.
One failing of many MOOCs is that there is no true level of commitment (paid fee, received certificate, etc.) from the learner. There does not need to be either. However, just like a diet or exercise resolution, unless you stick with it and put some effort in you’ll get nothing out of it.
Another fail mentioned by O’ Neill are those courses that are set up to be heliotropic profession driven. My guess at the moment is that MIT’s Learning Creative Learning is not set up in this model. A panel of a wide range of people have already been introduced as being “present” each week to give their perspectives and expertise in the course topics.
It was also mentioned that there will be a few “sandboxes” for us to experiment in (bring your shovel and pail). As well the course was initially set up so you could enroll as groups of learners. Teams that will be learning and creating together. If you didn’t have a group then slot you into one, but this is a nice feature from the start as well.
The leaner groups and indiviuals have already started to create Google groups, pages, maps of location, spreadsheets of enrollment, so on and so on. The MOOC is already taking a life of it’s own, as they typically do week one, by those invested in getting something out of it. It will be interesting to see the ebbs of “weather systems”, as Steve Flowers calls them, emerge as the weeks continue.
I’m staying optimistic on this one, however Mitch did say that they have an idea of way the content will flow out to the online community compared to the in-class learners and that nothing had been set in stone yet. They’ve stated from the beginning “This is a big experiment. Things will break. We don’t have all the answers. Sometimes we plan to rely on you to make it work. But we’ll try our very darndest to make sure you have a good time, and get something out of it.?” I’m curious to see where this one does go. I’m excited to be in the ground level of a MOOC. I’m intrigued to see how this course will evolve and know I will be surprised as always to see what participants expect from the organizers, technologies, and other learners.
Mostly I’m fascinated by the topics that have been presented as being covered throughout the month.
So my wrap up from day one includes excitement, a little over keen ambition to get my group’s page create and share all the resources presented to us. Also this seems the perfect avenue to practice my sketchnotes which I may now referrer to as scratchnotes after seeing the stuff that Kevin Thorn produced on his first try. 😉