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TEL-MOOC: introduction to the JTELSS12 workshop

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At this year’s JTEL Summer School in Estoril (Portugal), I will chair a workshop on the TEL-MOOC (Monday from 14:00 – 15:30), a massive open online course focusing on TEL research. The TEL-MOOC will be organized by the European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning starting in the fall of 2012 and will be open for participation by anyone interested in TEL. Participation in the TEL-MOOC will be free.

If you never heard of MOOCs as a new way of (networked) learning, I encourage you to have a look at Dave Cormier’s videos “What is a MOOC?” and “Success in a MOOC“. You also might want to check the Wikipedia article and an Howard Rheingold interview with George Siemens on the topic.

The TEL-MOOC is intended as an open course that introduces and discusses different areas of TEL research and will present ongoing work, research challenges and future directions for research. Renowned international researchers will give presentation on their work in a TEL-related research field and outline strengths, weaknesses, research opportunities and threats (yes, that’s a SWOT analysis of the respective TEL field). Following the basic four principles of MOOCs, the participants of the TEL-MOOC will consume, reflect and share their thoughts on the weekly meeting. This data will be aggregated by the MOOC facilitators; they will select some of the blog posts, tweets, video replies and whatnot and share it with all TEL-MOOC participants (typically as a daily newsletter and on the MOOC’s website). The participants then re-purpose the aggregated and remixed content to fit their particular learning needs and goals and they will feed forward their comments and thoughts again.

There are no pre-defined learning goals or paths on a content perspective. Rather, participants will be supported in becoming independent learners that follow the dots and connect to useful sources of information. The participants will have to  continuously re-evaluate their learning path and will themselves assess their individual learning progress. A MOOC helps developing critical thinking and social skills and might help to improve your digital literacy.

Within the JTELSS12 workshop we will collaboratively work on identifying

  • TEL research fields that should be covered in the TEL-MOOC,
  • international experts that could serve as speakers,
  • engagement and motivational aspects in MOOCs (if needed at all),
  • research opportunities investigating the TEL-MOOC itself (technology to use, automatic analysis of shared content, visualizations of connections, awareness support etc.),
  • self-assessment strategies of learning progress and
  • the desire for supporting formal courses that would help you to get official credits.

As a preparation for the workshop, I ask you to fill in this very short questionnaire on MOOCs in general. It will serve as input for Monday’s workshop. I hope many of you will use the opportunity to collaboratively determine what the TEL-MOOC will look like in the fall of 2012.

PS: What follows is some shameless advertising. EA-TEL is continuously looking for new individual and institutional members. A student membership only costs you 25 Euro/year and the money is used to finance Summer and Winter Schools and gives you access to some more member services. So you might want to become a member here.

Author: Wolfgang Reinhardt

I'm a continuous learner in the fields of Technology Enhanced Learning, Science 2.0, Social Networking and e-Business. I'm a Social Media addict, CEO of a consulting and development company and father of two boys. I received a PhD from OUNL for my thesis "Awareness Support for Knowledge Workers in Research Networks". I'm currently working as Senior IT Project Manager in the field of e-business and e-procurement. I'm asking myself many questions why things are like they are and seek for answers.

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