The Data, Analytics and Learning MOOC (DALMOOC) that I’m taking via edX is structured a little differently to the MOOCs that I’ve completed previously. Rather than relying solely on the MOOC platform for providing content and submitting assessment tasks, DALMOOC also provides an option for using other tools and social media to complete the course. It did take me a while to get my head around the distributed nature of the course, but I think I’ve got a handle on it now.
I’m mostly following the “traditional” pathway through the course, with the occasional detour down the “social” pathway. This means that edX is the main platform that I’m using to access the course content – videos, exercises, and assessment tasks. However, some of my fellow students are using a platform called ProSolo to do this. ProSolo is a social learning tool which lets you select a competency that you would like to complete, and provides you with a list of tasks that you need to complete in order to meet that competency. You can upload completed tasks and link to blog posts you write which provide evidence that you’ve met the requirements of each competency. It’s also possible to receive and provide feedback from your peers on your work, which is the “social” aspect of learning. I dip into ProSolo now and then, but I’m not a heavy user of it.
Peer feedback is also possible via the discussion forums on edX; these also allow further discussion with fellow students and course instructors. There’s also a Facebook page and Twitter hashtag (#dalmooc) to facilitate discussion, too. A tool which I used for the first time as part of DALMOOC was Google Hangouts. There are weekly Hangouts scheduled with the course instructors, where they share their thoughts about the content for the week, as well as provide feedback on the previous week. Luckily, some of them are held at a time which is convenient for those of us in Australia – most webinar-type activities from the US are usually at a very early hour in the morning for us. All the Hangouts are recorded, so we can still access the ones that are on too early.
I appreciate the effort that the DALMOOC instructors have put into providing different options for learning to suit the varied preferred learning styles of the participants. It’s certainly an interesting course to be part of.