Sunday, 9 September 2012

Email Blues

Some time ago, I mentioned an interest in taking a MOOC. I had thought that by way of extending my knowledge in an area of interest of mine, this would be ideal preparation to the doctorate I wish to participate in at some point, InshAllah.

I confess that some of the knowledge aspects of the learning opportunity from the MOOC have been good, but the experience is not without some reservations. Ironically, it is the "Massive" part of the open online course that I have found to be the most challenging. Example: as part of the course, I am expected to participate in weekly forum discussions. Approved posts notch up points which are used in part to assess overall progress, so there is some incentive to take part in forum discussions. The problem I have found is that in participating, one ends up subscribing to a discussion threads - that every time a posting is made to a thread that I have participated in, it would generate an email notification. I suspected this anyway so I purposely kept my participation only to the most relevant topics of discussion. That said, with 26 thousand global participants in the Coursera MOOC, my inbox has been bursting with over a hundred posts daily.

I am a man with other responsibilities, time constraints and realistically it is near impossible to sift through all those posts and respond in detail. This must affect the learning experience, because by Week 2 of the eight week course, I am reticent to participate in new threads. 

MOOCs - the future of online learning? Put it this way, I liked the idea at the start ...

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