Go do a MOOC today!

Today is the start of Flexible, Distance and Online Learning (FDOL). This is an open course designed and delivered by two educational developers; Chrissi Nerantzi from the University of Salford (UK) and Lars Uhlin from the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden). Chrissie was one of the HEA’s critical friends on Embedding OER Practice and it’s good to see so many principles of openness embedded in FDOL.  The course aims to enhance understanding of the benefits and challenges online learners and facilitators are facing and will model the use of freely available social media tools and platforms for enabling connection and engagement.

These are interesting times for openness, in particular the development of online learning. It’s week 5 on the OLDsMOOC  (Online Learning Design with the OU) and week 3 in EDC MOOC (eLearning in Digital Cultures with University of Edinburgh and Coursera). FDOL offers a useful choice between core course involvement or having peripheral status (that’s me on the periphery) and although registration is closed, it’s still possible to join as a peripheral group member and experience how social media can enable and enhance education using a Focus Investigate Share (FISh) model of Problem Based Learning (PBL) design.

There’s only so many MOOCs you can fit into the week but so far the experience has been well worth the stretched days and weekends. The concept of elearning has been around for some time but is all too often still understood as putting lectures online when it’s most effective through active engagement and shared practice. The best elearning experiences emerge from online inter-activities and related discussions. Learning online is not easy; it requires motivation, stamina and perseverance – fortunately this has become something anyone with access can experience for free with a MOOC. For anyone interested in online learning design I recommend it. Go do a MOOC today!


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