Let's Get Started Discussing MOOCs


Hello all,
Very nice to be here and learn something about your experiences.
I am Nilgün Özdamar Keskin from Anadolu University, which one of mega universities, ( about 2 million students). I have managed one distance practical course (registered between 2000 and 4000 open and distance students each year) for 5 years. I have some experience on large-scale open and distance course management.

I have some experienced on massive open online courses from Coursera, Udacity, Udemy especially on programming, design mobile apps, computer sciences. I should be honest :slight_smile: I just watch videos and reading text and use these materials for my courses’ resources. I registered lots of courses but I could not follow all of them, just glance over the reading materials. Unfortunately, 7/24 is not enough to follow the MOOCs. :slight_smile:

I participated actively two MOBIMOOC courses organised by Inge de ward. I enjoyed the courses and motivated me the engage with other learners via forums and social media. I was doing a PhD and I had some questions in my mind. I felt free myself to share my ideas and ask my questions to the experts. It was really an interesting experience for me.


While i am trying to work my way through this amazing conversations about MOOC experiences and ideas i stumbled upon @helmi.norman post about dealing with formal and informal learning in MOOCS and other online learning spaces.
In my experience most of the formal education and course design is focused on facilitating task-related learning and help learners to deal with the context and assignments. What we found at the same time that amongst students there is a lot of talk around the task (using email, Skype, Whatsapp type tools) on how to get things done. Where to find additional resources, asking for feedback and ideas on how to study, etc. etc. These more informal conversations were mostly invisible and unknown to the teachers and i think ti would we be very helpful if they would surface more and become part of the ‘formal’ task focused learning dialogue.

Helmi, I was wondering if your move to Facebook helped with this, or how in general we can use a networked, conversational or some other approach to connect student learners more of informal learning dialogues to help student learning.


@maarten Indeed, I like your idea on surfacing the learning dialogue for teachers, hence potentially become a formal approach for teaching.
From my experience, what I notice is that identifying the informal learning spaces that learners mostly use/prefer is crucial - as it allows us to tap into engaging them with the learning content/discussion. I have tested quite a few informal learning platforms (e.g. blogs, MOOCs) but the one that really attracts engagement is Facebook Groups - the responses gained were quick and higher than other platforms (MOOCs - moderate, blogs - least successful). My guess is that, the tasks were aimed in promoting collaboration - and FB worked well for that purpose - creating a informal learning sphere for them.


@helmi.norman I would be really interested in hearing more about your experience with Facebook in online courses. I have a colleague who uses it in her online courses, sometimes as an open group and sometimes as a closed group, but always moderated.

I have serious reservations about Facebook being used for an online course with no moderation and even with moderation. My experience is in line with Kirschner’s research which pointed to the tendency of Facebook to promote like-minded groups and homogeneity.

Kirschner, P. a. (2015). Facebook as learning platform: Argumentation superhighway or dead-end street? Computers in Human Behavior, 53, 621–625. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.011

I’d be interested to know what your thoughts are about this.


Good point @jennymackness I think that people tend to group everywhere. The grouping of likeminded has been a criticism of Twitter communities and hashtags as well. I think that you can work with that and try to open up your community inviting people of different opinions or back grounds to group.
We know that we learn from differences and by bringing together different perspectives - but we also no that if the differences are to big people want relate to each other.
I really enjoy FB groups as well as Twitter semi-communities.


@helmi.norman This is very interesting. A fully online Masters module I work on allows the learners to choose their discussion space for working through an online collaborative learning design. Those who choose to form an FB group report that with the nature of FB posts and replies they struggle to return to and find comments or information later. Given how they use the moodle forum discussions from other parts of the module, even quoting peer’s comments in assessed work, being able to return and consider discussions some time later appears to be important. I’d be really keen to hear how the FB learner groups you’re working with are solving this.


@jennymackness, interesting perspective there. In our class, FB Groups were used for discussing and showcasing progress of group work - which was to produce videos on an “open” topic. This differs a bit from the studies that Kirschner discussed. It would probably safe to presume that FB Groups could be used effectively for certain tasks (in our case, discussion of product-oriented work) and would be unsuitable for tasks that are argumentative-based discussions such as described in Kirschner’s work.


@Ignatia Thanks for the material. Looks interesting.
Here are some links on the Malaysia MOOC initiative and our university’s MOOC:

  1. Malaysia MOOCs https://www.openlearning.com/malaysiamoocs
  2. UKM MOOC https://www.openlearning.com/ukmmooc


Interesting finding there. We only compared between FB Group and the MOOC platform that we used - and students expressed that they preferred discussing in FB rather that the MOOCs. Yet, it would be interesting to see whether FB Groups compared to Moodle would be more preferred for discussions and types of tasks that would be suitable for each platform.