Monday, March 26, 2012

Participating in an Open Course - interesting and boring at the same time

For the past 2+ months I consider myself a participant in the course Introduction to Openness in Education. Having been interested in topic in this area for quite some time, and running into all kinds of related topics at the recent AECT conference, I thought the course was an excellent opportunity to dive deeper in the matter.

And I must say, there have been some eye opening experiences so far. From the historic perspective, to the many interesting videos such as the coming war of general computing, to rather impenetrable topics like open science and open data.

On the other hand the course proves some of the disadvantages of distance learning; it is rather lonely and I feel very little connection with the community of learners.

Since readings about Open Teaching I realise that my participation is an additional bonus to the students in the on campus course at BYU; that is, the material is available anyway, so why not open it up to the world, and their contributions can add some extra dimensions to the course.

I agree and I highly appreciate the opportunity. What is lacking however is interaction. It took me a while to realise that there was actually a group of people meeting for a weekly class. So I bess there is discussion about issues for the regular students.

The how to guide of the course states:
"You engage socially by reading, pondering, and responding to others’ posts and tweets. [..] These interactions should be organic and driven by your own desire and interest." 
Personally I have received one response to a blog post, and I think the person did not continue with the course themselves. I try to end my posts with a blunt statement, or a question, and it has not sparked any discussion yet. It could be my questions that are boring of course ...

From the start I have tried to keep up with the blogs posted by others and added my to sense from time to time. In other's blogs I sometimes see a comment from the teacher. and not much more.

Does this say something about our desires and interest? Or 'too busy'? Or other priorities?

Self-study ... Motivation ... I guess the badges keep me going ;-)


  1. Hi Jeroen,

    I totally mirror your feelings. Unless there is a badge for interacting, it seems that most people are plowing their way through on their own. It's kinda sad, but at the same time, understandable.

    In my case, I registered for an independent study course at my university and will get a grade out of this, so I have to keep chuggin' along.


    1. I guess the thought is that interaction will have to organically happen. When designing online learning I am generally not a big fan of forcing in a discussion just to have a discussion. I do think there's a lot of opportunity to interact though. When you read each other's blogs there's always a question that pops to mind, or at least a motivating comment. I would expect that a little more.

      Results of my survey will appear later today!