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Declaring my goals for MultiMOOC and #Rhizo14

January 25, 2014

This post is intended as a model for what others in the EVO session MultiMOOC 2.014,, should have done by now, what I intend to do next week (Week 3 of EVO) when we go headlong into networking, and where I might end up at the end of the five week EVO sessions, with an ePortfolio of some kind  pointing to my accomplishments.

George Siemens said at 18:30 minutes into the above video which I scooped here,, that if he were a college professor embarking on a new semester with a fresh batch of students …

“here’s what I would do … I would trash all of my course materials … I would tell my students, sign up at Coursera, take their course, we’ll spend our time interacting around those content elements, I will mark and evaluate what you are doing, but trust me, their content is better than what I can produce within my university budget.”

This is the approach taken in this MultiMOOC 2.104 ‘session’ (not a ‘course’) which also is not a MOOC (too few people). However, there are some EVO sessions which have reached that status. Three have surpassed the 200 mark in participants, in addition to being open, meaning that anyone can browse their materials and access their online events without registration. These are:

Meanwhile, there are many MOOCs (promoting themselves as such) going on now, some of which are listed here:

Choose a course whose content you would like to explore

One of these, Rhizomatic Learning, is being facilitated by Dave Cormier, who coined the term MOOC in 2008:

This is my choice of courses that if I were running a college-level course on MOOCs I would tell my students to enroll in and we would spend time discussing it, how it works, and what its outcomes are.

The course is subtitled ‘the community is the curriculum’, and this is what distinguishes it from xMOOCs like Coursera, mentioned in the quote by Siemens. What Siemens proposes however is to use the content, or curriculum, from Coursera and to make his class into a community based on that content (the content in this hypothetical case being dictated by a degree program which requires its students to study that topic).

Rhizomatic Learning

MultiMOOC 2.014 proposes to derive its content from a free and open existing online course as well. Entering and interacting in such a course will become the focus of week 3 here, which is on networking (in the Cormier scheme for coping with MOOCs: orient in week 1, declare in week 2 as I am modeling here, network in week 3, and followed by cluster and focus in the last two weeks).

Here, Dave says in 6 minutes how you should embark on his, or our, cMOOC

Participants could network in any MOOC they choose, including in any other EVO course (all would have some elements of MOOC to them). However, Dave’s course a.k.a. Rhizo14, is the quintessential model for what I feel a proper cMOOC should be. It is completely individualized, as indicated in its tag line, the community is the curriculum.  As with MultiMOOC, there is no hard-fast curriculum, only some basis for cohesion. For example, in Rhizo14, Dave started out on the notion of Cheating as Learning,, and in the second week (in both Rhizo14 and MultiMOOC, as both started at about the same time) on the non-sequitur concept of Enforcing Independence,

In his second brief 6 min. intro to Week 2, Dave expands on his, our, approach to MOOCs

Week 3 in Dave’s course is on Declaring your Work, which I notice when I pull down its URL just now,, is empty. I relate to that; I haven’t updated MultiMOOC week 3 yet either. The reason I haven’t done so is that I had no idea when I started MultiMOOC 2.014 where the community would be driving the curriculum this far into the session (ours is a session, remember?). In the past, I’ve set out a syllabus and found that by Week 3 it had become irrelevant because the community had moved in another direction. So I was holding off doing that, and I am pleased to see now that Dave apparently has been biding his time as well.

Dave’s course is 6 weeks; our session is 5, so we are pulling Declaration week forward a bit, and this is what I am trying to illustrate in this post.  At the moment, I’m declaring my intention in this course to be to immerse myself as much as I can in Rhizo14 while reporting back, mainly through Twitter and Facebook, and through blog posts here, what I find along the way.  As I learn and convey what I am learning to others (which will help me to translate that learning into something concrete that I can use in presentations and writings I am committed to through the month of March) I will tweet my posts using these three tags: #evomlit, #multimooc, and #rhizo14.

I have made a very interesting discovery of a tool called TagsExplorer which I described at the end of my last post here,, and I think that this tool might help us all to visualize how (and if) our learning community (those who are tagging on #evomlit and/or #multimooc) develops over the 3 weeks remaining in this session.

I’ll talk more about what makes Rhizo14 tick over so enthusiastically in a post for Week 3, and that will entail showing evidence of how the community is driving itself (despite Dave’s best efforts to accommodate that 🙂 Hopefully more participants in MultiMOOC will join me in reporting through (even one) tweet(s) and blog post(s) their impressions of other MOOCs and EVO sessions they are participating in.

Our opportunity:

George Siemens has often made the point that his ideas on connectivism stemmed from a realization that each of his students was unique with unique reasons for taking his courses (as Ken Robinson says, in The Element, there are 8 billion unique “intelligences” in the world). MOOCs give us a framework, or an opportunity, to throw off others’ expectations of what we should be doing in a course. We take time to interact with one another, or read deeply, or dip in and get out, whatever, for ourselves, and for no one else. MOOCs make it OK to do that.


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