Learn Moodle MOOC Week 1: Step by step or All at once?

Sunday marks the end of the first week of our Learn Moodle 3.4 Basics MOOC, so here’s my short personal view so far:

Moodle HQ runs the MOOC twice a year to give anyone and everyone the chance to explore the latest version of Moodle from a basic teaching point of view. People familiar with the MOOC might notice we’ve added ‘Basics’ to its name – that’s to differentiate it from its related Learn Moodle curriculum, currently under development. We’d like to think people who complete this Basics MOOC will go on to enhance their Moodle teaching skills with the more advanced Learn Moodle offerings.

Also new this time is the choice to go through the four week ‘step by step’  – ie, have the weekly activities revealed to you a week at a time so you are not overwhelmed, or to see the MOOC ‘All at once’ so you can move on quickly at your own pace (although you still have to wait for your certificate :) )  Of the 2123 who have so far engaged with the course, 821 have chosen the Step by Step path and 1321 have chosen the All at once path. We seem to have some very fast workers in that All at once group, as I noticed that within two days of the course starting, some of them were posting their final reflections on what they had learned over the four weeks and wondering why they could not have their certificate yet :)

The MOOC is aimed at complete beginners and according to our poll, 67% of those  in the course have never used or hardly ever used Moodle, while a further 13% have only used it for file sharing. 20% consider themselves ‘advanced’ Moodlers, and in those will no doubt be some of our regular helpers, to whom we’re very grateful. The new Moodlers are invariably amazed and delighted by the wide variety of co-participants from all around the world. Even better is when a whole group of Moodlers from an institution join and learn together -so far I have spotted three – from the Netherlands, Russia and South Africa, but if your organisation has also joined as a group, let us know :)

Embury FE S Africa

During this first week, participants were busy setting up their courses and exploring different types of layout. We’re not expecting participants to allow others into their courses until Week 3 when they’ve added more interactive and assessable content, but looking at the list of course titles already being developed, Week 3 should be an interesting feedback opportunity :)

Course List

*Please note:* If you’re an experienced Moodler or regular MOOC participant, it would be really helpful if you could enrol in some courses when they are shared in the Week 3 section and provide constructive feedback. Thanks!

To gauge participant satisfaction during the MOOC, we ask for feedback at the end of Week 1. This is looking promising although we obviously need to clarify some areas, judging by a few comments. Some participants are asking for downloadable videos and subtitles, where these are already available. Others wish to do the quizzes more than once, when they can. Others ask for a weekly task list, where there are weekly task lists in the Weekly tutorial and tasks pages. This is all good feedback, as it shows us we need to explain things in more than just one or two places in the course. The poll for live session time was a good example: we offered three time choices so we can run the weekly live session at a time convenient to as many people as possible. However some people believed we were offering all three sessions, and mistakenly tried to join at the time they chose. (For anyone in the MOOC, the most popular vote was again Fridays at 16:00 UTC) Understanding timezones is an issue for some participants, but we do mention on several occasions and in several places how to change your timezone in your profile so that events display correctly for you. I’m not sure where else we can highlight this, but we’ll definitely try :)

The weekly live video-conferencing session uses Big Blue Button. As well as being able to try BigBlueButton on MoodleCloud sites, MOOC participants have it in their own practice courses.  Our first live session usually involves a lot of questions about this software so we invited along Fred Dixon, BBB CEO to give us an overview of the product and an update on its latest features. There were a lot of WOW’s going on when he demonstrated the multi-user whiteboard and polling!

BBB live session

Finally, an important part of learning is reflection, and we encourage this in the MOOC by requesting that participants record their thoughts, in whatever way they feel comfortable, during the four weeks. One keen Moodler from France already blogged about his first week, and the individual blogs on the site also make for interesting reading. Some very sound advice here to take us into Week 2:

Blog from participant

See you in seven days! Keep on moodling!

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