Ten years ago, a colleague and I launched an online Research Methods module for another Master's in Education, but I conducted mine as a blended course, using an early version of the "flipped classroom" approach as it is now known. Worked well, and was manageable for me, even allowing for a 110-mile round trip to get to the face-to-face sessions Perhaps now we would do it with Skype or similar technology.
And I worked with the UK Open University on developing re-usable interactice "assets" which could be incorporated into online practice-oriented courses in nursing and social care.
Around the same time, I wrote these pieces (here and here) on resource-based learning. I claim a certain degree of prescience in them. And I've got a record as a designer, author and tutor...
But a few years later, I did an online course on online tutoring, as a student, and blogged it*.
I hated it.
I admired how it had been devised, and particularly the skill and patience of the tutors, dealing with obnoxious participants such as myself. No, to be fair, I was the only obnoxious participant. (The others were, I think, pre-disposed to enjoy/like/value/endorse it, because they [or--more likely--their institutions] had paid to participate. I got it free, as a part of my employment package; it seemed curmudgeonly to turn it down, but I did not approach it with high expectations.)
At the most basic level, all I can remember about it is resenting it. There was apparently some substantive content -- but most of it was about the management of online courses which frankly doesn't have much academic hinterland, and I won't mention the set text, because it was useless. So I'm a sceptic, even a cynic about online learning. Now...
Jonathan Rees (an historian) has long been a concerned observer of online courses on his More or Less Bunk blog. But with the advent of a free CoursEra Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on World History since 1300 (AD/CE it appears, although it doesn't specify) he is signing up and planning to share his experience through the blog.
So--- Let's join in! OK, the projected time commitment may be a little onerous (but not obligatory), but there are no prerequisites and it is free.
Sign up here.
I shall particularly be interested in:
- how much difference it makes that the course will be much more information-heavy than stuff I have done previously, and therefore probably more suited to online delivery.
- the experience of participation and whether and how any sense of community and mutual support develops.
*       [X]