On Monday, I’ll be starting my first MOOC.
The MIT Media Lab is offering Learning Creative Learning – “a course for designers, technologists, and educators interested in creative learning” – as a massive open online course in what it is referring to as “a big experiment.”
A MOOC is a course put online by some learning institution available for anyone for free without counting for credit. (This NPR article is a really good summary of MOOCs.)
I’ve seen a few MOOCs that interested me, but none have motivated me to actually sign up and participate until now. I have a handful of goals and expectations as I navigate through this landscape over the next three months.
First, I work for a company that promotes learning, but I don’t know a whole lot about how or why people learn. Thankfully that isn’t my job function, but I’m still curious about it. Further, as perceptions about learning change, I hope this class will give me the tools to at least understand some of what goes into how to help others learn.
Second, as a martial arts instructor, I owe it to my students to be able to teach them how to defend themselves and be good citizens. I know why I like to practice martial arts. But I think the reasons I like to and the reasons that kids like to are completely different. I hope to get a better understanding of how to involve kids even more in my classes by being creative with my lessons, and to know why something has or hasn’t clicked with a particular student.
Finally, for nearly three years, I’ve wanted to attend grad school in some way. For the longest time, I’ve thought about packing up my bags and leaving in order to attend grad school in a physical location. However, I seem to be placing more roots where I’m at now, making it harder to justify the prospect of leaving. As I enter exploratory mode for grad school again, I’m going to open myself up to the possibility of taking online classes. By doing this MIT MOOC, I’ll be able to get a sample of what the time commitment and course workload is like without having to commit anything financially. One free class for no credit for one semester may not be comparable to a full master’s workload, but it’s a step in the right direction.
A MOOC, or massive open online course, is a class available online for free. A plus side is that you can take classes for free, but a downside is that you don’t receive any form of credit (yet).