6. Let students collaborate on the net! From forums to a wall facebook, twitter and through the development of a wiki. Students should be the main actors of MOOC
MOOC courses are open. And you can always follow. If they are massive, meaning that they can be followed around the world, and therefore participants may have schedules, calendars and different rhythms.
More interaction between teachers and students, too, the idea is that the particpants resolve their own questions, and get excited quite conexiement between them.
Tracking a MOOC can be an individual process, but it can also happen that a group of participants do collectively somewhere in particular. The interaction between students then take place primarily online, and let them interact, without difficulty, but I guess that this opportunity is something to be encouraged a bit.
The MOOC are massive, at least there is a big size difference with a formal course. The experience of the first MOOC in MiriadaX was that participants have questions, ask on the forum, and often they themselves answer, except that it is a question of a technical nature. Again (as in this year) that provide information or make a reflection. As in any group, Pareto Law is satisfied: 20% of participants made ​​80% of interventions. Our experience indicates that it would surely be even more: 10% makes 90%. In fact, usually there is no obligation to participate in forums or social networks, so depending on how the course will be more or less intervention.
The main question is: improve student learning if we actively participate in forums, social networking, to wiki ...? The distract from what could be really important, which is "study"?
We went there in a kind of contradiction that has its own place in this course: if the course is open (mOoc) is also open to all students say including forums, etc.? In MiriadaX you can only access the forums, blog, internal social networks ... if you follow the course.
Necessary to promote student participation in social networks standard? It depends on the purpose of the course, and if that brings more knowledge. If the course is kind contructivista, where knowledge was also built by the participants themselves, which should make reflections and actions open, perhaps we need to boost their very presence in social networks. If the course is more expository content of a mature well established in a field, then surely needed.
In short, we do students interact more or less, and do it as part of a platform that promotes or requires the use of tools within the platform, perhaps invisible outside of course, depend on the chosen platform and the characteristics of the course itself.
In any case, here are some recommendations based on our experience:
1 Forums
In the background are the internal social network. Like this course or any formal course is the primary interaction between students and teachers and privacy in a MOOC too. The main difference is that it is not possible to answer and converse with the high number of students. Teachers should only respond if there are questions that relate to a problem, error or situation that demands explicit intervention.
Depending on the course, you can set up a section for each module topic and even for each sub-topic or sub. Doing it this facilitates the arrangement of ideas, and that given the different student learning rate and the expected high number of interventions, it is not all mixed and disorderly.
The advantage of using social networking tools that are standard for intervention are usually very efficient and attractive. However, you should think about the difficulty of segmenting the discussion and interventions. If there is internal forums, twitter, facebook ... maybe it is difficult to find answers, suggestions and ideas.
We must also think of interesting from the point of view of promotion. We want to be known publicly and interaction and dynamic course MOOC? You may want that to induce others to sign it in the next edition. But it can also happen that people come to the discussion that is not registered in the course.
From our point of view, it is best to concentrate Forums (sorted by topics and subtopics) discussion between studied, using standard social networks to comment on the dynamics of the course, to make it known, and to promote. A bit like we do with this course uses the Moodle platform: we occasionally tweets with the hashtag # 23clausmooc to remember that we are teaching a course. If participants discussed topics on twitter hashtag this year, then you can use a tool like Storify to make a summary of what has been the progress in social networks.
It may be that the students want to learn beyond the academic relationship. The most probable is that the initiative of someone mounts a private facebook group. In fact, teachers may not even find out about this, as in other areas of training. Neither we force to maintain contact between students beyond the course, or we stop it.
However, students Agra (as in everywhere) know something of his professors, who are more than just faces in a video and text ideas. A minimum of motivation explaining something non-professional is always good.
3 wiki
There may be courses create a wiki where relevant. In fact, you would think even create Wikipedia articles, for example. This course might be to that. A course of basic science as well, why not? Depending on the platform, there is also a glossary that can prepare teachers to advance or develop col.laborativament the course.
Build a wiki is, in our opinion, an interesting activity if writing skills are relatively equal for all students, and are able to do well. The success of Wikipedia is that anyone can contribute, and everyone can find a topic that requires editing, where you can contribute. In a MOOC course where students are going to be formed, would only promote a sense force wiki if participants actually being trained for editing and creating content is a sustainable and exciting.
Although a massive course teachers do not intervene much in the course beyond the error correction or at specific times, it may be good to do some session of questions / answers and a meeting to meet teachers and discuss the march of progress.
Of the many ways there are to do so, at least these signals. Beware! in the case of synchronous activities must take into account time zone differences, and assemble them in good times and dates that go to maximum people. In experiments in which we participated, we have noted the difficulty of maintaining a debate between people from America, Europe and Asia.
Remember that good MOOC courses that can be followed at all times and everywhere. Therefore, you should think about which participants can be at home, sitting and concentrated, bus or following it by phone and helmets.
- Google Hangout (video) or equivalent symmetrical. In a year ruled by a small number of students, this is feasible. In a massive course, difficult and unsustainable.
- Streaming asymmetric. In this case the teacher or team of teachers in front of their webcams (close) or in front of a camera (maybe farther) make a session of questions / answers where students participate using a single channel, for example twitter, Facebook or even the forum of course. It would be the equivalent of a session of questions where students are not in person in a classroom, but where they can see and hear the teacher. The live broadcast of the video can be made to any system, for example Ustream, Livestream or mobile application.
- Synchronous discussions, forums or social networks internal standard. The difference with the normal activity in the forum is immediate: one last question a student teacher is still an answer, and there is an active debate in bounded time.
As for the previous point, you can encourage student groups to make virtual meetings or discussions synchronous network. Even some courses are face meetings of participants, but in any case because it corresponds to an extra dimension to training.
6 Final comments
One of the interesting questions in a MOOC, where video plays a dominant role, is whether the participants "take notes" when watching videos. Because as said in item 3, a video must provide some value to a mere presentacció or text. Should students "catching notes", interaction and sharing of "notes" is a form of learning. See the new Google Drive with pluggable tool to take notes while a video envisions: VideoNotes (news: A Great Tool for Google Drive Taking Notes While Watching Videos)