#oldsmooc MOOC or COOP?

Earlier today I made this comment on the blog post of an OLDS MOOC participant.

“The serendipitous nature of connected learning has quickly led me to a like minded learner. Many thanks for considering my personal detour part of your learning experience in this MOOC. Our online identity should reflect our personality, this doesn’t mean compromising our privacy. I wonder, is that an ingredient in the learning design process?”

My comment arises out of Helen Crump’s post that you can read here.


Image by Penny Bentley, New South Wales, Australia

Helen and I shared a brief exchange on Twitter, about camping, during the OLDS MOOC Google Hangout. Sharing a tiny snippet of our authentic selves gave me a sense of connectedness with someone on the MOOC journey.

This week I wasn’t the only one overcoming obstacles to finding a way around Cloudworks, the online platform used to host our artefacts, reflections and conversations during this MOOC. It was fine in the end, I’m learning and contributing to Education Research, I’m not going to relinquish this unique opportunity.

So, what were this weeks defined learning outcomes? I need to give them some thought before applying for my first “badge”.

  • explore a variety of definitions of learning design
  • initiate my own learning/curriculum design project
  • define learning design, as a field of research and practice
  • identify some of the grand challenges of using a learning design approach to the design of learning in the 21st Century
  • identify specific topics of interest for further exploration

I’m a Secondary Maths and Science Teacher. My professional training didn’t include design theory, it’s just understood and expected that you will go out there and make the learning better.

At this early stage my understanding of the definition of Learning Design is limited. Others are miles ahead, it’s their area of expertise.

What I have achieved is finding several like minded participants to work on a project with. Converting classroom teaching into online webinars is our plan. Topics for further exploration are sure to arise as time progresses.

I’ll end it here by saying this MOOC seems like a COOP, a Community Open Online Project.

OLDS MOOC on Twitter

One way of viewing a Social Media conversation is to select snippets from places like Twitter and Facebook then use a web tool, such as Storify, to arrange them in a story.

Here’s part of the unfolding narrative of #oldsmooc-wk 1 that I was able to post directly from Storify. The html code is also available to use on other websites.

Twitter is one of the best web tools for learning online as users have free access to a constant stream of searchable information, from around the globe, in real time.

  1. My new #oldsmooc mantra: I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
  2. I just stumbled on #oldsmooc OLDS MOOC 2013 – looks quite interesting. I’ve missed 9 days of it but am wondering if I should dive in anyway.
  3. Finally up and “running” in the Open University’s #MOOC adding to the #oldsmooc_wk1 activities: cloudworks.ac.uk/cloudscape… Exhilarating 🙂 #yam
  4. A Couple of Proof of Concept Demos With the Cloudworks API bit.ly/WJyly8 [#oldsmooc @sheilmcn @nfreear @yishaym @mhawksey ]
  5. Just starting Week 1 of #oldsmooc. Any team/study group available?. I’m in Melbourne AU & interested in ethical training online (or other).
  6. Feel good to complete the week #oldsmooc week. Applied for a badge, let us see how it works.
  7. #oldsmooc reflections The Virtual Leader ow.ly/gRDbp ~ or, the student applies for her first badge
  8. Is there a synopsis of the #oldsmooc #oldsmooc_conv? The video is over 1 hour and I am not sure I am going to find time to watch it all.
  9. Interesting #oldsmooc_w1 #oldsmooc_conv alternative ‘cloud’ where people r posting about teams & circles
    wallwisher.com/wall/kn2n9f60l5 Tks @sialker
  10. #oldsmooc_w1 #oldsmooc_conv alternative ‘cloud’ where people are posting messages about teams and circles
  11. Still digesting ideas from chat here on #oldsmooc_conv #oldsmooc #oldsmoocw_1 Thanks everyone for mental proddings
  12. any volunteers to storify #oldsmooc_conv and share via the open list?
  13. never hit the Reload button when the live YouTube session you’re watching falters #learnedtoday #oldsmooc_conv
  14. @OLDSMOOC I wouldn’t say the platform is confusing, just complex. Openness is complex
  15. @OLDSMOOC from way over here in Aus, what time are we meeting in Google Hangout…Aus time pls? #oldsmooc #oldsmooc_wk1
  16. Dreambazaar cloud draft, Measuring Outcomes/Learning Gains in Open Access Language Learning Environments cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view… #oldsmooc_wk1
  17. @crumphelen @virtualleader Me too! Hope I’ll get hang of Cloudworks eventually..speaking of, I better pay anothr visit re team #oldsmooc_wk1
  18. #oldsmooc_wk1 dream bazaar development topic Cloud is Stephen Bright:: dream bazaar – Online course design basics
  19. Anyone working on the @OLDSMOOC want to team up to work on use of twitter/social media in teaching? (week1) #OLDSMOOC
  20. interested in collaborative writing? want to join a study circle? #oldsmooc #oldsmooc_wk1 #oldsmooc-wk1
  21. #oldsmooc_wk1 Applying for badges to have evidence of completion for employer
  22. @suewatling @OLDSMOOC use the hashtag #oldsmooc then we will find your mooc related tweets easier so we can retweet them.

