Why #EDCMOOC will be a success, why I am likely to complete and why (if you are reading this) you probably will as well

How do we know when something using Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is actually going to work?  With experience I would say most of us develop a “Gut instinct” about this but I thought I would try to do something a bit more structured.

So I am signed up to the #edcmooc and it starts this monday.  However I have already been very busy on google+ with all my new “fr-aingers” (a word coined by Ary Aranguiz over on “All the worlds a MOOC…  ).  Lots of good links, ideas, conversions, videos etc and the course hasn’t even started yet.

As these things tend to do in eLearning/TEL settings, there has been a fair bit of discussion around the learning processes involved in the MOOC (in a way for some of us this meta course “Whats the use of a MOOC” is a large bit of why we signed up).

2 clear Anti-mooc themes have emerged

  • The anti-hype: there are a fair few stories on the web now about how MOOCs are the end of civilization/will make us all unemployed/only have 5% of students complete etc
  • The too noisy/too busy/too little time:  Because there are a lot of people all posting stuff others are getting scared they wont keep up.  There have been dozens of posts by people worried they might not keep up.

So can a MOOC succeed?  More importantly will this one and also how many of us brave new moocers will still be here at the end of the 5 week course?

Well, fortunately, about 5 months back I was looking building something that would work as a quick checklist to see if TEL projects were likely to work.

I have always been a fan of Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs in relation to learners (it’s not perfect and it’s slightly overused in Teacher training – but that’s probably because it does so quickly give you a model for what your students’ needs might be)


So I spent some time and came up with Gliddon’s Heirachy of TEL.  I hope that this can be used a a rapid checklist for projects/training plans/new systems in TEL.


So looking at #EDCMOOC and starting at the bottom of the pyramid

Functional Technology – yes clearly; Google, Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare all mature robust systems.

Reliability/Usability – again yes, the technology is supremely unlikely to fail

Training/Culture – this is where it gets interesting, for this MOOC it’s a yes.  For most of the students, using technology is an accepted practice and, for those who haven’t, the community has been happy to support and provide links to training/good practice etc.  Would this be true of all MOOCS – no.  A MOOC on subject where a large number of the students were unfamiliar with technology may run into problems.

Recognition – this level is where I think the MOOCs having online communities really helps.  When I got +1’s, comments and re-posts on items I posted to the community I was surprised by how much validation I felt.  I suspect that as the course progresses a number of the MOOCers will find that they don’t want to drop out because of the recognition they are getting from their peers on the course.

Professionalism – This is the highest level of engagement and will not apply to everyone who is taking the MOOC, but for a lot of us experimenting with new online things is our job.  At my University those of us taking the MOOC have a brief weekly meeting in the diary and taking it is seen as part of our professional development (albeit mainly done in our own time).  The certificate will be nice but I think more valuable will be the recognition of our peers, I certainly think it’s going to expand my professional network a bit.

So it looks like it’s going to be a fun 5 weeks



8 thoughts on “Why #EDCMOOC will be a success, why I am likely to complete and why (if you are reading this) you probably will as well

  1. Maddie

    Great post!

    I love your TEL hierarchy and how it perfectly draws out the parallels between Maslow’s need hierarchy theory. I think we are upto the 4th level where we have validations from other participants about our ideas and blogposts. Even when we get +1 on google+

  2. chrisswift (@chrisswift)

    Hi Joseph, very interesting to see your hierarchy. I tend to agree with your positive outlook, with a slight reservation on “Reliability/Usability” that those who have limited internet access might not benefit as much as those that do. However, the “Recognition” side has been extremely positive so far. This useful video has been doing the rounds, and I think #edcmooc has met 4 of the 5 steps very well. Just need to start focusing now! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8avYQ5ZqM0

  3. Ryan Tracey

    Gliddon’s Hierarchy of TEL – love it!

    I wouldn’t be too hung up on completing it, though. If you do – great. If you don’t who cares?!

    I discuss this POV in more detail at “The moot point of MOOCs” – http://wp.me/pf1R0-2zj

  4. Philip Holden

    I love the pyramid, too! as one of those worry bunnies, I’m also now pretty sure I will complete!

  5. Ron Amundson

    Training/culture is a tricky one indeed for more detailed courses. I ran into this first hand with my image processing MOOC. A majority of actively participating students including myself are fairly well versed with programming and/or related tech tools. However, quite a number have not used the libraries / software packages etc that are needed to really run with the class.

    A large part of the problem is it takes upwards of a few hundred hours of hard core pounding through the books, trying to code things, debugging, and in general get a handle on the tools/libraries just to feel comfortable to accomplish the first weeks assignment. Try as one might, there is no way to capture 500 hours worth of proficiency in a day or two, much less during an 8 week course short of little sleep and sequential marathon sessions.

    By the same token… there still is much value in the class, even if one has to skip out on 20% of the homework due to limitations in ones incoming knowledge base.

  6. Pingback: Feel the fear, and do it anyway #edcmooc | Teaching 'E-learning and Digital Cultures'

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s