One of the challenges with any MOOC is finding the time to engage with the course, especially if you are doing it in your own time and have no dedicated staff development time slot to fit it in. I am sure that I am not that different to many others undertaking ocTEL in undertaking the course in “spare” time as I like others are generally quite busy.
However what I have found with this MOOC, and I guess is an issue with many different MOOCs is that you need to be online! Well one of the “O”s in MOOC does stand for online.
Well in order to be online you need an internet connection, and I am finding that when I have time to engage with the course I am either offline or have a slow 3G phone connection.
Most of my reading and reflection is being done offline. I am writing this blog post in a word processor and will post it on my blog later when I have some internet.
As I said though, most of the time I am engaging with this course is when I am commuting by train when I have no internet (well not a stable consistent connection).
As a result I was unable to view the Diana Laurillard webinar recording, well that when I had a decent internet connection, I couldn’t as the machine I was on was having a problem with the Java required for Blackboard Collaborate (which I have used before on the same machine).
Of course it is proving a little easier to engage with ocTEL through Social Media, Twitter seems to work just as well on GPRS as it does on 3G and even Google+ isn’t too bandwith hungry.
Now we are in week one, there are a fair few YouTube videos to watch and in order to watch YouTube videos you need a relatively fast and stable internet connection. When travelling by train, this is something I don’t always have. CrossCountry for example block YouTube on their wifi on their trains, so no chance of watching it when connected on one of their rail services. First Great Western don’t even have wifi! It would have also been useful for me, as someone who listens to podcasts in the car to possible have downloadable mp3 audio versions of the “videos” to listen to. The option to download the video to an iPad or media device, or audio versions would have helped me enormously.
It would also appear to be crucial to view these videos first before I can progress on the course. As a result I am going to need to set time aside on a computer with a decent internet connection to view the videos.
What I have learnt from this part of the MOOC is that never assume your learners always have a decent always on internet connection. They may at times, but there may be circumstances which means that they don’t. As a result think about ensuring content is accessible in different media, or provide opportunities to convert formats into accessible formats.
Okay time to find the time to watch those videos.