This looks like a really interesting course for anyone who supports researchers in their work. I don’t have much time (this is advertised as a light course), so I haven’t read anything about how to use a MOOC. This is also the first MOOC I’ve actually signed up for. I’m relying on the course materials and moderators, plus intuition to guide me through…
It’s on EDX. when you register, you have an option to pay for a certificate, or to “audit” your course participation for free. (There are many options for you to choose to give money but it is a free course.) I chose to audit, because of the option to review course material again later, but this is also about monitoring my activity. I felt uncomfortable with this on grounds of wanting to protect my intellectual privacy. The thought that someone might monitor me might keep me in a more participatory mood, however!
In the first week, I was unable to take part in the livechat because I had other commitments, but it didn’t seem to be compulsory to take part. I watched the video afterwards, instead, and the course moderator (Inger Mewburn/Thesis Whisperer) named some people’s contributions to thank them, but also acknowledged that some people were taking part anonymously, because of the sensitive and personal nature of some of the posts. This was a really useful video to watch, because it explained how discussion-board interactions could be voted for, or flagged up amongst the course participants.
After the first week, I was disappointed to note that my interactions with the course materials seemed to count for nothing, in terms of documenting my progress through the course. I have to learn how to score points as I work through the module content! What was that “badge” that the moderator mentioned in the live chat?… and how do I find the comments and replies that I’ve previously left, amongst the pages and pages of stuff that the hundreds of course participants have left?
As I mentioned, it’s a “light” course, and supposed to be possible to participate in less than an hour per week (mentioned in the livechat video). If you really do try to keep to this limit, then I fear you will soon feel left behind in the course and it won’t feel like a course at all, but just another website that you can look at. I recommend dedicating a bit more time each week.
The livechat video is one hour long. There are also course materials to read, and discussions to take part in. I scan-read the reading and dipped into discussions, and I still took 3 hours, including my registration & course familiarisation time, and this feels like a very scant level of participation.
The course offers some great advice on how to handle those around you who are suffering emotionally through their PhD. There is lots of support for PhD students from their peers in the discussion boards, and also from course moderators, of course.
I’ll mention more about the course content highlights next week, as I document my progress through the course…
Have you participated in a MOOC: what have your experiences been like? You can leave a reply below. Keep reading this blog for more reflections on this MOOC & other researcher themes!