Do a MOOC this Christmas.

Do a MOOC. The experience of the loneliness of the long distance learner is one of the best staff development activities for teaching and learning in a digital age.  There are multiple options to choose from (see previous blog posts) and Udacity have five useful tips for getting the best out of any online learning experience. There are no surprises here but they do reinforce the need for strategic approaches to virtual learning and how social networks really can offer viable alternatives to face to face collegial support on campus.

Inevitably MOOCs are bringing with them a new language for learning. In Five Steps to Success in a MOOC David Cormier recommends participants Orient, Declare, Network, Focus and Cluster.  Again, this emphasises the value of using social networking tools to find and engage with like minded people and create online communities of practice. Here is the power of the internet in action with real potential for offering alternative access to teaching and learning opportunities.

MOOCs: here, there and everywhere…

MOOCs are everywhere. This week sees the start of a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) from the OER Foundation. Open Content Licensing for Educators runs from 3-14 December and is an online workshop designed for educators wanting to learn more about open education resources, copyright, and creative commons licenses. 293 people are currently registered from 58 different countries. You can register at

If you prefer a home grown MOOC, the Open Learning Design Studio’s ‘Learning Design for a 21st Century Curriculum’ is a 9 week course starting 10/01/13. Designed with further and higher education professionals with an interest in curriculum and learning design, the course has been funded by JISC as part of a benefits realisation programme and is intended to build on the success of the Open University Learning Design Initiative (OULDI) and other JISC funded curriculum design and delivery projects. Go to to find out more about the course and to register.

If you prefer a wider choice of subjects, Open Culture has a list of 185 MOOCs offered by leading universities. Most offer ‘certificates’ or ‘statements of completion.’

MOOCs are currently getting media coverage and the only way to have an informed judgement is to try one. As well as the links above, MOOCs are also offered at Udacity and Coursera. There must be something somewhere for everyone.