Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Futurelearn Academic Network (FLAN) meeting #flnetwork

Today I'm attending a Futurelearn Academic Network (FLAN) meeting being held at the British Library (which has its own logoed water bottles, see pic). Futurelearn operates the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform that my university (Sheffield University), and numerous others, use. There is a special focus on collaborations, particularly with cultural organisations such as museums.
From this morning's session I'll just pick out a few points
- Issues around literacies in using MOOCs - one of the MOOCs had a real time discussion within the MOOC and found that participants were a bit confused about how this worked and how to engage with it.
- Thinking about the relationship between your pedagogic and media approach and the actual topic of the MOOC. Thus within the Propaganda and Idealogy in everyday life MOOC there was a backlash against using Flickr to share images from participants (because of privacy and surveillance issues).
- The way in which the tone of the conversation within the MOOC is set: there was some discussion around why discussion wasn't having much trolling, even when the topic was potentially contentious. This could be because a MOOC was flagged up as being "academic", because of the way moderators managed the conversation (through their comments and replies), or because of the tone set at the start of the MOOC (if people's comments showed empathy and respect from the start, making the MOOC a safe place).
- The importance of building on existing partnerships (using the example of Cardiff University's Muslims in Britain: Changes and challenges MOOC) and how a MOOC could lead to future partnerships.
- There were interesting questions about the way in which the physical and digital worlds interacted. For example, MOOCs "piggybacking off exhibitions" (and how, if the MOOC and the exhibition were on together, you would track whether people at the exhibition had participated in the MOOC). Someone who was involved in the Richard Third MOOC said there had been cross fertilisation, with people at the visitor centre promoting the MOOC, and the MOOC offering opportunities to promote the centre. A further example was the plan for the London Central Mosque linking to MOOC material from their printed guide. Someone representing the National Trust said they were interested in MOOCs helping them to tell more engaging stories, for deeper connection. There was also discussion about whether, if you had a live physical event during the MOOC, people would attend (I think the answer to that is "it depends".

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