A MOOC graphic: Visual rhetoric rocks

The World of Massive Open Online Courses
Presented By: Online Colleges

Thanks, Emily, for sharing this link/graphic. Love it. For anyone interested in seeing the original, visit the link above!

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I’m wishing on a wall

Okay. I got this. I’m an andragogical learner, just like my friend Amy said. I knew she was right the minute she said it. I’m an adult learner motivated by things that go way beyond the pedagogical, but I don’t abandon the need to be guided by an expert or peers. I thrive on collaborative learning.

The MOOC is working for me at this point, at least the early investment part of it. I’m picking up what my peers are putting down, and I’m digging it all.

Here is what I’m seeing around me in the MOOC that I’ve decided to invest in as a student: a whole bunch of andragogical learners–adult learners–who are in it to win it. One of the great things about being intensely motivated is that you tend to see others who are doing the same thing, acting the same way, and cluster together with them.

One of the early investors in the MOOC, shared this site with the Facebook group: http://wallwisher.com, asking us to add our thoughts on e-learning and/or digital culture (the topic of our MOOC). Here’s a snapshot of a wall where “wishes” have been posted, a bit hard to read here, but it’s the general idea that I want to share:

Chris Swift made this wall to post our thoughts on e-learning an digital culture. Cool.

Chris Swift made this wall to post our thoughts on e-learning and digital culture. Cool.

This app is called Wallwisher. I’ve played with it twice now. Of course, I have a soundtrack for this app.

I haven’t been able to get that old song by Rose Royce (1978) out of my head: “Wishing on a Star.” But I insert “I’m wishing on a wall” to replace “I’m wishing on a star.” I want to slightly rewrite the lyrics to fit the MOOC experience so far. (The song has been covered by Beyonce, Jay-Z with Gwen Dickey, Seal, and the X Factor for a charity single–all fun.)

If I ignore the general gist of the lyrics, I can get into the message for ed tech, e-learning, and digital culture. Gentle Reader, if you would play along, please, pretend I’m singing to the actual disembodied MOOC (try to take the time to see me with groovy folks on a stage, something old school and fabulous like this). Perhaps the words might be something along these lines:

I’m wishing on a wall
To follow where you call
I’m wishing on a dream
To follow what it means (repeat)

And I wish on all the readings that I see
I wish on all the people who really dream
And I’m wishing on the MOOC course praying it’ll come
And I’m wishing on all the learnin’ we’ve ever done

I never thought I’d see
A time when you would be
So far away from home
So far away from me*

Just think of all the moments that we’ve spent
I just can’t let you go, for me you were meant
And I really want to learn more, so you know
That in education, you reap what you sow

And so on and so forth, etc.

* So really truly deeply apropos for distance education/e-learning/digital cultures, eh?

You’re with me, right? You’ll never see/hear this song the same again, will you? I hope not.

I’m thinking the lost love that is the focus of the song and the quest to learn are both things we chase after emotionally and sing about. And if we don’t sing about education, then we should. Perhaps we shouldn’t sing about learning at the same time as we are voicing our angst about a lost love, though–that just seems like a mixed message. Unless. Unless we sing about loss AND education, i.e., failing grades. I have a whole semester of Fs in 1982 I could sing about with great feeling. Oh yeah.

Give me a minute, I could come up with lyrics for that.

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Post while you can

I have had several friends talk to me about the end of the world, or the apocalypse, seen numerous FB posts or news stories, films, all about the end that is scheduled for 21 December 2012. Bunk, I say. But if I’m wrong, you better get thee to a blog and post while you can.

I’m right, though, and here’s why: it’s the bicentenary of Robert Browning and Charles Dickens this year (mentioned this in a previous post), and nothing untoward could possibly happen to mar this year. I do love the hullabaloo surrounding the whole end-of-days thing. Some folks need to have a hobby–and there are worse things to focus on than this. I suppose.

Stars. They fall on Alabama.

Stars. They fall on Alabama. Stars are supposed to play some key part in the apocalypse. Right. When pigs fly.

I think I’ll just make a play list, gaze at the stars, and plan to do all my holiday shopping at the last minute from Dec. 22 to Dec. 24, like I do every year.

And if some transformative event happens, I will roll with it. I am in favor of transformation. Change is life; as a friend says, “when you’re through changing, you’re through.”

