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I’ve joined the MOOC (and blogging about it) bandwagon and have signed up for Lada Adamic’s social network analysis course on Coursera, which started on 24 September. I attended an online course on community engagement in May, but this is rather more serious. I’m blogging about the content on my CPD blog – this post looks at the course set-up and my personal learning environment.
The LMS is very clear, with links in the left hand panel to:
- video lectures – you get a tick once you’ve watched one and attempted the quizzes; handy to have the slides (now in PDF as well as PowerPoint) and subtitles/script as a text file (plus a .srt file, an automated file created by SubRip – more about Coursera video subtitles)
- discussion forums - used twice in the first week (via searching) to resolve a couple of technical issues; voted useful responses up (trying to avoid the temptation to look at things voted down) but didn’t post; sometimes it’s scary to see what people do post, and I tend to think if you spend too long there it will just highlight issues you weren’t actually having…different ways to filter the content might help
- assignments, course logistics (ie assessment), syllabus, teaching staff, FAQ – all do what they say on the tin
- link to Coursera meetups - ie in-person meetups : D CPH Courserians doesn’t look very promising at this stage
- SNA wiki page - initially not very clear what this was for, but Friday’s course update moves things on a bit; fixes to some issues raised in the forums have been added, and participants are invited to add info re assorted software packages, tools, lecture notes etc, rather than/as well as on the forums
- NOT directory of participants - there’s no way of finding out who else is doing the course, but there are 55K registered so maybe that does make sense…
Elsewhere, I’m following @SNAcourse plus the (semi) controversial #SNAc hashtag via RSS (anyone archiving?). So far more than manageable, with @SNAcourse responding in a timely fashion to queries etc. The first #SNAc blog post is by @alberto_cottica, an Italian in Belgium – on a SNA related note, a bit spooky to spot a mutual connection (@klang67, a legal informatics type in Sweden).
The anti-social issue
Now I realise that a founding principle of MOOCs is connectivism, with all that social and peer learning brings, but noisy discussion forums aren’t that useful – see this ALA Think Tank Facebook thread on the issue. There are lots of ways of slicing and dicing the #SNAc community, and a load of regional study groups have been set up, plus two Facebook groups. I did a search on the forum and found two Danes, but limited overlap in interests. Looking at the details from the pre-course survey, a community of practice could be formed round, for example, people with an information science background (390) – oh dear, I suppose it’s over to me to set something up, but I would never get round to posting anything and don’t really feel the need. **Whispers** I find I learn best by working things out for myself.
— Coursera SNA (@SNAcourse) September 26, 2012