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Posts tagged ‘MOOC’

assignment 2 begins…

February 16, 2015

lisa hammershaimb

This long weekend I am deep in my 804 Assignment 2 which is a 45 minute (yeah, that’s right….45 minute) presentation grappling with a social/economic issue and showing how education in general and educational leadership in particular could bring positive change. It’s all speculative (meaning we don’t have to actually do what we’re investigating) and the overall thrust of the assignment is for us to test drive leadership ideas.

The good news is that it’s meant to be a partner assignment and I’ve got an amazingly capable partner. We’ve chosen to grapple with persistence in distance education and look particularly at how The Landing, Athabsca’s social site, could play a more proactive role in building community thus increasing persistence.

The even better news is that The Landing also happens to be the focus of my partner’s thesis project. But, lest it sound like I’ve been savvy in partner choice and topic (which admittedly I have) and am now coasting for the next month, I have been pulling my weight as much as possible and though I’m not the main force finding articles (since he’s basically got the library already) I’m enough of a control freak that I can confidently say my fingerprints will be on the final product to present a convincing argument that we are a team. In addition because he’s been living in these ideas for awhile, I think my fresh outlook is a good reality check. I know for me the longer I live in ideas the more I’m unable to see how things could be any other way…then someone peers in and it’s the emperors new clothes all over again as I realize what I thought was set in stone was really only written in sidewalk chalk.

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Literature Review = Dinner Party with “Experts”

June 15, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

So Week 2 of MOOC-land is almost over. I’ll admit this week I’ve become dangerously close to being a drop-out statistic. Don’t get me wrong…I didn’t mean to not log in, not read, not post, and generally disappear but things got busy and World Cup started and I had a dinner party, changed my hairstyle, and did summer-life-stuff. And…to be completely honest I was a little turned off by this week’s topic, namely “Literature Review.”

I’ve never done a literature review but in my mind it seems like in order to do one you just have to sit and read and read and read some more and everything has to be dry and boring and “academic” and it will mostly turn into one giant slog-fest of boredom. “Experts” feel old, stuffy, and dated to me and while I know that’s both unfair and untrue to them…I still can’t quite erase the idea from my head.

And then everything changed…..

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day 1: on being a positive MOOC statistic

June 9, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

So, last week I began a MOOC (I’m going to tentatively call it my first MOOC ever…I tried to start one back in January but didn’t really do it because everything started in January…good news is I was in it just long enough to meet a new member of Cohort 7 and establish a great Twitter friendship but that’s another story…blog post.)

So, last week I began Understanding Research Methods from Coursera. I thought that the whole research methods thing would be a great way for me not to lose all I’d recently learned in 802 and the somewhat structured environment of a class (even a class as free wielding as a MOOC) would keep me more accountable…more likely to actually live as a doctoral student in the day to day part of my identity and not just as an impressive bit of party trivia at summer soirees.

Turns out…it’s pretty awesome. Though I’m only a week into things there are a couple standout moments which I’ll just list because it’s late and I’m tired (but also a bit guilty feeling because I’ve not written for a few days. Actually no…I’ve been MOOC-writing so maybe I should just stop all this rambling and go to sleep. But I’ve made it this far so an orderly list with clever and pithy numbered points won’t kill me.)

MOOC Epiphanies From Week 1
(from a girl who admittedly was a little skeptical because even though she’s being supervised by the original MOOC-creator…she’s kind of read enough articles and sipped enough anit-MOOC kool-aid to kind of think that maybe all the cool kids are more in the ironic + skeptical camp than the believer tribe therefor she should be too…)

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Olympics…the every 4 year MOOC

February 9, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

Winter Olympic season is officially in full swing. My Twitter feed is abuzz with everyone’s reactions to wins and jumps and falls, I’m suddenly the biggest fan of people who I never even knew existed last week, and I’m not positive but I think I can almost tell the difference between a spin and a swizzle in figure skating. I love Olympics for the narrative and for the drama and most definitely for the fashion and pageantry. For two weeks it seems the world shrinks not because there’s massive genocide or natural disaster but because people are competing and you see how hard they try and you see their families and in some crazy way you connect across the distance.

Before these Olympics started I heard on NPR that they were going to be the most covered games ever. Literally, if it was happening at an Olympic venue and you have access to the internet, there was a way you could see it regardless of time zone or geography. (Granted, here in the States there are some huge paywalls set up so it’s not as idealistic as it might seem but still…in theory if it’s happening in Sochi, it can also be happening on say your iPad mini.) Good news is I am one of the chosen who has both subscription cable and high speed internet, so when I heard the news that every last event was going to be broadcast, I made a mental pledge to slack off in the all other areas of my life and consume Olympics like it was my job. Forget mindlessly viewing whatever the networks deemed, and edited, as Primetime content…this year I was going to hold my own Olympic fate, make my own choices, and it was going to be amazing.

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back to school…the MOOC way

October 20, 2013

lisa hammershaimb

Today I attended my first official MOOC, World Wide Ed. (Let me clarify…I’ve been registered for the past three days and did pop into the actual classroom space to put my virtual pin on the virtual map, but otherwise I’ve been one of those students who just silently lurks and doesn’t really do any real work.) But, today was the official first synchronous video session and the instructor in me said if I did nothing else in this experience, I needed to “support” in the live session even if it just meant my name being a traceable line on the “attendees” column.

So, what is a MOOC? Standing for Massive Open Online Course, MOOCs are a somewhat recent phenomena in the DE world and basically are, depending on who you ask, the savior or villain of education. Coincidentally one of the main people cited as being part of the early birth of MOOCs are none other than Stephen Downes and George Siemens, Athabasca University professor extraodinaire (who you may remember from such places as my Connectivism post of about a month or so ago and who has been tasked with the enviable role of being my dissertation adviser.) Way back when Siemens and Downes first created the prototype of a MOOC, it was a bit different than the corporate 10,000+ student enrollment monster that it’s become today. D+S’s MOOC was based on the idea that with a good digital framework, it would be possible for a community to teach itself and, like the theory of connectivism, for connections between people in diverse settings to become the catalyst for new knowledge exploration…more than any one sage-on-stage could possibly hope to teach their own class. MOOCs are free, open to anyone who’d like to join and learn, and often more about continuing education than earning a degree. That said, there are often provisions made for badges or even credit to be earned if a participant pays a nominal feel or works with a traditional bricks and mortar school. Since their somewhat benign start, a Pandora’s box of who has and should define learning and what arena it can occur has been opened and MOOCs are to education like the proposals to legalize marijuana are to elections in the States…endlessly controversial and filled with very very passionate people both pro and con.

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