To have fun with my playlist, I think I’ll include all the songs I know that are about change. I think I’ll name the list: “Post-Apocalypse Change Or Die Trying” Playlist (PACODT List). (I should have really saved this post until 22 December, but if I’m wrong and I go down swinging, you, gentle reader, may hunt me down and say: “I told you so; you suck; you were so wrong; welcome to the Dark Side.” Or whatever comes to mind to humiliate me for my hubris.)

Number one on the list has to be Sheryl Crow’s “A Change Would Do You Good.” I think that’s the point of all apocalypse talk–we may be “waiting on the world to change,” but there’s no question that “change is gonna come,” and it will “do you good,” because “the more things change,” the more they stay the same; we all know you’re “going through changes,” so you’ll need to “roll with the changes,” but remember “some things never change,” even if “some people change.” And ch-ch-ch-changes are all about transformations, and before you know it, the apocalypse might “change the world.”

Let’s hope the apocalypse is about fab intellectual transformations that come about through open hearts, open minds, and open educational resources. These are “changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes” that I could really get behind.

The PACODT List: song title, artist.

  • A Change Would Do You Good, Sheryl Crow
  • Change, Churchill
  • Change, Taylor Swift
  • Change, Carrie Underwood
  • Change, Tracy Chapman
  • Change, John Waite
  • Changes, 2Pac & Talent (thank goodness someone tossed in an “s”)
  • Change, Blind Melon
  • Change, Lecrae
  • Changes, David Bowie
  • Change, Tears for Fears
  • Change, T-Pain
  • Change, Sean Kingston
  • Change, Kim Hyun-a
  • Change, Diddy
  • Are thinking what I am? Get a damn thesaurus people. I found one online in 6 seconds with over 75 possible OTHER words for “change.”
  • Change, Staind
  • Change, Black Stone Cherry
  • Change, Lloyd Banks
  • Change, Kimberley Locke
  • Change, Good Charlotte
  • Changes, 3 Doors Down
  • There are many, many more. Oh have mercy anyway. Let’s change this up a bit and go with more than just “change” as the main title of the song.
  • And just in case you notice, the below argue for and against change–depending on whether a job’s been lost, a love lost, or a chance lost. Or in the case of Hank Williams, Jr., he just has an axe to grind about change.
  • Waiting on the World to Change, John Mayer
  • A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke (this is the first and my favorite, but I must say Seal treats this song with grace; not mad for Al Green’s version, but Otis Redding is very fine with this)
  • Going Through Changes, Eminem
  • Change My Mind, One Direction
  • Don’t Change for Me, Gin Blossoms
  • Change the World, Eric Clapton (oh sigh)
  • Change Your Mind, Sister Hazel
  • Cool Change, Little River Band
  • Some People Change, Montgomery Gentry
  • Roll with the Changes, REO Speedwagon
  • What I Cannot Change, LeAnn Rimes
  • We Never Change, Coldplay
  • We Can Change, Belinda Carlisle
  • Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, Jimmy Buffett
  • I’d Love to Change the World, Ten Years After
  • Don’t Change, INXS
  • Never Change, Jay-Z
  • Never Gonna Chang, Drive-By Truckers
  • See the Changes, Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • The More Things Change, Bon Jovi
  • Keep the Change, Hank Williams, Jr.
  • Some Things Never Change, Sara Evans
  • Some People Change, Kenny Chesney
  • Am I Ever Gonna Change, Extreme
  • I Don’t Want to Change the World, Ozzy Osbourne
  • Change It, Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Weekend Sex Change, The Dillinger Escape Plan (I couldn’t leave this one out)
  • This Changes Everything, Dead Sara (a little of this)
  • That Changes Everything, John Michael Montgomery (and a little of that)
  • Money Changes Everything, Cyndi Lauper
  • Love Changes Everything, Michael Ball, et al.
  • Nothing Ever Changes, Stevie Nicks
  • Ain’t No Change, The Be Good Tanyas
  • Baby, Don’t Change Your Mind, Gladys Knight and the Pips
  • Change or Die, Papa Roach
  • Change the World, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  • Things Change, 50 Cent
  • So Many Changes, Dan Fogelberg
  • I Wouldn’t Change You if I Could, Ricky Scaggs (thanks, Ricky–I appreciate that)
  • What Never Changes, Forevermore
  • There’ll Be Some Changes Made from Fosse (Go, Bob Fosse)
  • Changes I’ve Been Going Through, Mary J. Blige
  • Time Changes Everything, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (Johnny Cash rocks this song, too–just in case you’re interested in changing things up just a bit.)

There’s no better place to stop than on this song by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, because time does change everything.

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Don't make 'em like that anymore, because "time changes everything."

