A couple of weeks ago I enrolled in my first MOOC: ‘Game Elements for Learning’ through the Canvas Network and Academic Partnerships. This one is a micro-MOOC and it lasts for 4 weeks. I’ve read a little bit about Massive Open Online Courses via blog posts and Twitter and I wanted to experience one for myself. I’ve studied online before with a cohort of about 60 people who were located in various parts of the world but I wanted to experience what its like with hundreds, maybe even thousands of participants! This particular one caught my eye because it’s about gamification, which is something else I want to learn more about.
One of the first things I did this week was to re-read Ryan Tracey’s ’10 Hot Tips for MOOCers’ blog post as there’s some good advice for first time MOOCers like me. I’ll probably read it again as I progress through the course.
This MOOC is a cMOOC (with the ‘c’ standing for connectivist) which is different from an xMOOC (which is a more instructor-led, traditional higher education approach). As such, there is a lot of encouragement for us to contribute to forums and connect via LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs etc. and to share our resources, knowledge and experiences. I’ve started to do this although I need to jump into the discussions forums a bit more.
By the end of the course we, should be able to:
- Define game thinking and design
- Locate game elements for use in learning
- Apply or create a game element to a learning activity.
I’ve worked my way through the first topic and it was a good introduction to the course and the area of gamification itself. There were a few different activities – I created an avatar, posted to a forum, watch some video clips, read some introductory info and completed a gamification quiz where I earnt a badge!
Some initial thoughts:
- Really good communication from the Game Masters (facilitators) leading up to the start of the course, providing plenty of instructions and support
- Plenty of opportunities to collaborate and link to personal blogs and social media
- The response time to other participants questions and posts seems quite quick given the numbers
- The site itself is easy to navigate and there’s plenty to explore
- You really need to be a self-directed learner so this type of may not be for everyone.
While I am keen to learn more about gamification, I’m also looking at the course from a design and facilitation perspective. The reason games are motivating is because they satisfy our basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness (as per Ryan and Deci’s Self-Determination Theory). I’m interested to see if the course does this (so far so good) and how I can incorporate these techniques into my courses. Also, as someone who wants to continue to develop my skills as an online facilitator, I’m hoping to pick up some ideas from our Game Masters as we go along.
Overall, a great start to the MOOC. I’m looking forward to working through the next topic as well as meeting and learning from other MOOCers.
GE4L MOOCers, how was your first week?
Image from GE4L MOOC site