This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

Live by the sword… (MOOCs)

Using technology in instruction, meetings, or presentations has always been a double-edged sword. The more it is depended on, the more spectacular are the failures when technology doesn't cooperate.  When technology is so fully integrated into the instructional and learning experience as it is with MOOCs, how can failure be accommodated?

In an xMOOC, progress might just grind to a halt due to the centralized and controlled nature of the course.  The instructivist MOOCs tend to use one platform, usually a form of learning management system (LMS) as the primary delivery mechanism for the course.  However, there is also usually a healthy backchannel in Twitter, or mailing list as a secondary channel.  If the loss is in a secondary channel, there isn't too much disruption.  If it's a primary LMS that experiences the loss, participants can still communicate, but the course would not proceed fully until the primary channel is available again.

In a cMOOC, if there are multiple platforms in use (as there normally are in cMOOCs) then the loss of one or two may not impact the progression of the course that much.  Participants can switch to another platform and continue.  The distributed nature of a connectivist MOOC allows the content to "live" and be pushed from multiple channels.  It may impose an inconvenience for some who weren't using a particular channel, but not a complete outage.

In the design phases, plan for multiple channels, even in an xMOOC.  That way, multiple means of communicating with participants exist.  That's good practice for non-MOOC online courses as well.

#edtech #MOOC #octel #tel

Doctoral student in Adult and Online Learning; IT Director; Director of Distance Learning and Educational Technology.

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