I have written previously that I believe teachers can use MOOCs for professional development. Here, i share briefly some ideas i plan to try in my own course that inspired me from MOOCs I took or am taking.
1. Syllabus negotiated via Google doc
I have always had a negotiable syllabus, but I never thought to actually put the syllabus online in a space where students could comment on it throughout the semester. This idea is inspired by Cathy Davidson’s #FutureEd (MOOC yet to start). (#rhizo14, below, also gives me ideas for how far to negotiate with learners… But that is another blog post).
2. Sustainable assessment
This I learned from #flsustain, Nottingham’s Sustainability, Society and You. I sometimes try to make my assessments authentic (i.e. something relevant and useful to the learner’s life beyond class). I now think I should not have any assessments that do not directly influence the learner outside class. No assignments handed in to me. Only assessments that make sense to learners outside class. When I teach teachers, this means something they will either use in their class, for their school, or their professional development. Something they might want to do again or use again beyond the class. Hosted on a platform they can continue to use. E.g. Blog or wiki or other social media
3. Allow multiple approaches for connecting
I am learning a lot from #rhizo14 (Rhizomatic learning) beyond this, but I think it has been great to negotiate my way around learning via different social media for one course, and since i teach ed tech, my students could benefit from this on a meta-level (exploring multiple intelligences, learning new technologies,comparing their learning potential) – another sustainable form of learning! So i might have my students blog for one week, use twitter for an assignment the next, have a facebook and/or G+ group (unsure they need both) – and then let them choose freely among those (and the Moodle discussion board) for their preferred platform for later weeks.
(To be fair, this idea started for me with #edcmooc below, including giving students annotated content to choose to read/watch, but I participated in more platforms in #rhizo14, so the idea grew)
4. Digital artefact as project
This I learned from #edcmooc, eLearning and Digital Cultures (Edinburgh) – the final project was a digital artefact of our choice that represented learning in the course. I liked the freedom and simplicity of the prompt, though it was actually an assignment that required reflection. I learned from some of the shortcomings of it, too. It asked a little too much (in the peer assessment criteria – which i think in my case should be negotiated) and i would also add one thing (suggested by Sandra Sinfield after i raised the issue in the discussion forum): allow the learner space to explain why or how they think their artefact met the goals of the project. I also think they can ask for a couple of additional criteria to be assessed on that are valuable to THEM personally. I also learned to give learners space to explore some new technologies before the final project to help them choose among possibilities.
This one I learned from Ary and Maddie, CTAs in #edcmooc – have students blog in groups of 4 such that each blogs for a week while others comment and help support and promote, then they rotate. I might do it slightly differently, but along those lines so students who have different commitments throughout the semester do not feel pressured to blog weekly.
6. Medium-term synchronous collaborative events
This one I learned from the #readmake project, not a MOOC, but a 2-day collaborative writing event on a google doc, with a Twitter hashtag on the side. I am not a big fan of synchronous communication online (love it when it is convenient and it works, like today with #rhizo14 folks, but it is rare for me to be able to participate, and infrastructure in Egypt is choppy). Sooo the idea of all people using twitter and some collaborative platform like a wiki to work on something over a short time period of a few days (but not just within 1-2 hours) sounds more doable. It allows for some immediacy but also some reflection and allows for people’s busy schedules and tech glitches.
Will I be able to do this all next semester? See #1: i will negotiate with my students and see! Every semester is different. Will it all work? See #3: some will work better for certain people than others! So the only certainty is uncertainty… As we have been saying somewhere in #rhizo14… Facebook was it?