Actually I can, but there are a fair few people who are participating in ocTEL who don’t seem to be able to handle the quantity of e-mail flooding into their inboxes having signed up to the MOOC.
I will say I wasn’t expecting to get any e-mail, let alone the volumes that are coming through, as I didn’t (at first) realised I had been added to a JISCMail mailing list.
Of course once it was coming in, for me it was a simple matter of creating a rule in Outlook to move all e-mails sent to OCTEL-PUBLIC@JISCMAIL.AC.UK to a folder. I may even set up a secondary rule that automatically deletes the messages if I haven’t read them within a few days or a week.
Deleting them from my Outlook, doesn’t remove access to them, as there will be an archive on the JISCMail website. There are also various JISCMail commands I could use to receive NOEMAIL, a DIGEST or similar.
Of course there is no need to even subscribe to the mailing list and no need to read or engage or interact with the e-mail. I intend to get an idea of what other people are thinking.
Stephen Downes in an open letter makes some valid points that with a MOOC you should really avoid mailing lists or even discussion forums.
In all the MOOCs I’ve done I’ve never had an open one-to-many channel, precisely because if you have 1000 people using it, it becomes unmanageable.
You’ll find that web forums become unmanageable as well if used by 1000 people.
I have also discouraged the ubiquitous ‘introduction’ posts, for the same reason. A dozen introductions make sense. 1000 do not.
I do think these are really good points and if you are thinking about organising or planning a MOOC to take into consideration.
What didn’t surprise me though was the number of people who are apparently immersed into TEL and learning technologies who appear to not know how to organise their e-mail or mailing lists. You would think I would be, but I too often I have seen people who know a lot about learning technologies, fail to understand and use effectively the very technologies they talk about.
It’s not just simple things like e-mail, blogging, webinars, the Twitter, even Powerpoint!
One lesson that people should take from ocTEL is that never assume that people, even technically literate people, will be able to do stuff that you take for granted. This applies equally to practitioners and importantly learners.