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. They don’t make ’em like that anymore, because “time changes everything.”

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What was I thinking? Me and ten years of the internet

Ten years ago, in 2002, I was working as a senior curriculum designer at a nonprofit company based in Washington, DC. The company sold whole school reform, writing and reading curriculum reform, and more. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I’d had a choice to make when I took the job in 2000, education/curriculum design for that company or knowledge manager for a company with offices in San Francisco, NYC, London, and Singapore.

Ouch.

Writing that now, I feel a sting. London and Singapore. Sigh. Did I make the right choice?

Of course, I did. In the intervening years, I never really left education and have been exposed to a whole lot of educational technology, and in that stream, learned so much about writing, editing, design, training, publishing, teaching, and mindfulness. I learned to breathe deep and make peace a path I travel rather than a goal I seek. I also learned when an opportunity was smacking me across the face and when I needed to make something happen or find the calm to let it pass me by. Living with regrets is no way to go through life: “shoulda, coulda, woulda” fundamentally sucks whether it underlies a general philosophy of pessimism (which I eschew) or whether it’s something I mutter under my breath again and again in a heinous fog of self-recrimination and despair (which I try to, also, avoid).

2012. Here I am then, about to undergo an unusual learning experience for me: a MOOC. And it’s all because of my need to learn, but it’s also possible because of the webinet, the interweb, whatever you want to name it–you could call it “the cybersphere of freedom for learning all one could desire” for all I care–just as long as it exists.

Okay, a MOOC is not totally weird for me, as I love to learn and once enrolled in a mythology class at a community college when I was getting my master’s degree because I needed more knowledge about myths than I had (no room or time in my schedule for a grad class on mythology–and it’s likely one wasn’t offered).

I bet it was called Mythology 101. It was a semi-correspondence course (I took this course over twenty years ago, but it’s pertinent for my overall discussion and rambling). Here are some of the numbers:

  • one professor
  • one PBS broadcast of The Power of Myth (Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell)
  • one mid-term (at the school or with a proctor)
  • one final exam (same)
  • one paper (snail mailed to the professor–and mailed back with comments and a grade)
  • 300 students
  • four books
  • additional readings as desired
  • one year
  • one initial meeting

Unlike what I imagine a lot of students felt who took that class, I loved it, and I learned a lot despite seeing the prof only a few times and never really talking with him nor ever hearing him say much (he did distribute extensive study/learning directions and a reading schedule with assignments–truly, the class was something like a hybrid correspondence course). I enjoyed the freedom of having my own schedule and the direction of an expert while I learned, even though it was one-direction only.

Still the best, after all these years.

Still the best, after all these years.

I read what was assigned and much more. But then I was truly motivated. I purposely connected with a couple of students who I talked to pretty regularly (by phone–this was 1991 after all–I only had a land line phone and a computer that was something like a glorified typewriter). I got an A. Of course, I was going to get an A. I decided I would do anything and everything to learn, though; the A would only be a symbol of my learning. I still can’t believe I did that. I was taking a grad class or two, working full-time, and had a long-distance relationship in full swing (oh, and my mother was dying from four different kinds of cancer–that was part of everything, every minute, every day–all the time). What was I thinking?

I was thinking: “There is no way I can have had any directed learning any other way than this one–so it’s this or nothing.” I had a year to complete all the work, take the tests, and get credit. PBS would air The Power of Myth twice in that time so I could catch it as I needed to, plus the local access cable would air it again for the class. I did it in a semester, but still, it was so low pressure. I could handle it and I did.

I would have done it without the credit, frankly; it didn’t matter to my degree. What mattered was the knowledge.

Regarding the MOOC I’m going to take this January, it’s about the knowledge. I couldn’t get this directed learning about e-learning and digital cultures any other way than this one. I have a busy life. (More complicated now if you can believe it–OMG–I’m saying: when does it get smooth? When does life get smooth!? Why doesn’t anything ever go smooth?) Who doesn’t have a complex and busy life? I can’t find time to take a full semester course right now, so I had to find other options (which exist! yea!), but more than that, I love the possibility of connections I’ll make (I’m already making). I loved talking to the two students in the myth class through that term, but think if I’d been able to meet up, virtually, with thirty out of the 300–what more might I have learned or discovered because of the learning we did with one another.

In the last ten years, the course I took in the early 1990s (if it still exists) would have mutated in wonderful ways, I expect, to become something like a MOOC, perhaps not “massive” and perhaps not “open,” but it was on a similar road–helping students learn who couldn’t otherwise, encouraging connections between students who could make those connections (locally, over the phone, I might have even exchanged letters with one of the students!). The Web 2.0, 3.0, 17.0, or whatever version we’re dealing with now, has changed everything. We are different learners than we were, and it’s a great movement forward.

