Reflections on the edcmooc

February 27, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Posted in MOOC | Leave a comment

I’ve really enjoyed the E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC run by the University of Edinburgh through Coursera. Its tutors have created a really engaging alternative to the usual xMOOC formula (course = recorded lectures + readings + MCQ tests + forums) by basing the first four weeks around some fantastic short films from YouTube and Vimeo. Many of these have had an SF flavour appropriate to the course themes of utopias, dystopias, and being human in a digital age – but crucially each is accompanied by a few fairly deep questions to consider while you watch the film and discuss afterwards in the forums.For example, the short film Sight has the following text:

Sight explores how the ubiquity of data and the increasingly blurry line between the digital and the material might play out in the sphere of human relationships. The focus on the emerging social and educational use of game-based ‘badging’ is particularly interesting. What is going on here, and how do you interpret the ending? How does this vision align and contrast with the ones in the first two films?

One or two carefully selected academic papers provide some depth each week, but overall the course doesn’t have much content. I’ve appreciated the space that has created for thinking and discussion – other MOOCs I have sampled have an abundance of content to transmit. If I had a criticism of the course, it is that although it was advertised as “an invitation to view online educational practices through a particular lens – that of popular and digital culture.” it (in my opinion) views future possibilities rather than current realities. However, even if it isn’t quite what it said on the tin (or maybe I just mis-read the label) I like the flavour and texture a lot!

This final week is where we submit our assignments, and the tutors have given us the widest scope possible to exercise our imaginations and creativity within some clear assessment criteria. The peer review process starts tomorrow, and my next post will cover my own submission.


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