Moodle MOOC: Session with Dave Cormier

That was fast – we are already in week 2 and I still have many things on my to-do-list for week 1.
I really enjoyed today’s live session with Dave Cormier. Starting with his well-known YouTube video „What is a MOOC“ we got into an experiment real soon: About 100 WizIQ web conferencing participants got editing rights on the whiteboard at the same time. I’ve never seen anything like this before. (When I give my AdobeConnect – which is another web conferencing system – courses for teachers and show the whiteboard, there aren’t so many participants by far and I start with simple szenarios.) It was a real impressive demonstration of some key aspects of Dave Cormier’s talk: uncertainty and responsibility. The need to structure a classroom where you can depend on the responsibility of all. Moodle structures things, it provides order but structures are also boundaries.
While Dave Cormier was talking there was extensive use of the whiteboard and not many things had to do something with the talk. At the beginning, when he asked about our thoughts of uncertainty, the responses on the whiteboard still made sense, but that was that (at this time, only some had editing rights). Afterwards, many of us were simply enjoying using the whiteboard and some could not be stopped. I’ll list some of the thoughts that went around in the meeting room about the reasons:

  1. „They didn’t know that they changed the whiteboard for all others, and that everyone saw what they were writing.“ (That’s a very valid point, because most often learning environment are structured in a way that students can’t change anything or at least can’t disturb anything.)
  2. „They didn’t hear, that they were asked to stop their actions.“ (Also a very valid point because audio in web conferencing systems often is a problem.)
  3. „They were happy to use a new tool which they didn’t know yet.“ (A valid point because in my experience it’s natural that many people try to click on everything and drag and draw. And it was actually the first time we were given rights to edit the whiteboard in the Moodle MOOC.)
  4. „They didn’t understand because of language problems.“ (Indeed, we are an international group from many places of the world.)
  5. „They didn’t see the text chat messages, where many participants asked the whiteboard users to stop.“ (Yes, that could also be a reason, because there really was much activity in the chat window.)

For me, the session wasn’t just a lesson in MOOC activities with great teachers, but also a reminder for aspects a web conference tutor should be prepared for (or if he/she doesn’t like it, should simply avoid by granting the editing rights differently). As I wrote in the text chat „This is a session we will remember“. It would be interesting to do this again with the same participants – I think it would be different.