My MOOC life: first reactions to #CFHE12

I had been curious about MOOCs since 2011, but my time hadn’t come yet.

One month ago, my chinese colleague started an experience with COURSERA just because she couldn’t analyze, for her phD research, some courses in Italian.  We work through a qualitative approach in our research activities, so she started to write and share with me her MEMOS, through an autoethnographical approach. Then she asked me to apply to another type of MOOC, just to share and discuss about our autoethnographies as learners. Of course, we are two researchers engaged with educational technologies and innovation in learning,  from one hand, and from the other deeply interested on the learners experiences, mood, impact with regard to their participation in virtual spaces. Right now, we are following a research on quality of networked learning, discussing a lot from the evaluation tools and processes to analyze “quality” to the quality in education itself as concept, with the epistemological issues connected.

Once the attention was put on the issue, what was a blur image, became a sharp (too sharp!) picture: the MOOC had arrived to my life.

The CFHE12 called my attention immediatly: not only the issue was aligned with my research interest (from the policy context to the drivers of organizational and pedagogical change in higher education) but it was one of the most interesting MOOCs I could have ever met, since it is a MOOC on MOOCs!

Promising, I said to myself. My only concern is how I will find the time to study, while struggling with the design of one course, an ongoing field research with interviews, forum analysis, students, and so one.  Will my initial motivation be enough? Well, I guess that the situation of those that will follow the CFHE12 will be the same, so…

My colleague starts her experience few days previous to my one.  Her motivation is high and her satisfaction during the first two weeks is equally good.

She writes:

I like the layout of the course as everything is easy to find. In the middle of the page, here is a BIG announcement written by the professor. He informs some very important information for students such as: the learning schedule and the evaluation method. After reading these announcement, I can make a study schedule according to my personal time and convenience.
I just feel everything is at hand: I have all the materials for studying now and opportunities to interact with students from all over the world. It is really amazing. 
So she gives me the strenght to start my one.
My feeling is completely different of hers: I struggle to find things. I watch the video-guides at list thirty times. I struggle to find the adequate space to participate. I go back and forth from the initial site to the educational environment…
And everyday I receive the newsletter collecting all the blog posts. Blog posts? Yes, everyone can make the own choice.
I start reading the proposed papers, which are quite interesting. While reading, I notice that I’m in the middle of the week, and I keep receiving the complex newsletter without having done nothing yet.
There is nice people and nice discussions and post virtually EVERYWHERE, but my day is done of 24 hours and 25% of that time should be dedicated to sleep.
I like Downes and I appreciate very much his work. But when I start to see 150 emails with his name in my box (which, for the sake of my ubiquitous work and life, follows me in the personal computer, my tablet and my mobile phone, with diverse types of ringtones and sounds recalling me the new email), much of this steem is converted in anxiety. I’m overwhelmed.
This first feelings are not in vane.
This make me recall my own students complains with regard to the issue of organization of things, and how annoying these type of complains are to me: I like caos, I like freedom and taking my OWN decisions about what and when to learn. So, if I should be coherent,  the CFHE12 is offering me an unique opportunity to LEARN about my self as student. To try what my students could try.
And then, to learn about the topic.
So, after paying attention to my emotions and reflections, let’s now pass to the future of higher education and the technologies.
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