My MOOC Life (So Far): Part 3 – Fundamentals of Online Education

I started my most recent MOOC today. This was another offering from Coursera, and focused on an area that fits into my work life very well. The course (Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application) had a slightly rocky start, students were meant to add themselves to groups of 21 via a Google spreadsheet, but this resulted in inadvertent deletion of groups and a crashed server. The discussion boards were later used for students to add themselves to groups. I am in “Start LL” (I think).

I began the week by penning a quick introductory post, and then searched via a couple of keywords to see if there was anyone else in the course from work or Chicago. The introductory discussions are where I think Coursera could make a few improvements – it would be nice to apply a global profile more successfully for each subsequent course, and to create a groups/friends options which would allow for students to find contacts in each  new course.

My next step was to complete two learning styles questionnaires:

  1. VARK Learning Style Questionnaire
  2. Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire (ILS)

According to the VARK Questionnaire, I have a mild Read/Write learning preference:

  • Visual: 9
  • Aural: 5
  • Read/Write: 14
  • Kinesthetic: 8

Which suggests that I follow these strategies to study more effectively.

The results for the Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire (ILS) were as follows:

Learning Style Results

Learning Style Results

This suggests that I have largely moderate preferences for these learning styles:

  • Reflective (7)
  • Intuitive (3)
  • Visual (5)
  • Global (7)

Both these questionnaires were useful and interesting, and I think I will use them in the classes I teach. The course also provided a link to the “Are You Ready For An Online Class” page at Georgia Tech. It might be worthwhile coming up with a similar page more focussed on being in MOOC….

The course designers provided a background survey, which I completed. A couple of questions stood out for me:

Which one of the following component(s) do you think is important in an online course?

  • The navigation of the course website
  • The work load
  • Timely feedback from the instructor
  • Small group discussions
  • Group Projects
  • Other

Somewhat tellingly, assessment of learning was not a stated option.

If a 24 hour, 7 day a week help center staffed by qualified teaching assistants were available for this course, would you use it if you needed help?

I assume that this option would more more fully lead to a business model for Coursera.

Week 1

Week 1

Each Coursera course has exhibited a different personality, and the navigation for this course is very functional (but a tad ugly). The “Week 1” tab provides a table of the various requirements, due dates, and time for completion. This was a nice touch, although the introductory videos indicate that the course is fluid and subject to change.

Moving forward, I will be careful to temper my notes here and prevent the posting of anything that could be considered plagiarism or breaking the academic standards of Coursera.