But what the Web hasn’t changed is the need for humans to learn, to connect, to intellectually evolve. It’s allowed more of that to happen. It’s allowing human flourishing in ways we could have never imagined before. I’m so hip to that, because if we can’t get to the learning space, the learning space can now get to us. I’m in love. Truly, madly, deeply.

The MOOC has already allowed me (before it starts) to think about what I’m thinking, what I’m doing now, what I want to learn, and how I want to learn it. The internet has allowed me to be involved in learning in ways I couldn’t have dreamed of before this Information Age revolution, unless I’d been allowed to actually live in the Library of Congress.

Thank you, world of coding geeks and prolific web users, for growing the internet in the last ten years. I hope the next ten are as glorious for education. May we all keep learning; may our learning bring us all closer together.

All that is what I’m thinking, ten years after, twenty years after, right now.

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MOOC protocol: Holy s#*%! I don’t know anything

It just dawned on me that I really don’t know anything about social media protocol. Should I use everyone’s first names when I mention what they said or did online that makes me think or intrigues me? Have I done my blog roll the right way, or should I use first names for that? Holy moly.

I'm so totally holy molying.

I’m so totally holy molying.

I haven’t done blogging in “public” before, so I really don’t know. I’ve used it here to think, to exercise my brain, and for teaching on a lot of sites, but because of FERPA, I have never used students’ names on blog rolls before.

BUT my participation in a MOOC is a different story–it’s open. And I would guess most of my co-MOOCers are okay with being in the public eye as they have already begun participating under their shared (or real?) names. Never even thought about this issue before until I saw a fellow-blogger’s page of links (which is really cool).

Huh. I’m learning with each click I make. What a thing. Going over to Facebook next to ask if anyone knows of guidelines for this sort of thing.

LOVE this new thing to think about.

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Learning like a boss

You’d think after the end of the  semester, I’d let my brain rest a bit. But no. I’m all about the MOOC world. I need to learn, especially between semesters, and this is going to do it for me. A recent post on Facebook by a MOOCer mentioned that, though the class doesn’t begin for over a month, many of us are already pre-organizing into groups which will support our work in the course, when it actually begins. She suggested that if this were all she did, she’d have gotten a good deal of learning already. Right on, sistah.

So far I’ve watched videos, read blogs, followed tweets by my fellow MOOCers, and created a MOOC blog roll on this blog with some of my fellow MOOCers blogs. BUT what’s most interesting to me is all the amazing things my MOOCers are introducing me to:

And there’s so much more. Way more. A ton more.

But more than the tools and links to think-o-ramas–which are righteous, dude–it’s the people who rock. I’m already recognizing names–the active folks who are leading the pre-organization charge. I like them. I like the way they are sharing and talking and writing. There are experienced tweeters, bloggers, teachers, humans, trainers, learners, even experienced MOOCers some of them–so many with so much talent and a clear and unrelenting desire to learn.

If you're mind isn't blown by the MOOC community, then you're not doing it right.

If your mind isn’t blown by the MOOC community, then you’re not doing it right.

Then there is the fact that they all really care about including others in the pre-org process. They are helpful and encouraging to those who are new to all of everything, from the only slightly-knowledgeable, to the online–but not MOOC-savvy–veterans. One posted this image (right) to help us feel not-too-awful about the overwhelmy-ness of being in this potentially HUGE community.

They make me want to learn like a boss. But because of them, I might already be learning like a boss. Before I decided to name this post “Learning like a boss” I checked out Know Your Meme’s history of this phrase and various memes generated with these words. Hilarious. I had no clue where it had come from, though I’d heard it plenty from friends on Facebook: studying “like a boss”; grading papers “like a boss”; passing this class “like a boss”; teaching “like a boss”–shoot, I might have used it a time or two without knowing its origins. NOW I think it’s funnier than before. There’s a .gif of Pinnochio smoking a cigar… with the caption: “Like A Boss” (see static image below).

I love it like a boss.

No matter how questionable the taste of the original SNL skit (and it’s a little dicey), the phrase is really working for me in terms of understanding the MOOC pre-org movement. Those who really want to learn, to connect, to network, to learn–they’re on it. They are participating already–like a boss. I’m so digging this life-long learning thing I see happening. So glad to drop into each day and see folks investing and thinking and communicating. Totally loving it.

