This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

#ocTEL MOOC (week 2 A21) Prerequisites for attending a MOOC

The topic of the week is "Understanding learners needs", which in my opinion is better expressed by understanding the prerequisites for enrolling potentially successfully in a (Massive Open) On-line Course. Four questionnaires are suggested to get a first idea of what that could mean. Here they are:
Penn State University: Online Readiness Assessment
San Diego Community College: Online Learning Readiness Assessment
Illinois Online Network: Self Evaluation for Potential Online Students
University of Houston: Test of Online Learning Success 
I took two, then became curious and took all...  I responded sincerely to all the questions and got from the University of Houston the advice to improve on some aspects. I was not in the worse cluster, nor the best but in the one of those who have to manage a few things to ensure a successful on-line curriculum. Penn State was OK, as well as San Diego, but the most enthousiastic was the Illinois Online Network:
Sign me up! You are a great candidate for online learning.
Were is the difference from? Indeed from the nature of the questions and the range of possibility to respond. In the case of Houston, it is possible to "strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree, strongly agree". So, for some questions "neither agree nor disagree" is often  the best response as long as you consider it as expressing that actually the response is: it depends. For example, for the question "I am capable of making time for my coursework", a sincere response is: it depends, as you may be willing to but for many reasons you cannot. Actually, such questionnaires may be reliable on questions dealing with accessibility to the network and to a good enough computer, and with computational skills. It is much more debatable for the assessment of dimensions of the personality or of learning skills. Just take the case of procrastination, (in many culture) people may not admit it publicly, if even they understand the word.

Let say, that alternatively a short document should advice the potential user of the kind of access to technology and of the basic skills they need in order to engage. Going ahead is than a question of responsibility on their side. If they think that they have a not a sufficient access to technology or not enough skills, then open to them the possibility to express it and ask for support. For the rest, the technology must be able to figure out what are the difficulty of the learner. To take an example, procrastination can be identified from the log and a support could be kindly and politely offered. By the way, I am late in achieving the tasks in ocTEL although I don't look at myself as a procrastinator... it just happens that this #ocTEL MOOC cannot be at the highest level of priority of my to-do list; but the technology should recognize that I keep going and maintain effort to keep in the main stream.

Although I know something on TEL and I have used several educational software, I have no experience of online learning. #ocTEL is my first experience, so I can take it and myself as a case to explore expectations and concerns. The main point is that I expected a course and I feel more engaged in a kind of speedy brainstorming on learning and technology. The technology works well and is friendly to the skills of a normal digital immigrant (not a native). The quantity of events and contribution is hugged, it is not obvious to connect and take benefit from participating in this emergent community of practice. But, I don't surrender, so see you in the next Blog post which will be on Activity 2.2 and about the webinar (which I attended on week 2).
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