ET al

01/31/2013

2910259262_117e5f260f_bI am fascinated by collective nouns.

I like the idea of: a congregation of alligators; a shrewdness of apes; a blush of boys; a rabble of butterflies; a fling of dunlins;  and a convocation of eagles. I do get confused about these nouns, however. Goldfinches charm, hippopotamuses bloat and jays scold. There is a fluther of jellyfish and an exaltation of larks. I am delighted that owls meet in a parliament.

I have been wondering whether there is a collective noun for massive open online courses. At present, given the diversity and availability of these courses, perhaps there is a flourishing of MOOCs or a pandemonium, or a murmation.

Whatever the noun might be, there are some wonderful resources emerging. #ETMOOC is in the midst of Topic 1 at the moment. I liked Alec’s summary. He gave me a lead to a lot of resources including Sue Waters’ discussion of staying connected. I think Sue writes with a delightful synoptic vision and whenever I read her work I do think of the power of connectivism.

Elsewhere, I am mindful that Stephen Downes is guiding me daily through this flourishing of MOOCs. I enjoyed his link to a post by Mike Caulfield, MOOCs and Textbooks Will End Up Courseware. Mike observes “the best way to think of a MOOC isn’t really as a class brought to your doorstep — it’s more a textbook with ambitions”. (He is referring particular to xMOOCs, I believe.) He notes that this shift “marks a shift from the class seen as an event to the class seen as a designed (and somewhat replicable) learning environment”.

He adds that this shift:

subverts traditional divisions of labor, and has the potential to radically change what we mean by education.  It will force us to understand the physical classroom as a learning environment as well (albeit a different one) much as the emergence of recorded music created the conception of live music.

2930524407_775fe499dd_oI followed up on an earlier post by Mike as a result of Stephen’s link. In that post Mike discusses a centralised course with distributed sections. I liked Alan Levine’s comment on this post and Mike’s reply.  I noticed that Bon Stewart had commented too. The post and the comments resonate with work underway in Sport Studies at the University of Canberra.

Sue’s views on connecting within and between communities prompted me to think about backchannels and assessment (constructive alignment). I had been thinking about Silvia’s a modern classroom and Greg Miller‘s discussion of a 21st-century-skills-report-card. By good fortune, Richard Byrne has been writing about Classroom Backchannels and Informal Assessment Tools. He shares an excellent 32 page PDF of ideas and directions (available from the blog post). Richard is another person whose energy and openness I admire. I am always pleased when one of his tweets appears in Paper.Li. I am going to follow up on his links to Today’s Meet and Socrative.

I am mindful too that I need to develop the community skills that Jane Hart is sharing in her Online Communities workshop this month. I had better add gamification to my list too following Tina Barseghian’s post.

My reading today ended with an Evernote from David Thornburg shared by web20classroom via Twitter. David recalls Marshall McLuhan’s observation that “It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame”. He adds that according to Marshall McLuhan  each new technology does four things:

  • Creates something new
  • Obsoletes something old
  • Rekindles something from the past
  • Flips into something new (and sets the stage for its own destruction)
Given what is going on at the moment and with my appetite for exploring these opportunities perhaps the collective noun for MOOCs I am seeking is a busyness of MOOCs.
Photo Credits
Dunlins (Sergey Yeliseev, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)