Like a boss.

Pinnochio: smoking like a boss.

Pinnochio: smoking like a boss.

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MOOCs everywhere, making me happy

I’m wearing my MOOC glasses now and see MOOCs everywhere I look. I picked up a Smithsonian (December 2012) and as I was reading through, I found “Class Uprising,” an article on Sebastian Thrun and the MOOC he taught with Peter Norvig at Stanford.

I wandered through TED talks on line and found a talked by Peter Norvig on the same topic–and Daphne Koller talking about Coursera (the company hosting the MOOCs I’m enrolled in this spring). I searched youtube for videos on MOOCs (or interviews)–I mention a few on a previous post.

When I got all sorts of eager about learning more, it was easy to gather all kinds of information, but that was proactive stuff. The Smithsonian article was just me subscribing to that magazine and landing on that article. I appreciate that sort of serendipity when it comes to me. This often happens when I embark upon a new quest. I used to quest in libraries where I waited for my parents to pick me up after school. I would decide to read everything I could get from a library by a certain author or on a certain topic. As soon as I decided on my topic–Russia, the occult, dogs, the French Revolution, whatever–I began to stumble onto connections to the topic everywhere: in conversation, magazines, school, television shows, films. Like rose-colored glasses which allow one to see the world as rose-colored, I have worn various lenses that narrow my vision. And it always works that way.

I loved to learn and do research. Always. From as long ago as I can remember–perhaps from five years old? I used to have a picture of me in a library at about five (might have been four); in the picture, I’m wearing a frilly little girl dress; I’m hunched over a few books with loads more piled high around me; my feet don’t touch the ground–it’s clearly a big person’s chair; my face is to the side of the camera, so there’s no sense of my happiness, but I’m pretty sure it was a happy day. I visited libraries every week of my life, nearly, until I worked and could buy books. Now. Holy cow. I’ve filled up on MacBook Pro with books and working on another. (I’ve used the equivalent of a couple of average-sized hard drives with all the books available to download and read these days. Heaven.)

I remember studying like crazy at the various libraries I visited. I never did homework or research for school. It was always for me. In fact, I was sort of lousy at “school.” I had average to low grades, never all As or Bs. Never. I was considered trouble by many teachers because I wrote all the time and read books that were not assigned (I also gazed out the windows a lot, day dreaming, and I talked incessantly disturbing all around me–or so I recall). I really really really hated school. But I liked to write and read. Eventually, the curriculum beat the love of writing out of me, but it never could touch my love of reading. (Thank goodness some instructors and peers took pity on me at the Writing Center at Boise State University, and they learned me how to write some. I said: some, I didn’t say good. It’s taken years to learn me how to write good, and then still I trip and fall, crash and burn, and say stoopid things and make typos, and generally, mess up a lot. BUT I did learn from those amazing folks, and it changed my life, even if I had to poke fun at my country bumpkin leanings at the same time.)

Now. I believe my world is about to change as I engage with/invest in/take trip through a MOOC, a course or way of learning that I think could just about be the prefect medium for me. I choose what I want to study when I want to study it (or when it’s offered–but still, there’s a lot of freedom). Everything I’m learning about MOOCs leads me to believe that it might be right for me as a professional professor. After half a lifetime of hating school, I eventually found I loved it. But it took me a long time to do that: 26 years, which includes 9 years for my bachelor’s degree; 3 years for my master’s; 14 years for my PhD. That’s a whole lot of being formally educated. When I learned, though, that I could learn what I wanted to in college, I didn’t hate education anymore and took forever to get out because I didn’t want to stop learning. I almost always worked while I was in school, but I wouldn’t have dreamed of stopping the learning process. Ever. Even while I was in the midst of my master’s degree, I took extended education classes–like a weekend trip to the So. California desert to gaze at the stars.

If there had been MOOCs when I was younger, I bet I might have stopped hating education sooner and embraced learning for the sake of learning earlier in my life. This sort of thing, available to anyone anywhere anytime, would have floated my boat, love at first sight, hand in glove, and so on.

The simple notion that MOOCs are free, and all about life-long learning, is beautiful to me. Anyone anywhere anytime, as long as they have some online access. Incredible. Everything that’s important to me can be found in that last little bit of prose, this short paragraph.

I’m already mad in love with the Open Movement, and have been for a couple of years, so this is just the next step. I was going steady with Open. Now, I think I’m about to get engaged.

Rock on, Serendipity. Rock on, Open. Rock on, MOOCs, Rock on, me.

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