Really busy. Too busy. Heartbreakingly, eyewateringly, soul suckingly busy for the last….month it seems, so #etmooc has been on the backburner with me.
Connections ossify, rhizomes curl up and die, and my own work throws curveballs like a tobacco chewer spits blood.
I’ve got some takeaway lessons from #etmooc, that I’d like feedback on, if anyone still listens to the adrift ramblings of my somewhat marooned mind.
I’d like to run one of these things next year, seriously, for educators.
So, with that in moind, here’s a short, tired, raddled look at what the experience has taught me. If you feel anything should be added to the list, please feel free to do so. I’m far from the kind of copmpetence I;d like to list make on this at the moment, and I can;t see myself being that sane this side of summer. Still, here goes…
- Treat your users kindly. Make it clear where things are, do a good job of getting them up to speed with what they will need to know.
- Make sure people know it’s a guilt free endeavour. You don;t have to so everything, and even if you think you do, you don;t have to do it all now. Things will be archived, recorded, made available and visible.
- Plan a good structure, a central column around which everything can revolve. So, a series of tasks, activities, events and seminars around which people can weave their connections, and scaffold themselves, their learning, and their comments. Make sure it’s something that’s flexible, ignorable, and useful.
- Structure your activities so they can be accessed by as wide a variety as possible, and appeal to a variety of expertise types.
- Make available resources so tech unsavvy participants have the tools they need to engage. Make these available, transparent, and clearly labelled well in advance – ideally your users will have time in advance to familiarise.
- Give good advice in your welcome message, and make sure your welcome message gets sent (this seems a common MOOC bug)/
- Be awqare of the likely tech issues in advance, and plan for them (eg Java problems/ platform issues with collaborate, problems within collaborate with web tours and app sharing, collaborate lag and how that effects sessions, q+a and interactivity, users being deluged with messages in Google +, not being aware of Tweetdeck and Hootsuite for tweetchats – that last one is minor)
- Publicise, advertise, connect and recruit, well in advance. You may get 1500 signups, but a small percentage of those will be active, and a potentially tiny amount will be core.
- Support your speakers. The mods in collaborate often made the difference in sessions.
- Engage meaningfully with your users, and with their positive and critical commentary.
- Be enthusiastic, competent, passionate and encouraging. Engage with your community in the manner you want them to engage with each other. Model that behaviour, ala Bandura. Cheerlead often.
- Value and utilise your co-collaborators. Good ones add immeasurably to everyone’s experience. Immeasurably.
- Ruthlessly mine the community you make for resources, engagement, encouragement, artefacts, additional seminars.
- Use the tools you are suggesting people use to connect to reward, highlight and spotlight. The sun that is your attention can cause things to grow.
- et comfortable with the idea that you might be wrong. Minimise the possibility that you are as much as possible. Alter behaviour, ideas, and structures, and listen to your users. Acknowledge conversations that are critical with both attention and action.
- Get good speakers. Ones who are actually involved with the community are a huge plus. Sue Waters I’m thinking. Herculean work in finding, commenting, posting, helping, giving seminars, and popping up all over the place.