#etmooc : Why Networks Matter


Dr Alec Couros is presenting at The PLE Conference 2012 in Melbourne this week. Here’s how I know..his call out for responses floated past in my twitter stream last week.

@courosa, as a teacher, learner and social networker I’m drawn to respond to your question “Why do (social) networks matter in teaching and learning?

Here’s a few thoughts…social networks matter because:

  • over time, authentic relationships develop

  • help is only seconds away

  • experts from around the globe are available to chat in real time #mathchat #scichat #edchat

  • I’m there to read about significant moments in science #cern #higgsboson

  • as a virtual attendee conferences are no longer out of reach #conasta #pleconf #iste12 #slide2learn

  • mobile technology enables me to spread the word to my network when I attend a conference
  • I’m able to connect with educators across all sectors by keeping FacingIT up and running and being a member of other communities of practice. Being able to mentor pre-service teachers who visit these online communities is a privilege.

  • the world is full of people willing to join in the conversation

Networks aren’t about the tools and platforms you use, they will change as time passes and our communities grow. They are about connecting with others, developing relationships, supporting and mentoring, sharing, laughing, caring, encouraging and participating. Educators don’t need to feel isolated in their busy workplaces where transient conversations occur on the way to class and professional development is difficult and expensive to organise. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel and feel reluctant to ask for help. Our voices can be heard beyond the noisy and sometimes threatening atmosphere of the staff room. Social networks do matter.


  • I’m touched that Dr Couros included my paragraph above in his Melbourne Keynote.
  • networks are a place for feedback and affirmation too, part of the social-glue that connects us

Dr Alex Couros has kindly shared the responses for his unkenote and his resources for Becoming a Networked Learner.

Finally, I’d love to share with you this proud moment when @courosa shared my blog post at the PLE conference.


#tofol Week 2: setting goals and learning outcomes

Teaching an online course at the same time as participating in #tofol has given me an opportunity to immediately apply what I’m learning

I’m helping to deliver Reflect and Connect, an online course already mentioned in a previous post.

One of the GOALS of this course is for participants to use social media for developing their Personal Learning Network.

The OBJECTIVES of today’s class was for participants to observe how twitter is used and to then sign up and have a go themselves. These objective contribute towards the formative assessment of their progress through the course.

I love teaching online, it allows me to think creatively about activities to use in such a new and challenging environment. Today I took the Reflect and Connect participants on a tour of Twitter using the application share function in Blackboard Collaborate.

Many responses from around the globe came in when I tweeted to my Personal Learning Network that I was teaching Twitter.

Rather than talking through powerpoint slides in Blackboard Collaborate, application sharing allowed participants to be actively engaged in the activity. One student began to tweet live, during our tour of Twitter.


Attending and participating in many of the Australia e-Series webinars has connected me to a vibrant network of people from all sectors of education. Last week I had the pleasure of organising and presenting a webinar for Community Connect, my topic was “Twitter Hashtags for Community Driven Networking”.

Twitter is a complex social media tool, difficult to get your head around and challenging to explain to others. People are often skeptical of it’s use and unwilling to learn about it’s potential in education.  For these reasons I was edgy, presenting a webinar to educators about Twitter could result in confusion and disappointment.

