Playing by the rules – ocTEL


One comment I read in the influx of e-mail for this ocTEL course said in terms of organising participants into groups:

I think we need to divide ourselves into subgroups for conversations to keep things manageable.  The question is, how to organise the subgroups? By type of job? By type of interest in this course? By level of experience with TEL? Randomly, by starting a new group when the last one gets to some number?

I think one of the real challenges in organising anything with lots of people is an assumption that people will play by the “rules” and will stick to the groups assigned, or even plan themselves into groups.

I think at this stage, though planning groups would appear to be a good idea, the problem will arise if you are in a group from which then everyone drops out from the MOOC; you will be left on your own.

I would expect after a week or two of frenetic and frantic activity that the dust will settle and groups will form organically and by themselves.

We shall have to wait and see.

2 thoughts on “Playing by the rules – ocTEL”

  1. Hi James. I understand participants concerns about groups. I’ve done a couple of MOOCs before, and neither of them pre-allocated you into groups. As you have commented, it is likely that some groups at least will form organically. I find the biggest challenge of MOOCs, with so many people though, is knowing which group would be of most interest to me etc. Part of me wants to read all the discussions etc which is so not possible with so many people. I think that this more organic, unstructured approach is perhaps what many find so challenging, especially those of us used to more structured training etc.

    As far as an evaluation of the course is concerned, which I expect you will be doing at some stage, I wonder if you will be looking at people who ‘drop out’ – and indeed trying to define a drop out is in itself a little challenging. I think it would be important to ask people quite quickly after either not participating from initial week 0 or if they stop participating (in terms of at least opening and browsing within ten days of the end of a teaching week, what or why that might be. I also wonder if you have thought about then trying to define people into groups such as digital migrants / natives, or generation X and Y etc? I’m sure this has been given much thought but just thought I’d add a few ideas / support.

    The two MOOCs I previously took part – I suppose I would have been classed as a drop out and some observors would then use the high drop out rates seen in MOOCs as been something against them. But whilst I stopped participating in the courses quite quickly, over a two or three week period I learnt far more than I have ever learnt about some important aspects relating to online learning etc and still see some of the postings – one of the MOOCs used Facebook which I found particularly advantageous.



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