Mentoring and teaching on MOOCs

I’m in week 5 of the OU course on Technology Enhanced Learning. As part of the course, we had to participate in a Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC), mainly to find out how MOOCs work, but also to learn more about online education.

I can recommend the course, by the way. It’s free, it’s on FutureLearn, the OU’s MOOC platform, and is called The Online Educator:People and Pedagogy.

As well as studying the course content, we had to study how the course was presented, which is where I am now in the main, paid-for course.  We’ve been asked to consider activities associated with teaching and note how these relate to the teaching/mentoring in the live MOOC.

The comments section of FutureLearn doesn’t allow formatting, so I thought I’d just link to my blog from there.

Teaching and mentoring in MOOCs

Teaching activity

Who does it?

Presenting information


Curating links to external resources


Designing learning activities


Moderating comments and conversations


Posing questions

Educators (but built on by the mentors in the comments)

Roles that weren’t really covered in the MOOC included connecting learners and encouraging external networks.

The review process seemed to take the form of a concluding article, with a list of references for further reading attached. I’m not sure if too many people looked at the reference lists, but they’ll come in handing for our TMA.


No Learning Technologies

I tried…but then something happened.

Actually the problem was that I was in the middle of an application process for another job. I was already lying my arse off about taking time out for interviews, and I didn’t want to excite further suspicion by mitching off to the LT show, where I would meet lots of agencies.

Enough of that…MY COURSE!

I’ve been working on a post-graduate course in Technology Enhanced Learning with the Open University. As someone involved in workplace learning, I don’t get that much exposure to the latest academic trends in online learning. We get a lot of stuff from companies trying to sell us things, but it’s more about the technology than the process.

So far I’ve learned a lot about expanded participation.

We looked at Citizen Science projects. The RSPB Garden Watch weekend is a good example of that, but there are dozens of other projects where you can analyse data from space, gauge colours in birds’ wings, identify trees, log bumblebee sightings…even counting slugs.

Part of the course is working through a MOOC. Now, I heard a lot about MOOCs in the past, but never tried one. This one is an interesting experience. There are questions about participation – many of the most active commenters are also doing the OU course, so I’m wondering if we’ve dampened voices from outside our course. The MOOC owner seems to be slightly obsessed with Second Life (whoo! Not), but we’re learning some really useful stuff about sifting through the hype around learning technologies.  It feels a bit odd though, both participating, then observing and commenting on the action in another course.

We’ve also been learning about new-ish theories of learning, in particular how you can use the newish theories to address your own practice as an online educator. I’ll do something a little longer about communities of inquiry and communities of practice, possibly with a bit of research on connectivism.

Oh…I got the job. Just working my 12 weeks (!) notice.