For the last two months, I was part of the SOOC, which means „Saxon Open Online Course“. As you may guess it’s a variation of MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) (corrected) . Actually this SOOC is one of first initiatives in Germany, which try to find out more about the phenomenon of MOOCs and if the concept can be integrated in an institutional university context with the option of credit points or other certificates through a practical approach.
Similar to MOOCs – more accurate to xMOOCs – the course consisted of online material such as links, videos, pictures and of course frequent blog posts from our mentors. There was a Twitter account and later also a Facebook account, where we could discuss and show our work. The course was divided in four blocks à two weeks. At the end of each block we could join a live session on Adobe Connect. These included presentations of experts and moderated discussions by our mentors afterwards. Students could join the discussion as well through a chat on the platform or comments on twitter.
Again similar to MOOCs the hosts tried to keep it open for everyone, so not just students and stuff from the participating universities (Dresden, Chemnitz and Siegen) joined the course, but also people all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland. All participants were able to get some sort of certificate although these were mainly limited to the three universities mentioned above. In some cases (if it was accepted) even participants from other universities or institutions could get CPs. (corrected)
In contrast to MOOCs these certificates are similar to the ones you can get in seminars or upgrade training courses, which touches a well discussed problem of MOOCs: what’s a MOOC-certificate worth. (updated)
It was quite an experiment for both sides. Some of the students did not even have contact with social media or online education before. And besides the challenges of the new technology it must have been difficult for our mentors to find material and task levels which would fit the students (without any experience) as well as the university stuff (without any experience) as well as the ones who already had been quite active on the web.
I liked the idea as much as the effort our mentors but also some students put into this course. For me – beside learning a lot of new things such as connectivism or PLEs – it totally reactivated my blog, which I started half a year ago. I found some people whose work I loved to read. I also experienced that there are some people who also liked my ideas – on my blog and on twitter. Referring to this for me the conexperiment worked out very well at the end in one way or another. Even though I have to admit, I lost track of the last two blocks, which was caused by a mixture of bad organizing (thinking I could do it later too many times) and a sudden bunch of work for my project. Since the material will stay available I will definitely have a look at this in the next weeks.
Furthermore I was inspired to experiment a little by myself by including social media in my seminar next semester. Therefore I will start a seminar wiki together with my students about communication theories and approaches of new media and technology. I will keep you updated how this works out …
I updated and corrected some facts and marked them. Thanks to Daniela!