Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What on earth is a MOOC ? Great Teachers Love to Learn

This week we are delving in deeper to understand more about a MOOC.  A MOOC is a Massive Online Open Course.  A MOOC is a "new" way of learning online.  A person can become a participant in a MOOC from anywhere in the world, on any type of computing device that has access to the internet.  Think of a MOOC as a course of study that has many resources pulled together in one place that you can read, view, and share/interact with others.  Here is a 4.26 minute video which gives an overview of a MOOC...

What is a MOOC?

How do MOOCs apply to teachers?  For the answer to that question please refer to the abstract and introduction in this publication. What Massive Open Online Courses Have to Offer K-12 Teachers and Students

As I reflect on how MOOCs come into play in the course I am taking at UNH I am thinking that participating in a MOOC is like walking into a library filled with thousands of resources about the particular content that I am studying.  It is better than the library that we all know because there is access to materials, peoples' feedback, opportunities to create and co-create, and connections with people, organizations, and teaching tools from all around the world...any time 24/7.

I see that MOOCs can extend learning and provide connections that have never been possible before.  As a person involved in professional development I envision a MOOC is a fantastic way to support teachers as they desire to improve their professional practice.  There are so very many opportunities right at a person's finger tips. The added convenience of professional development opportunities which can be utilized at one's own pace is also attractive.  The interactive nature of a MOOC allows for collegiality and collaboration, two aspects of professional development which are critical.

As I learn more about MOOCs in my studies I will share my reflections and perhaps someday we will all be a part of an "Over Fifty Teachers" MOOC.


  1. Joni,
    I Like how you mentioned that MOOC's provide interaction, extend learning and provide connections that have not been possible before. I say that because I was perusing the people in the DLMOOC and was looking for STEM people to possible get an idea of how their STEM school works as that is the direction my school seems to be going in.

  2. Joan, I like your metaphor of a MOOC being like a library, but better. It would be as if you walked into a library and the librarian knew everything you were looking for and left it all out on the circulation desk for you. Not only that, but then the librarian would encourage you to discuss your learning with your peers, not shush you!

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  4. Thank you Beth and Joe for the feedback, we can take this library analogy to all kinds of places. I am trying to reach the not-so-tech savvy audience with ideas to which they can connect.

  5. JOan, you do a great job of reaching the lay people. Not everyone is versed in technology and education. Again, the Library analogy was perfect and Joe's comments really shed light on having resources at our fingertips, with a keyword and a click, we have a wealth of resources. The trick, as we know is sifting through all fo the information to find was is valid and reliable.

  6. I also love the library metaphor. I have been caught a couple of times this week trying to explain what a MOOC is and usually I was met with blank stares. This will be helpful the next time I am asked.