My experiences so far on learning via Stanford MOOC

2 December 2012 2 By Viv McWaters

I’ve enrolled in a MOOC (massive open on-line course)¬†at Stanford University. The course, on Designing New Learning Environments is curated by Prof Paul Kim, and is done entirely on-line. I was surprised, when watching the first couple of lectures how relevant this is to my current work. Prof Kim has an interest in making education accessible around the globe, even in the most disadvantaged communities.

By the way, the lectures are also good – short, up to about 10 minutes with whoever is speaking in the bottom right of the screen and images filling the rest of the screen, not more words or graphs or tables, but images that illustrate the points made in the lecture.

It’s way more interesting than I thought it would be.

There’s weekly lectures or reading, and assignments – nothing too daunting, but challenging enough to keep me interested and engaged. What I miss is interaction with others. My own fault, probably, though I’m not prepared to take all the blame. This course lasts for 10 weeks and I’ve been travelling, and with intermittent, often dodgy internet, through weeks 2 – 7. It was during those early weeks that teams were formed, to later collaborate on a project. I didn’t form a team, not knowing how I’d be able to stay connected, and didn’t join a team for much of the same reason, as well as being unable to trawl through all the hundreds of teams and find one that interested me.

The search function on the course web site is disappointing – it doesn’t allow me to easily find people with similar interests, though I know you’re out there.

I’m now devouring much of the additional information that I was unable, or unwilling, to access while travelling. I’m reminded how much a little bit of discipline – as is provided in this MOOC with assignments and deadlines – while leaving me to do my own self-directed inquiry encourages (in me anyway) a deeper and more satisfying connection with the content, if not yet, with my fellow MOOCers.