More on #BonkOpen and other MOOC-iness

Last week my post on Reconceptualizing facilitation and participation in a networked (MOOC) context garnered some interesting attention and some great comments. I wanted to offer a few more links to other blogs which are part of this distributed conversation, not only because they are interested, but I’m interested in weaving together these threads, both between the #BonkOpen MOOC (Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success) and the #Change11 MOOC. So here we go!

Here are some more general MOOC-y blog posts:


Any other ones I should be reading and linking to?

Edit: May 7 – here are some more!


Tips for Facilitating a Week in Change11 MOOC

A friend asked me to share any tips I had after facilitating week 8 of the massively open online course (MOOC) Change11. In the interest of openness, here is a copy of my response! I clarified my hasty email a bit and added a few more things in [brackets].

At 01:44 PM 12/22/2011, you wrote:

Nancy —

Last summer I agreed to facilitate a week of the change11 MOOC — I don’t know how to say no, I’m afraid. I’ve been so caught up in other responsibilities that I really haven’t followed it much so far. I know you facilitated a week. I have a presentation ready and some texts. Any tips on what I should expect/do during the week?

Hiya Friend

Haha, I don’t know how to say no either and I did week 8 in the midst of a massive Autumn of travel. I should have my head examined. But it turned out really great because I deeply connected with a few people… we resonated! (See theseprevious posts for more background.)

I, unlike most of the other week facilitators so far, did NOT prepare anything. I was aiming for experience and reflection and, besides, no time to prepare. Ha! What is important is to decide on your live events and get them on the calendar. [meaning days and times — remember this is global so consider time zones].One of the biggest complaints so far is these things are very last minute and people can’t get them on their calendars.

Then kick of the week with a live event (which seems to focus energy in this very diverse group) and then follow the hash tag. [My event was focused on a few key questions I put on slides in the synchronous meeting room white board. You can see the before and after versions here. I also did an DLT one on Tuesday and the wrap up event on Friday.  ]

What I did to see who was writing or tweeting was to add a #Change11 tag to my Tweetdeck and to read the #Change11 daily  that Stephen sends out with a pretty good collection of links. Then I followed the links and left comments on as many blogs that I found relating to my week. That took a bit of time, but the feedback was that this was really meaningful to people — particularly since we talked a lot about connection in week 8. Then I did a wrap up live event on Friday where Stephen and George peppered me with academic questions which I, frankly, didn’t relate to very well. But we had fun and that was ok. Then I wrote a wrap up blog post and included as many links as I could find to give everyone a little link love and recognition of their inputs for the week.

I followed up a bit more the week after, then returned to Change11 lurk mode. 😉 (see herehere  and here)

The reason I did the follow ups was because I was also talking about something that was a learning edge for me. It wasn’t “complete” and thus learning from everyone’s input was of value to me. Some may find this onerous work (and time consuming.) YMMV.

…deleted personal message…

Waving with lots of warm holiday choco-thoughts. Happy Solstice!


Valerie’s Amazing Thinking About Social Artists

(Note: this is a re-do of a post from this week lost due to hardware crash of my host. Sorry for the bad link at

As a followup from my week facilitating Change11, the amazing Valerie blew my mind with her video summary and synthesis of the week. No, it was much more than that. WOW. Take a look if you are interested in this idea of the social artist. Valerie, you ROCK!

Educational Change is a Team Sport

Great stuff from Ellen Wagner that resonate with some of the conversations we’ve been having across the #change11 MOOC on Technology, Change and Education. Take a peek:

Education transformation really is a team sport. Old ideas don’t just fade away. Old ideas can be stubborn and relentless. Systemic change calls for many contributors. There are many variables to address, much practice and dedication required to develop expert skills. Transformation demands a clear understanding of what is to be changed, AND the will to see changed implemented. And with all due respect to everyone who claims the ID [instructional designer – nw] badge…We simply can’t afford to all think the same way.

For real change – true transformation – we need all ID hands on deck. Scholars, analyts, artists, technologists, evaluators, and managers alike. Big thinkers. Expert practitioners. People who can translate big ideas into actionable strategies and tactics driving real results about things that matter to the communities and stakeholders we purport to serve.

via On Secret Handshakes and Making the World a Better Place with ID – eLearning Roadtrip.

