From Rookie to MOOCie


NOTE: This blog is in response to an earlier post in my G+ space, which was a response to this original article:

Early Days of Videotaped Lectures by Audrey Watters

Quote from original article:
* * *

I watched the videos of “Introduction to Statistics” alone. (Paused, rewound, and replayed.) There was no way for me to stop the lecture to ask the professor a question. There were no office hours. There were no classmates with whom I could study.

But there was the Internet. There was the Web.

Yes, even decades ago there were bulletin boards and forums and chat rooms that (conceivably) I could have turned to for assistance. (“Help! I don’t understand this question about standard deviation!”)

But I didn’t. I watched the videos alone. I struggled. I paused, rewound, and replayed. I learned alone.

* * *

I understand Audrey.

I think, perhaps, not everybody suffers the same inhibitions.

Perhaps, most people don’t.

But I know I did.

I too experienced similar feelings.

I had never participated in online discussions,

even though the technology was available.

That is…

…until I had my first-virgin MOOC experience a few months ago…

I was “awakened” in DNLE, the first MOOC that I ever took…

…and I’ve not been the same since.

* * *

NOTE: short detour to quote an online friend in the same boat who responded to my post – “At first (when I started MOOCing) it felt uncomfortable not knowing what I was doing, but now, I’m beginning to enjoy the daily little discoveries that I encounter”. Her reply – “I agree… I am completely hooked”…

Hence, the term, from Rookie to MOOCie.

* * *

FYI, I have been studying this phenomena for more than a decade now, both formally, as part of my (small & humble) research effort, as well as for my own (personal) inquiry. I believe the answer lies somewhere in between the theories of Learner Readiness (Bruner,1957), Motivation Attribution (Weiner, 1985), Human Needs (Maslow, 1943), and Affordance Theory (Gibson, 1977).

The reason we are recently seeing an increasing number of people voicing such “awakenings” is not necessarily that there has been a rise in such phenomena. These things have been happening since the initial days of Socratic Inquiry, by Socrates himself!

Instead, what we are seeing is, that the same technological advances that are enabling these “awakenings” to occur, is the same technology that is allowing us (the public in general) to be “awakened” ourselves, to be able to SEE that such phenomena exists.

MOOCs and the Connectivist culture that permeates the online world today is definitely a huge part of this hype. However, as many educationists would point out, Connectivism per se is NOT new. The publicity that it has proliferated in recent months, however, IS.

It came with a bang, with the rise of the MOOCs.

And with this publicity, came the avalanche of public blogs and posts, many of which contain personal open declarations of “awakenings”.

The “awakenings” themselves, also, are not new.
The mode and magnitude of public awareness of these “awakenings”, IS.

When I started typing this post, it began as a reply to someone’s post. But as I continued typing, I realized 3 paragraphs in to it, that my reply post had morphed into a mini thesis. (grin!) Anyway, since I was on my iPad, and since I didn’t want to lose this train of thought, I figured I’d just wing it and keep going. I told myself that I should copy paste this post into my blog website later, and that is exactly what I am doing now.


…halfway through the copy-paste process,

I heard that familiar “ding-Ding-pause-DING”.

My iPhone was the first “ding”.

My iPad, next to my iPhone, was the second slightly louder “Ding”.

And my PC desktop, with the pair of Harman-Kardon speakers that I bought at last year’s garage sale for $1, was the loudest third “DING”, which came only after a slight pause.

I always wondered why the iPhone “ding” came first, quickly followed by my iPad “Ding”, and then later the desktop “DING” — which is the only item connected by land-line Ethernet, and yet, it is the slowest DING. I knew the loudness of the DING is due to the speakers being set on high, but the speed of DING-delivery (or lack of speed)? That still baffles me. I should ask my hardware techno-savvy buddies at work.

But I digress… back to my ding-Ding-pause-DING story.

My reply post had received a +1 from someone…yay!

And a quick ding-Ding-pause-DING later, I found out that I also received a nice reply-post…. whippee!

The reply to my reply-post made my day!
The simple thrill of making someone feel enjoyment,
simply because we are stating a self-observation the way we see it,
is a wonderful experience…
…and THAT…
…is the “awakening” that Audrey (in the article), and I, and MANY others _feel_.

THAT is what never existed before the rise of the MOOC…

Some people are lucky to have mentors early in life who gave them a heads up into this Connectivist world… mentors who taught them the art of harnessing-motivation from others around you.

I consider myself lucky too, as I have recently (less than 3 months) met so many amazing people in G+, right after my first-virgin MOOC exposure, all willing to share their experiences, and to give their time and guidance, openly online. Yesterday, someone posted in my G+ space, “I would never have known that you are a (two month) rookie!” in response to a post I made about being the “new kid on the block”. To me, that was like receiving a graduation scroll!!!

And even more amazing (to me), is the fact that I realize that I am not alone, and that I am not the epitome of abnormality. Even though I consider my “awakening” to be a “late-starter”, occurring only after I have gone through more than 25 years of working as an adult, I am amazed that I have also met MANY others who are even OLDER than I am… grandma’s and grandpa’s who have now become invigorated and energized to Learn On Line (my version of “LOL“). And so, whenever I find them, I cheer them on.

So, I dedicate this blog post today, to ALL the “late-bloomers”… to all Rookies who have now become MOOCies 🙂

And I also thank ALL the people who spare their time to +1 and post replies to others. Such kindness in replying to posts, is certainly the reason why there are so many publicly known “awakenings” of recent.

May we all be generous with our +1’s and reply-posts…
…because in this Connectivist world…
…we never know who we might inspire next (wink!).


2 thoughts on “From Rookie to MOOCie

  1. Very enthusiastic. I’m still coming to terms with MOOC’ing – mainly because I have found less connected-ness than online courses using forums (more constructivist in pedagogy than connectivist) and thus having more deliberately set up interaction (particularly between a tutor-facilitator and students). But yesterday was instructive – I realised I set up a Google+ account ages ago, and some others, but had quite forgotten about them. Perhaps now I will use them.

  2. Open Online Experience

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