In recent years, I’ve attended a fair number of Moodle conferences or Moots, but last week’ s trip to Portugal with Moodle Sites manager Helen Foster was more of a MOOC event than a Moot event. It was a conference dedicated to MOOCS in Europe, how to collaborate on them, the opportunities and issues (threats) posed by them and of course, platforms used for running them. Helen and I had been invited, courtesy of Dublin City University’s Dr Eamon Costello to present our experiences of running a MOOC using Moodle (which we did, last year, with our Teaching with Moodle MOOC) and which we are running again in January – sign up here! It was an academic conference, Mapping the European MOOC territory and it gave Helen and me a fantastic opportunity to broaden our horizons of and understanding of MOOCs, alongside hearing about others’ experiences with Moodle as a MOOC platform.
But not just that! We got to explore Porto – and it’s lovely! Arriving mid-afternoon the day before the conference, we took a walk around the city, Portugal’s second largest after Lisbon and were immediately drawn into Port tasting just across the road from our hotel, the atmospheric Grande Hotel de Paris . During the one and a half days we spent in Porto, we managed three sessions of Port testing – white, ruby and tawny…
We almost missed one of the most amazing sights in Porto as we walked around – a small bookshop which attracted us in with its ornate staircase and turned out to be so Harry Potteresque we googled it – and discovered it did indeed inspire JK Rowling, who used to live in Portugal. Taking photos was restricted to certain times but do, please, look at all the photographs on Trip advisor to get a feel for the experience.
We also got to taste a typical Porto delicacy – Francesinha - interesting … and, on a separate occasion, we ate in the Stock Exchange – or rather – the former Stock Exchange, Palacio da Bolsa, now an exclusive venue for events. On our table, delegates from England, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey and Russia, all shared experiences of MOOCS and aspirations for future collaboration. I learned a lot; it was fascinating attending a conference that wasn’t only Moodle-related and seeing different perspectives in online learning. Thanks again to Eamon for your support