Irmeli Aro #moodleMOOCs throughout the Summer 2013

Posts Tagged ‘MOOC

#edfutures Succeeding in turning my MOOC learning curve the other way around?

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It’s the beginning of the week 4 of 8 of #edfutures course. I’m almost ready to become fully visible. I’ve been lucky to participate to #cck08 and and some other MOOC:s (massive open online course) after that. Based on the experiences gained, I try to turn my learning curve the other way around this time. During the previous MOOC:s I’ve been either active or very active in the beginning of the course. The beginning of an e-learning course traditionally means presenting oneself and getting the discussions going. When a MOOC is in concern, it means a million messages in discussion forums. And then another million. Because the majority of us participants still thinks according to the way the courses used to be, we try to say everything of everything immediately. A third million of messages.

It’s like getting buried by an avalanche. After you’ve crawled out you don’t want to return. That’s what’s happened to me as well. My activity has faded. By the end of the course I’ve been totally invisible.
I believe in transformative learning. I also believe that in a connective context it’s both easier and more difficult than in the pre-networked era world. It’s more difficult because you have to learn to deal with the avalanche size of an amount of everything. It’s easier because in a networked context everything is non-linear and therefore cut into small pieces. This is a complex process to learn – especially when we are living through the first years of MOOC:s. Referring to the following story, we haven’t got the Granny’s methods of how to learn to cope. Or have we got them after all?
”The Invisible Child” is a story from the book ”Tales from Moominvalley” (Tove Jansson, 1962, published in English in 1973 by Puffin Books). The original story in Swedish – Det onsynliga barnet – was published in Finland in 1962. I shorten it here for myself and anyone in the future who needs a practical story of what needs to be taken into account in the beginning of a MOOC. When we get more routine the whole process does not need to be taken care of in the beginning. It can, as everything else in a connective, networked context be cut into smaller pieces – pieces that are easier for everybody to handle.
The Invisible Child

The story begins in a dark and rainy evening. The moomin family is sitting around the verandah table and picking over the day’s mushroom harvest. Too-ticky comes in – calling out in the dark: ”Well, come along!”. Nobody sees anyone else. They expect an explanation. Too-ticky says: ”You all know, don’t you, that if people are frightened very often, they sometimes become invisible”. Too-ticky explains further: ”Her name is Ninny. She was frightened the wrong way by a lady who  took care of her. -I’ve met this lady. She’s not the angry sort, which would have been understandable. She’s the icily ironical kind. She was ironic all day long every day, and finally the kid started to turn pale and fade around the edges, and less and less was seen of her.” Too-ticky concludes: ”The lady gave her away to me and said she really couldn’t take care of relatives she couldn’t even see. -And now I’ve brought her here for you to make her visible again.”

Ninny had a small silver bell around her neck. That, with a slight tinkle was the only thing that could be seen or heard of her. Too-ticky introduces: ”Here’s your new family. They’re a bit silly at times, but rather decent, largely speaking.” Ninny got a chair. Too-ticky left, saying that later on she wants to know how they get along. After a while, invisible paws picked up a chanterelle and started to clean it.

Moominmamma made Ninny a bed in the eastern attic room. She said: ”I believe she wants to be invisible a while. Better leave the kid alone until something turns up.” Everybody in the house was given at bedtime an apple, a glass of juice and three striped pieces of candy. So was Ninny. Moominmamma lit a candle and said: ”There’ll be tea for you in the morning any time you want. If you happen to get a funny feeling or want anything, just come downstairs and tinkle.”

In the next morning, Ninny’s paws were coming down the steps. She served herself some tea. Moominmamma thought: ”Granny knew a thing or two. Now that the medicine starts to work we’ll be on the right way.” She had studied the Granny’s old notes in the evening and found a chapter: ”If people start getting misty and difficult to see”.

All together started to pick apples and later during that day, making apple-cheese as they always did during that time of the year. Suddenly Moomintroll shouted: ”I can see her legs!” Above the legs one could see the faint outline of a brown dress hem. When everybody was in bed Moominmamma sew a little rose-pink dress and a hair ribbon and carried them upstairs and put them on a chair beside Ninny’s bed.

The following day Ninny had her dress on. She was visible up to her neck. And when she came down to morning tea she piped: ”Thank you all ever so much”. Moominpappa cleared his throat: ”The more we see the happier we are…”. Moomintroll and little My took Ninny down to the river to play. Ninny dutifully ran, jumped and did everything she was asked to do. She even seriously nodded and replied, how funny something was. It was clear that she played only from politeness and not to have fun. ”She can’t play”, mumbled Moomintroll. ”She can’t get angry. That’s what’s wrong with her”, said My. ”She’ll never have a face of her own until she learns to fight.” Days went by and there was no turn for the better. Ninny never laughed. She was left alone to herself.

One day the family went down to the beach to pull the boat up for winter. Too-ticky joined them. Ninny came tinkling behind as usual. She got frightened of the sea and started whining. ”Of all the silly kids”, little My started. Moominmamma gave her a severe look and said: ”Don’t be a silly kid yourself. Now let’s pull the boat ashore.” The boat was pulled ashore and turned keel upwards. Everybody was in their own thoughts. Moominpappa wanted to amuse the kids a little. He gave Moomintroll a wink and made a gesture of pushing Moominmamma from behind into the cold water. Before he reached her a sharp cry was heard, a pink streak of lightning shot over the landing-stage and Moominpappa let out a scream and dropped his hat into the water. Ninny had sunk her small invisible teeth in Moominpappa’s tail, and they were sharp.

”Good work!” cried My. ”I couldn’t have done it better myself!” Ninny was standing on the landing-stage. She had a small, snub-nosed, angry face below a red tangle of hair. She was hissing at Moominpappa like a cat. ”Don’t you dare push her into the big horrible sea!” she cried. ”She’s sweet!” shouted Moomintroll. Moominpappa inspected his bitten tail. ”She’s the silliest, nastiest, badly-brought-uppest child I’ve ever seen, with or without a head.” He tried to fish for his hat with a stick. Somehow he managed to tip himself over, and tumbled in on his head. He came up at once, standing safely on the bottom, with his snour above water and his ears filled with mud.

”Oh dear!” Ninny was shouting. ”Oh, how great! Oh how funny!” The landing-stage shook with her laughter. ”I believe she’s never laughed before,” Too-ticky said wonderingly. ”You seem to have changed her, she’s even worse than little My. But the main thing is that one can see her, of course”. ”It’s all thanks to Granny,” Moominmamma said.
Photo cc Irmeli Aro’s Flickr
We are heading for the half way of the #edfutures MOOC. Compared with my previous experiences of MOOCs, opposite to them I’m now full of energy and willing to be fully visible and even to reach my full potential toward the end of the course. Sharing and analyzing this process is my way of creating a possible trend. I believe in MOOCs. I want to learn to utilize them more. I want to learn to teach and run them. That requires making them less frightening. If someone still wants to come tinkling behind in the beginning, even that must be recognized, accepted and supported.

Written by Irmeli Aro

May 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm