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Revisiting the question of tagging

January 22, 2014

We are starting Week 2 of the 2014 EVO session MultiMOOC 2.014. As usual we are following Dave Cormier’s 5 steps for successfully coping with MOOC in the 5 weeks of the course: orient, declare, network, cluster, focus. Our EVO session is not a course in so far as TESOL can control our speech, though we’re not using Newspeak, so they can’t keep us from thinking of our sessions as COURSEs, but whatever, it’s not a MOOC. There are not enough people. We are an EVO session that studies MOOCs, and thanks to our era of abundance, there’s no shortage of those, so while we are in the session we can participate in them if we like. We’ve listed them some possibilities here:

Our first week, as in most online courses, was given over to Orientation.  Everyone in the course was supposed to have attempted at least a few of the 16 suggestions in the Week 1 task list here: These tasks asked people to fill out a form (a dozen did so). They pointed participants to where the resources were and where they could read about the framework for the session. It asked them to scoop or tweet their reactions.  You can see the results here:

So, a few people did a few of the tasks, no one asked any questions about them, and now we are in Week 2 where we DECLARE our intentions in the course. The course is structured (in so far as structure is compatible with the MOOC model, where participants are supposed to structure their learning according to their nuanced goals) on participants saying what they want to accomplish, then setting out to accomplish what they say they wanted, and in the end reporting back on what they did. It’s that simple. Facilitators in cMOOCs do not create hoops through which participants must pass (the opposite as for xMOOCs, a distinction participants should have discovered in their reading during ORIENTATION week).  Any hoops are challenges set by participants in the course of improving themselves.  And the goalposts are placed by participants individually according to their perceived needs, and estimates of what they can achieve for themselves, factoring in what they should learn from others accompanying them on this stage of their learning journey.

So, how do we declare what we are going to do?  By the end of Week 1, Orientation, participants should have been giving some thought to a space where they might keep their ePortfolios.  Mine, as a model, is at  This is not a space I created just for this course. But it is a space where I have to revisit periodically to make sure it’s pointing to my most current spaces. You should have a space like this, one that points to what you are proud of.  It can be one you start now or one you maintain. It should point us to what you are doing in this session (or course). So to declare what you are doing in this session, this space should have a post saying that you are embarking on a 5-week journey and you plan to arrive on Feb 16 at such and such a place.

You can post it and forget about it for a while, but you must tag it.  This means you must place metadata there that will associate this posting with any that others are creating for this session.  The tags we use for this purpose at evomlit and multimooc.

You can tag your posts on Facebook, for example. You can search on tags as shown below, or initiate that search by clicking on a tag in a FB post, as you can also do in Twitter:


Once you write the post, you should Tweet it and maybe even tag it on Facebook.  That is you should announce to the world that you have created a post for this course.  Again, in your tweet, you should include these two tags: #evomlit and #multimooc. Once you have done that, your post will appear in our aggregation here: so we can find it.

When you check that link you’ll find mostly my face there, but some tweets of others like Maria Colussa, Benjamin Stewart, Anne Fox, Vanessa Vaile, and so on.  The idea is for MANY faces to populate that space.

To see how it works in a real MOOC with hundreds of participants, check the results for Rhizo14


From this example, you can see one way that aggregation of content in a MOOC works.  You see many faces there. You also see that the content is not being driven top down, as in this session, but it is percolating bottom up.  With critical mass, a MOOC is able to have one node in a network stimulate another.

So, what are you supposed to be doing here?  You should have done some of the tasks listed for week 1

And this week you should do as many of the tasks you feel are valuable to you here:

And finally, I’m tracking our work with badges here

And one more thing, our next live session is my talk with YLTSIG EVO on Sunday, Jan 26

And you can find MANY upcoming events, including the above and our MultiMOOC sessions the following week, on our burgeoning events calendar here

Sure, the abundance is overwhelming, but the opportunities for learning are there on the berry bush. Choose wisely, and enjoy the tastiest morsels. And please communicate with us, in posts to our lists and groups, or through the tagging methods suggested in Week 2.

Incidentally, I got a kick from learning that I was actually on the Rhizo14 leader-board (had used #rhizo14 4 times and this was significant early in the game).   This is what happens in a MOOC, everyone gets a kick from the slightest attention 🙂  And Rhizo14 will be our focus for Week 3, when the theme is networking (if I’m still driving; sometimes participants steer).


and here’s the slight attention 🙂


How’s it work? It has something to do with this and the instructions:

And here’s how I found out that much


I finally cracked it.



This story never ends.  After posting my success through the #rhizo14 network, I awoke this morning to find this in my twitter stream


Maha’s post (you asked for it 🙂 points me to the Hawksey Twitter map for all of Rhizo14.

Compare …


This, by the way, is an example of “cluster” (week 4 in MultiMOOC). Having oriented in Rhizo14 and declared who I am and why I am here, I have networked with a small group of people, forming a cluster of folks with the same interests as mine.

This illustrates how in a MOOC, the fact that there is an overwhelming abundance of content flying around that you cannot possibly hope to grasp is totally irrelevant. The fact that you grasp something that would not have come your way had you not put yourself in a context where the information is flying around is everything. It’s like fishing. You don’t worry about all the fish you didn’t catch. The point is to come away from the experience with the satisfaction of having feasted.  And this is an example of that.

And there’s more, I just now found this (sheepishly 😉


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