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Colleagues/

IMHO: A Most Excellent Review Article !

Available Via 


/Gerry 

Gerry McKiernan
Associate Professor
and
Science and Technology Librarian
Iowa State University
152 Parks Library 
Ames IA 50011

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

For EdX I would disagree that the social interaction is "rudimentary."

I just finished the SaaS course (https://www.edx.org/courses/BerkeleyX/CS169.1x/2012_Fall/about, part 2 begins next week), and I found the social interaction to be one of the best parts of the course.

An interesting design element of the EdX platform (which I have lobbied for from Blackboard quite a few times, who knows when/if we'll ever see it there) is that every element in the course – lecture chunks, homework parts, etc. - are top level discussion threads. The threads are embedded under whatever you're looking at, and when you post there, it is tagged as being attached to that course element.

So if I posted in the thread under homework 1 part 2, it is automatically tagged as such, and in the "Discussions" section I can filter for all posts from homework 1 to find my post.

This is one of those innovations that the major LMSs have never considered, but is actually a brilliant interpretation of social, Web-based learning – everything is a conversation. There is no distinction between what is a "discussion" and what isn't.

In the SaaS course this was extremely helpful. Whenever I would hit a roadblock in the homework assignments, I would always get a response in the discussions, and when I completed the homework, I would watch out for other people who had problems and help them when I could. The design described above made this feel very natural.

So although I didn't make any friends or meet anyone face-to-face, it was definitely a valuable social experience and I look forward to carrying this over to part 2.

// Jason


From: "McKiernan, Gerard [LIB]" <gerrymck@IASTATE.EDU>
Reply-To: "The EDUCAUSE Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Constituent Group Listserv" <MOOCS@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Date: Sat, 3 Nov 2012 09:14:59 -0400
To: "MOOCS@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU" <MOOCS@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Subject: [MOOCS] NY Times > The Year of the MOOC

*** Spoiler Alert > Possible Duplicate Posting ***

Colleagues/

IMHO: A Most Excellent Review Article !

Available Via 


/Gerry 

Gerry McKiernan
Associate Professor
and
Science and Technology Librarian
Iowa State University
152 Parks Library 
Ames IA 50011

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

On 03/11/2012 11:37 AM, Blanchard,Jason wrote:
For EdX I would disagree that the social interaction is "rudimentary." ... Every element in the course – lecture chunks, homework parts, etc. - are top level discussion threads. The threads are embedded under whatever you're looking at, and when you post there, it is tagged as being attached to that course elemen


In-course interaction is not the same as social interaction. The concept of social interaction involves stimulating discussion outside the course proper, for example, in social media. It creates the possibility for people to build their own social communities around a course or a course topic, spinning off discussion into other topics or activities. It creates an entity that persists beyond the lifetime of the course. An in-course discussion list does not do this.

That said, I would also observe that gRSShopper, which has been used to support connectivist-style MOOCs since 2008, in addition to fostering the sort of social interaction just discussed, has also had a mechanism whereby every contribution to the course spawns its own discussion thread. You can see this, for example, in the Change11 newsletter. http://change.mooc.ca/archive/11/11_17_newsletter.htm So the 'innovation' in EdX is something that already existed, uncredited, in MOOCs.

Of course, one of the things we've learned offering MOOCs is that social interaction is more robust and more scalable than in-course discussion lists. The bulk of interaction in our courses takes place outside the course, in blogs, websites and social networks. So while they are of course always available to help people who do not participate in social networks, the in-course comment threads tended to be significantly less-used by participants.

-- Stephen

--
Stephen Downes
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
stephen@downes.ca ~ http://www.downes.ca
Free Learning
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

I would say that in-course interaction can be social interaction, sometimes, under the right circumstances. For me, these were the right circumstances. Most of the time, though, this isn't the case for most people.

But I completely agree with what you are saying here – that for social interaction to be authentic and meaningful, it must be able to take place in multiple interaction spaces (online and face-to-face) that are already part of the learners' natural, ecological, Web environment. LMSs rarely, if ever, feel like a natural Web environment. This also opens an opportunity for smaller affinity groups that can create more tighter-knit social interactions than in the formal course space.

There was a graph in that presentation you posted the other day about where students were posting discussions that nicely illustrated this. Moodle was a flat line through out the course, and the other channels rose exponentially as the students were learning.

And yes, I think many like yourself have hit on this long before EdX did it, but Harvard and MIT do it with more NPR stories, so it gets more coverage. I was trying to build something similar myself a while back, but hit too many roadblocks with too little resources. I'm going to look into gRSShopper when I get a chance and see if that's something we can incorporate. Need to brush up on my Perl skills!

// Jason



From: Stephen Downes <stephen@downes.ca>
Reply-To: "stephen@downes.ca" <stephen@downes.ca>
Date: Sat, 3 Nov 2012 10:55:47 -0400
To: "The EDUCAUSE Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Constituent Group Listserv" <MOOCS@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Cc: Jason Blanchard <jwb82@drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: [MOOCS] NY Times > The Year of the MOOC

On 03/11/2012 11:37 AM, Blanchard,Jason wrote:
For EdX I would disagree that the social interaction is "rudimentary." ... Every element in the course – lecture chunks, homework parts, etc. - are top level discussion threads. The threads are embedded under whatever you're looking at, and when you post there, it is tagged as being attached to that course elemen


In-course interaction is not the same as social interaction. The concept of social interaction involves stimulating discussion outside the course proper, for example, in social media. It creates the possibility for people to build their own social communities around a course or a course topic, spinning off discussion into other topics or activities. It creates an entity that persists beyond the lifetime of the course. An in-course discussion list does not do this.

That said, I would also observe that gRSShopper, which has been used to support connectivist-style MOOCs since 2008, in addition to fostering the sort of social interaction just discussed, has also had a mechanism whereby every contribution to the course spawns its own discussion thread. You can see this, for example, in the Change11 newsletter. http://change.mooc.ca/archive/11/11_17_newsletter.htm So the 'innovation' in EdX is something that already existed, uncredited, in MOOCs.

Of course, one of the things we've learned offering MOOCs is that social interaction is more robust and more scalable than in-course discussion lists. The bulk of interaction in our courses takes place outside the course, in blogs, websites and social networks. So while they are of course always available to help people who do not participate in social networks, the in-course comment threads tended to be significantly less-used by participants.

-- Stephen

--
Stephen Downes
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
stephen@downes.ca ~ http://www.downes.ca
Free Learning
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.