Monthly Archives: February 2016

Some basic questions and links

In my first post, I asked a few basic beginner questions. Here are a few links I found that helped:

Is this course from the NRC or edX or Open edX or LPSS? All of the above? And how do they relate to each other?

NRC is behind Stephen Downes’ research, and hence, this course. They are also the source for LPSS.

edX is a non-profit MOOC provider. Wikipedia lists them among the “Notable Providers.” Here’s a list comparing it with four other free MOOC platforms. Here’s a longer list of MOOC providers.

Open edX is the open source platform that powers edX courses.”

I still don’t know what to compare LPSS with.

To add a question, is it just me, or does anyone else feel that you need an inordinate number of mouse clicks  to find what you need on the course website?

First Post

Welcome. This blog was started as part of my participation in the Personal Learning MOOC currently being offered by Stephen Downes.

By “first post,” I mean my first blog post ever, because this is the first time I made a blog. Maybe I should have called the blog, “NRC01PL for Dummies.” The only problem is that usually such books are written by people who know what’s going on enough to guide the dummies. Here, I’m the dummy… But, hey, maybe that’s what part of what Personal Learning is all about — figuring out what you need you know, with other people helping you out by sharing their knowledge and resources that they’ve found helpful. So unless you’re on my limited level in knowledge and experience, you’re not going to learn much from this blog (other than gain insight into one person’s struggle to learn.)

[Many of the concepts being discussed in the course are not totally alien to me; I made a wiki before, once taught via video (although it was called a “course,” and I tried to make it interactive, it was probably more like a series of webinars), and once tried  flipping a classroom. But the online environment is certainly not my field.]

Until now, I never made a blog, didn’t use Twitter, and never took an online course myself. I once tried to take a MOOC, but (don’t laugh) dropped out because couldn’t figure out how to use the resources, nor reach a live person who would help guide me through. Very humbling experience; 3000 people evidently figured out how to use it, and I couldn’t…

I sometimes get this queasy feeling that everyone else in this course understands lots of crucial background “stuff” that I don’t. I can handle acronyms, but how do they relate to each other? (See end next post for some of the answers I came up with.) Is this course from the NRC or edX or Open edX or LPSS? All of the above? And how do they relate to each other? I picked up that this course is somewhat related to Stephen’s research; but what is not known and what is being tested? (Is it OK to ask that? See “etiquette” below.) What is the difference between the tools (is that the right word? should I write “elements”? “environments”? “systems”?) that we’re using and everything else out there (other than everything being open source)? Do any of these questions matter anyway? Should I risk making a fool out of myself and put all my stupid questions on the discussion board (and not know whether readers will think, “Yeah, I was wondering that myself,” or shake their heads in pity and wonder — “what is this person doing in this course?”).

I tried finding some answers through Google, and (soon overwhelmed with information) thought to myself, “if only I could speak to someone for a few minutes. I’m sure someone would be willing to do that.” But how do I get such a request out there? Should I Twitter? Put it on the discussion board? Is asking to speak (as in old-fashioned voice-to-voice) to someone a breach of MOOC etiquette? (Is there such a thing as MOOC etiquette?) Is it more acceptable if I use technology, such as Hangout or Skype, rather than a phone?  (just joking)

Then I saw the assignment to sign up for Diigo and share resources. (I used to use — to me they look like the same thing. I assume Diigo must be better.) OK, that’s easy enough, I thought, I can share some of the results of my googling. Than I saw the assignment to make a blog. That’s it! I thought. I’ll dump my thoughts on the blog, and maybe someone will help. Cyberspace is full of blogs that some people look upon with interest, and others look upon with pity.

So here I am.