#EDCMOOC I’ve Come a LONG way, Baby!

After spending a tremendous amount of time reading blogs, perusing the internet for interesting articles, scanning twitter for more links to more information, I’m back to my blog. I’m loving this new computer…it’s super fast and I can find information easily. This computer has a web cam and Dolby sound, therefore I was able to spend face to face time at a Google hangout with some very important people… “my peeps”, my online safety net , my givers of inspiration.  Angela Towndrow, yet again motivates me to share my experiences so far. She stated in a most recent e mail…”One idea I have is if we had a discussion about our precourse connections and activities….how it started, grew and how this aspect of digital culture has affected our own learning experience and how we will take this back to our own teaching environment.” .

As stated before in previous blog posts, I am a novice when it comes to most digital and on line experiences.Limited, my experience was extremelylimited. Before enrolling in E-Learning and Digital Cultures 2013 ie. this massive MOOC from the University of Edinburgh, my primary use of my computer was e- mailing family and friends, using emails at work, checking Facebook once in a while and buying a few items on e bay or Amazon.

I had the Facebook account but rarely posted there, I just kept in contact with family and a few friends. Now I have a story to tell.

In that late November email,our course developers encouraged participants to familiarize ourselves with various platforms. My first new account was Twitter. There, I introduced myself and met Mohammed and Chris. Mohammed suggested we post objectives and goals. WordPress was the next account that I signed up for. Chris inspired my first blog post.He suggested we write about three things we want to learn, three things that concern us and three things we hope will happen as a result of taking this course. I did just that and voila my first blog was completed.

Chris also inspired me to try something new, tagxedo, and helped me upload it to our EDCMOOC school, another one of Chris’s creations. Oh, BTW, Chris is also our map maker extraordinaire.
Needless to say because of Chris and Angela’s help and encouragement I was able to step out of my comfort zone and move into unfamiliar yet exciting territory. Laurie St. Cyr Neistrath is another important connection. She sensed my angst over this new digital world I am now occupying and recommended that I sign up for a DIY Web 2.0 course offered by folks at PLPnetwork.com. I did that and now feel more confident in my abilities to navigate the WEB. I’ve spent the last few weeks reading blogs, finding useful articles and imagining what the course will be like when it actually starts. I’ve also added several more essential connections. People who inspire creativity, challenge me to think more deeply and take more risks. This last risk, that of creating a video of what a MOOC looks like to me, another challenge by our dear friend Chris Swift,was SCARY. I created something that people all over the world might see! I took a look at Ary Aranguiz’s Videoscribe and wanted to try making one of my own. I was happy with the results.

Learning with the friends that I’ve mentioned as well as Madhura, Andy, Kelcy, Nigel, Eric and others that I will soon connect with, make this my first MOOC adventure enriching, enlightening and entertaining.

How does  experiencing all this, change the way I teach and look at learning? It changes everything! The teacher is no longer just the giver of information and a guide, but someone who collaborates with  students and learns from them as well .Just look at all the learning that’s taken place in me from connecting with “my peeps”, my circle of friends.  Learning becomes limitless. We are no longer limited by four walls, or by just our thoughts. We are able to expand our knowledge exponentially by the number of connections we make. Limitless possibilities are out there just a click of the mouse away.

All in all, my precourse experience has been terrific.I’ve made the necessary human connections. Connections that  make learning happen.

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9 thoughts on “#EDCMOOC I’ve Come a LONG way, Baby!

  1. Good for you Willa! You’ve done so much in such a short space time. You’re on a roll 😉 One phrase stuck out for me in your post, “Now I have a story to tell”. For me, to have a sense of narrative has been so important to keep track of what’s going on and bring meaning to this mass of information, so that phrase really resonated. There’s also the imagination side of story telling which is equally as important in learning. In my job I work on a schools programme called “Connecting Classrooms” so your final paragraph rang a bell too. Your’re right, it’s been about “connections that make learning happen”. Nice way to put it.
    Chris

  2. Its wonderful being part of each other’s story. All our stories are slightly different, but with common threads. I have been giving much thought to my role in teaching and where that might lead having had this experience. Will it mean more structure or less, more involvement or a different type of involvement? How can I imbue students with the same sense of enthusiasm and love of learning as I have experienced with our group? How can I inspire them to take a risk, move outside their comfort zone? Such old questions in an exciting new era where “connection is king”!

  3. It is wonderful being part of each other’s story. You raise some very thoughtful questions. If you ever find the magic formula that gives our students the same sense of enthusiasm and love of learning that our group has demonstrated, please share. I think we can only model this. I’ve always thought that a love of learning and desire to know more is an inborn trait, part of our nature. I’m hoping I’m wrong and that this love of learning can be instilled and inspired.

  4. Enjoyed reading your post Willa, and meeting you in person the other day on our Google Hangout. I too believe every person has an innate desire to learn, and it’s important, as you say, for the teacher to be a fellow collaborator. It’s all about helping our students discover their passions. I love how you say you’ve learned so much in so little time. You’ll see how soon you’ll be a web 2.0 pro teaching others.

  5. Willa, very inspiring post; you explain your journey very well. I was caught by the same phrase that Chris mentioned “now I have a story to tell”. You’ve always had a story to tell just as your students have stories to tell, but you may have felt that it was too insignificant for anyone to listen to. Sort of like that video that Angela introduced us to about having an idea that seemed obvious to you but when shared was viewed as awesome by others. So why don’t you take the journey you just described and see if you can pull out the critical elements or techniques that helped you learn how to tell your story. Then you could think about putting together a process that could tested by your students (who might be more comfortable with other technologies than the ones we are using).

  6. I wonder how to translate our thrilling experience to that of our students? I think that’s the thing I want most for my students–to love learning like I do. BUT then I remember I didn’t really commit to formal higher education learning until I was about 24. I’d been piddling around up until that point–then I got serious and dedicated. Was I afraid before that to try and fail? Was I afraid others might think I was not capable? I think that had something to do with it. I’m so glad you are telling your story. It’s important. And what a remarkable job many of the early class pre-learning leaders did in helping our small group focus and think and try and explore. Love it. Thanks for writing this.

  7. Thanks for your comment E.D. WE do have some remarkable leaders, don’t we? Only a few more days until we are actually in the thick of it. Here’s hoping we all stay focused..it’s going to be VERY interesting!

  8. I think that the title of your blog should be “I’ve come a long way, baby!” There are probably just three of us in your blog comments thread that understand the context of that phrase. I remember when I began my Digital Media Skills Course last August feeling very impressed with the Twitter stories told by several members of my class. It’s amazing how one can go from feeling as through she has no story at all, to one that exhibits a chronology such as yours! I’m so glad that you’re part of my “peeps” and I am equally pleased for your sense of satisfaction!

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