Thanks to the staff at Peer 2 Peer University, now you can learn the story behind the learning through this spiffy new report by P2PU’s Bekka Kahn, “How We Made The Mechanical MOOC – Freerange Learning With a Mechanical Guide.” From the report:
In late 2011 there was a rumbling in the air around the open education space… Massive, open, online courses were springing up all over the web. Two distinct types begin to emerge out of the MOOC model – Connectivist MOOCS (or cMOOCS) and Instructivist (or xMOOCS). Both were large-scale online learning experiments, with very different theories of learning behind them. In the open educational field, practitioners, activists and communities of interest were beginning to think about the component parts of cMOOCS and how they might work together, rather than adding to the emerging model of a proliferation of MOOC platforms, many of which seemed to be recreating the same thing repeatedly.
At P2PU, we’d been talking to our collaborators at MIT OpenCourseWare and had been struggling with the problem of how to move learners in a cohort through the exciting new world of the MOOC. “I’d read a blog about using RSS feeds as a kind of time-release capsule for OER material, which would send learners a reminder, and thought it was a really interesting idea, but I knew that RSS was a bit too esoteric for many students, and it didn’t solve the cohort problem,” says Steve Carson, Head of External Relations at MIT OpenCourseWare.
The solution, we soon realised, would look a little bit like a mailing list sign-up, without a platform per se, which would allow organisers to loop in the various component parts and run what is essentially a headless MOOC; no instructor was placed at the centre, and after a certain number of signups was reached, the MOOC itself would trigger messages to everyone in the group. Read on.