Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Information Overload

I began this MOOC with the greatest of intentions, to learn how to teach online.  I found so much information however, that I am lost in the information overload.  I think that I am posting in week three, but I am not sure.  I am also unsure what a sense making artifact is, even though I went to the suggested site and tried to digest that information too.  So I will settle for a simple reflection this week, and try again to digest what I am reading in the upcoming round of information.

I viewed the webinar with Tony Bates and found it to be quite interesting.  The focus was on the steps needed to design and implement an online course.  He discussed some of his 9 Steps that I also mentioned in my last blog. Mr. Bates also outlined the differences between open source learning and classes that are designed "for credit".  The main difference lies in the structure and evaluation that is inherent in courses designed for university credit.  I think I like structure.  I need to know what the ground rules are - specific examples of work that I need to produce to earn my credits.  Although courses for credit require a lot of reading and writing, the information is more contained.  Topics are specific, and discussion posts for the week usually center around one main issue.  If the class is divided into groups, then there is a specific purpose to the grouping, at least as far as I can tell.

In this MOOC, I am never sure if I am responding to one of the instructors, or if I am responding to a fellow student.  From the many blogs that I read, there are a number of people taking the course who are also instructors at a university.  I find that interesting.  Perhaps there is a real need among university professors to improve their online course structure, or to at least find out what all the hullabaloo is about - OR there are a lot of instructors for this course. 

One of my issues with online courses is the evaluation of work.  How is it done so that the student does not feel it is all automated?  It is one thing to turn in a test and know that the score is machine scored, but it is another thing to wonder if the professor actually read any comment or essay that you posted.  Is the entire grade made up of on-time postings, or do instructors at least read some of the comments some of the time?


  1. Hi! I think that a lot of people are feeling lost and overwhelmed about what to do and where to go in this course so you are not alone. I in fact am not sure half of the time what I "should" be doing. The good news is that I don't think there is any defined tasks that *should* take place. IMHO, do what you can; read what you can; respond when you can and go from there.

    For myself, I was not able to devote as much time last week as I would have liked to. I considered going back and giving a thorough treatment to the topics and webinars that I missed but that would have put me behind for this week so I opted to mentally collect the material as best as I could - primarily by reading a few of the suggested articles and many of last week's blogs - and then move on to this week's work.

    It seems a bit helter-skelter, I know. Personally, I don't mind it! Everybody is pressed for time and the way that I deal with it is to grab snippets of information whenever I can (primarly during my lunch break at work). If my mood permits, I also grab a glass of wine after the baby has gone to bed and the hubby is playing video games and do a bit of catching up then.

    There is no failure here. I know that a lot of people want to earn the badge/letter of completion (myself included) so I suppose there is some minimum amount of legwork required for that but even if it's not achieved and even if all I learn is one single thing, I still consider that a win.

  2. I would suggest not taking the approach that the course is about content to be mastered, and instead start think of it as skills to be practiced. In this new electronic frontier of "overwhelming much information" we need to learn how to navigate to learn. How can we teach our students these critical skills if we don't have them?

    This is not a traditional course. It does not have an instructor assessing everyone's work. You assess your own work,based on the feedback you receive, and your own self reflection. Hopefully you are getting feedback.

    If you think of knowledge and learning as something to be acquired and measured and tested - instead of practiced and lived and experienced - you will be dissatisfied with this type of learning (connectivist learning).

    Stephen Downes said, "as long as you think of knowledge and learning as something to be acquired and measured and tested - instead of practiced and lived and experienced - you will be dissatisfied with connectivist learning".

    The Community wall has the dates and weeks of the course

    An email is sent 3 times a week with the current week's objectives, resources, activities and recent posts. Are you getting them?

    If you want to read all the posts as a magazine you can use flipboard.

    I hope this helps.


  3. As others mentioned the feeling you are experiencing is completely normal - it takes time to get grounded when learning is an environment that is geared to personalized learning; a more rewarding and fulfilling experience in the long run. I have a couple of suggestions that I found helped me, first is I usually set out three personal learning goals at the beginning of a MOOC. Sometimes my goals change over the course, but the goals keep me focused. The goals help me to channel my reading and selection of materials to engage with. I realized after a while I don't need to read everything, and my goals helped me to choose.

    A good resources to watch is Dave Cormier's video 'Success in A MOOC'

    Tonight I will be doing a webinar for another MOOC, but it's open to anyone - the topic is how to learn effectively in an open learning experience. It is at 8 pm Central Time, or 6 pm PST. The link is here to join is here . The recording will be available later on

  4. I recommend you read Jim's "Response to Uncomfortable with MOOC" post - as it provides a really explanation of the process in this MOOC.


Comments are welcome