We have also been struggling with metaphors like rhizome, nomads and social artists. “Team Sport” is another one that has its pros and cons. What I’m really sensing is that we are trying to live into the world of learning in a new way, and our labels fail us.

OK, nuff for a quick, throw off post. Back to work!

Why chat streams are critical to live events

handcuffs cc Some rights reserved by incognito2020
cc Some rights reserved by incognito2020

AK nails it!

Last week I was a virtual attendee at the annual Sloan-C conference. It was fun and educational enough to spend 3 days watching live streamed sessions, and a saturday catching up on some recorded ones. The recorded ones are not as fun since you dont have the twitter stream going :-

via Multilitteratus Incognitus: Campus vs. Online: fighting in the family.

This is what I’m ‘talkin about! And it is not just applicable to webinars but to all synchronous online interactions regardless of the tool. It applies to telephone calls. Providing and/or encouraging text based peer to peer and peer to the world interactions creates opportunities to engage those who would otherwise tune out. Does it distract? It sure can. Does it fracture engagement into smaller cohorts or with those “outside” of the virtual room? You bet. And we can use that as an asset, not a strength.

The risk? The presenter will become irrelevant. And that too may be a good thing. If the presenter cannot skillfully engage, and they become only a conveyance for content… well, maybe they should switch roles and we run a video with a chat channel. I’m only partly kidding. How often have you clicked into a webinar on one of those platforms which makes you send all your comments to a moderator, which has no participate peer to peer chat room and felt like a prisoner with your hands tied? Last night I was talking with the fab Michael Coghlan of Australia (we were talking about flexible learning, natch!) and those were the words he used. “I felt like my hands were tied.” Is that any way to have a meeting, to work together or to learn together? NO WAY, BABY! (yes, I’m ranting this morning)

There are  SO MANY ways we can use chat streams productively. Here are two sets of tips – one for the “presenter” or leader, and one for participants. This is just a starter. What are YOUR tips? COMMENT PLEASE (and feel free to SHOUT. This feels like a SHOUTING topic!)

A Few Tips for  Presenters and Webinar Leaders

  • Ask great questions and have people answer in the chat room. If there is no chat room in the tool you are using, make one else where or use a hashtag and Twitter. Don’t let the technology stop you. (I did in a webinar last month and I regret it. )
  • If you can’t track the chat room and present, get someone to help you to recap and weave in the chat with your work. Some people can do this while they are presenting, some need to wait until a designated Q&A time. Both are legitimate approaches but it is worth TELLING the participants what you need to best engage with them instead of feeling over stressed yourself. That does no one any good. Be honest. People will support you when you ask for their help. They will detest you if you simply ignore them!
  • If the topic is NOT suitable for public sharing via Twitter, say that upfront and ask people to “keep it in the room.” Don’t assume people will automagically know this. Transparent ommunication is a great thing!
  • Keep the chat transcript and or Twitter hashtag aggregation (ask me if you don’t know what this is) and look at it afterwards. If there is more to follow up with, create a blog post or other appropriate mechanism to share that follow up. (Example here) People love it when you show active listening even if it is asynchronous. They are being heard. That is part of being a #socialartist! (First link is explanation, second is Twitter hashtag)
  • Frustrated that no one is “listening” and they are all chatting? After the event, review your presentation and figure out how to make it more interesting/compelling and DESIGN for participation next time. If you are just delivering content or a performance, record it. Sweet!

A Few Tips for  Participants

  • Find out or ask what the practice/conventions are for chat in the event you are joining. If they don’t know what you are talking about, share some ideas. Don’t be the victim. It’s a waste of time and energy!
  • If you are a fast typer, be careful not to dominate and squeeze out others. Take  a break every now and again. A hog is a hog in text or through speaking!
  • Ask good questions if the presenter isn’t or is unable to. This helps engage your peers. Again, avoid victimhood!
  • If Twitter/public interaction is OK and there is no hashtag, suggest a nice short one and get things going. Leadership!
  • Capture and share Twitter and chat transcripts for the uninitiated. There is often a pile of gems waiting in these artifacts.
  • Think the presenter could have done better? Walk in their shoes a few times, and if you are great at it, offer to give them coaching. If not, remember the power of compassion…

OK, add your ideas! Let’s liberate webinar participants from listen only confinements.