I tossed around a few thoughts:

  • do they already have an account?
  • how can I engage everyone rather than boring them all with twitter facts?
  • how can I immerse them in a hands on experience from within a virtual classroom?
  • the whole point of this webinar is to get everyone networking…can we do this live?
  • what content do I need…there is WAY too much out there and I don’t know it all.
  • what can I put in place for participants to network into the future?

Here’s what happened:

  • twitter handles of participants were collected via the Australia e-Series Facebook group prior to the webinar.
  • once the webinar started people began to chat about their understanding of hashtags.
  • via application share I demonstrated how to search for Twitter hashtags and use them to follow a topic of interest, participate in a live “chat”, use a backchannel to attend a conference, keep informed about news and social uprisings…and so on.

  • participants were asked to send a Tweet ending in #ozseries
  • via application share we all watched as our tweets appeared on Twitter …yes, we had a live, hands on experience.

Looking back:

  • everyone who attended had their own account and some knowledge of how Twitter works.
  • by using application share and learning by doing, there was no need for heaps of boring text. I find it easier to show people how to use Twitter rather than using verbose explanations.
  • I presented information I had experience with and didn’t try to teach it all…it was enough to fill the hour. Twitter needs to be done in bits, not all at once.
  • Participants can learn and share with each other, into the future, under the hashtag #ozseries.
  • All of the participants Twitter handles have been placed into a Twitter list as another way to keep track of what people are chatting about. I’m hoping that someone will cover lists in another webinar.

Thank you:

  • to Junita Lyon for inviting me to present for Community Connect
  • to David Simpson for co-moderating the webinar and contributing to the conversation.
  • to the participants for being such a great audience.

As an educator who is keen to deliver more professional development, I think it’s important that participants are able to leave with immediately doable, practical skills. New to online learning, this is a personal challenge for me.

What works for you, how do you learn best online? Your feedback is welcome.

Reflecting on Twitter

This week, in Reflect and Connect, we’ve been taking a look at the interactive web and it’s implications for our teaching practice and professional development.

Twitter has been the subject of evaluation by my group this week. It’s a tool that takes time understand and appreciate the value of, particularly when used in the context of education. It’s now my top web tool for professional development.

Here’s what you can do on twitter:

  • Have great conversations with educators from around the world.
  • Develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN).
  • Chat to educators from all sectors.
  • Conduct a poll or quiz for research.
  • Find reviews of the latest web tools.
  • Find and share links
  • Support and advise each other.
  • Discuss employment.
  • Exchange ideas and share tips.
  • Promote your blog.
  • Follow a hash tag for thought provoking discussions e.g #edchat
  • Inform yourself about disasters such as the earthquake in Japan. e.g #japan

These are the uses that I’ve discovered so far, but there are many others.

I’m about to “tweet” this blog post to ask for some more bright ideas about how to use twitter for teaching and learning.

Please leave your tips, even if it’s only a dot point to add to my list.

Twitter Maths

It’s taken me 6 months to realise that twitter is a brilliant resource for educators. I’ve been justifying my use of twitter to my friends and family…..often I hear myself say “I’m developing my PLN” or “I’m onto some good teaching tips.”

Well, now there is more. I have found a pedagogically sound example of how to use twitter in a maths class. It’s called Twitter Venn, a program designed by Jeff Clark.

In maths the relationships between things can be represented visually, using Venn Diagrams. When one circle overlaps with another, students can see that there is something in common between the circles, and what they stand for.


This simple tool can be used in maths classes to introduce the topic of Venn Diagrams.

The search terms chocolate, milk and hot have been entered into the search window at the top of the page. That’s it…maths teachers can be confident that this tool is simple to use and bound to initiate some fascinating conversations on what people are talking about, around the world, at that point in time.

These Venn Diagrams are a visual way of representing the relationships between key words being used on Twitter.

Teachers can start a conversation about what the overlapping circles mean. From this image students can see that there is a lot of chatter about hot chocolate and chocolate milk, but not much about hot milk. They can then interpret why.

Another visual representation found in this tool is the word cloud. On the web page, click on any section of the circles and a word cloud will appear. The words are related to the search terms and their size reflects the frequency of use.

After discussing the hot chocolate milk scenario, students can then go and have heaps of fun by entering their own search terms.

What about cricket, football and Australia or facebook, student and study?