Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Experience as an Online Student-Take 2

Last year, I took a MOOC (massively online open course) focusing on an Introduction to Spanish, which I signed up for through Class-central.com. I wanted to see what it was like to walk in my students' shoes and take a class online. I learned a lot from my experience and though I succeeded in "passing" the class, I ran into many issues that stopped me from doing my best. See the post here.

Now, almost a year later I decided to take another online course. This time, for the fun of learning and because of the topic! The course is called "The Music of the Beatles". As a huge Beatles fan, I was intrigued and excited to take this course. And, the experience was completely different from my online Spanish class.

I started excited and continued strong through all six weeks of the course. Each week I watched all the lectures, participated in the discussion board, and aced all the quizzes. I ended the course with a 97% and much historical knowledge I did not previously have about the Beatles. The course did not get pushed to the side in my mind and I never failed to make time for it. It was easy to be highly engaged in this course and I have several ideas about why.

What worked well:
  • Interest in the topic
  • Getting to know you survey to begin the course, and asked to introduce ourselves to our classmates
  • Class map where each student pinned where they are from (over 10,000 students took this course!)
  • Discussion board which was student-led where the professor actively participated as well
  • Facebook community for the course created by students. This was a big plus for me, as I am on Facebook all the time, I would see posts on my news feed about what my classmates were discussing so I would think about the course several times a day.
  • Students actively learned as a community by researching and sharing external resources from youtube and other sources that deepened the concepts we learned in the lectures
  • Video lectures where the teacher showed his face and his personality! Videos were informative, broken into small chunks, and visually appealing.
  • Released course content one week at a time with deadlines
  • Instant feedback from quizzes

I believe these practices helped me be the best online student I could be and I hope to employ as many as I can into my own course.