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 del.icio.us — 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.

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4 thoughts on “First Post

  1. Hi! I know how you feel. I clearly remember how I felt when I started my blog. Re help – WordPress has a chat helpline. That might be a good place to start – but it looks to me as if you are doing OK 🙂

    “I sometimes get this queasy feeling that everyone else in this course understands lots of crucial background “stuff” that I don’t.”

    Yes maybe – but you will know a lot of stuff that everyone else does not. I got that line from Stephen Downes himself, when I met him at a conference.

    And Yes we should all risk making fools of ourselves and ask the questions, And my thinking is that questions about research ethics should always be asked.

    Re speaking ‘live’ maybe your best bet is to attend the weekly live sessions, i.e. the Google Hangouts or whatever way Stephen decides to do this – and raise your questions there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 😉 you made me smile after a long day! I am not doing your MOOC but your post came to me via Jenny Mackness who is!
    I am part of the open education community via other online courses.
    I cannot answer specifics but I can say if you find a way into it learning on the open web it can be wondeful. It can also be tough and it is not for everyone.
    Be sure that there will be a backchannel where people talk synchonously – voice or video or both. Life is much easier if you can reach a human synchronously, I know.

    Blog is a start. Next? About page? I would like to know who I am talking to here. Getting rid of the Egg on Twitter? Academic Twitter can be a great space, though not always. Test things out and go with your gut, don’t be forced to be more ‘open’ or ‘connected’ than you are ready to be. There is a kind of heroic narrative about open education that can make new people feel pressured into disclosure. Trust your judgement.

    Look fotward to reading more, I enjoy your writing style. I am @mdvfunes on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

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