I have to confess I started off a few weeks back with some curiosity and not very much motivation. I found out about a new Massive Open Online Course called Change: Education, Learning, and Technology and thought it was worth checking out. I'd heard quite a bit about other MOOCs and well... it's my area, I have to understand the idea less superficially.
I registered and got the introduction (orientation week) email today. I started watching the videos and getting excited. Some of G. Siemens' ideas in the interview were very interesting, especially about the connections and how they are broken in closed environments. I feel more and more that there enough tools that are similar and those that are not are too scarcely available, closed, expensive... I'm a big fan of Knowledge Forum and those are all problems I find in it. The ideas that drive it, knowledge building, cognitive responsibility and knowledge advancement seem more powerful than the current state of the technology.
They also resonate with Siemens. His view on the connections not being severed by not using closed platforms (pulling the plug, ending the course) seem work out limitations in what Scardamalia calls "ubiquity of knowledge creation", taking the learning everywhere with you. I am excited to learn more.
Downe's introduction was also interesting. The overwhelming amount of information he mentions will be a challenge, but a welcome one. It is not only in a MOOC that you have access to more information than you can process or even skim. It is in life. Making decisions or judgments with incomplete information is a reality of life all around, and making it part of a course can be really powerful. How will students cope? There will still be structure provided by the guest lecturers and materials provided by facilitators, but that will likely be a lot in itself. I don't believe it will be, as Stephen said, a "state of the art" of educational technology. I can quickly think of several big names in the field that are not (yet?) a part of the course. Not just big names, but big ideas. It will be a lot, anyway. Maybe those will turn up through what we, participants, bring in.
It will be overwhelming and I don't know how much I will be able to keep up. I'm so behind with work, that it isn't even funny to try something else. It's rather stupid. But I will, because now I am motivated. Just listening to the introductions got some crazy ideas running through my mind about running some sort of MOOC with middle schoolers next semester to end with an Educamp event in line with what Diego Leal help me put together a few years back. Seriously mad idea.