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Kim Aling

ocTEL MOOC activity 0.2

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·         What characteristics do you think the participants in this course have in common?

There is a wide range of participants and not only from HE.  There is a growing number of FE participants and people involved in professional training, such as nursing.  People are from both educational institutions and commercial companies.  There are people across the world.  However, we are all involved in TEL in some way and we all have an interest in elearning, sharing our ideas and learning more. We are a community of practice, albeit a very large one.

·         In what ways might they be different or atypical of other groups of learners that might be important or relevant to you?  

The reasons for doing this course are diverse, but I suspect that many are here because they want to learn more about TEL or they want to see what it’s like to participate in a MOOC.  I’m doing this for both reasons. My typical learners are OU students and in the main they also want to be involved in a course to learn more about their subject.  As with OU students we are also fitting this in around other commitments.  As with OU students there is a certain amount of independence expected.  However unlike the typical OU student the level of support of much less and so the level of independence is much more.  The course material is easily found and we know what to do, but the communication aspect is much more chaotic, at the moment.  Not for us the structured forums in tutor groups and a friendly supportive tutor presence.  I suspect moderation of the ocTEL forums is a full time job for several people, if moderation is undertaken.  This course possibly represents a community of practice better than an OU course as it has attracted people from within a particular set of field from education.  Students on OU courses are often following different qualification pathways. Some courses are undertaken because they are mandatory, which can mean interest is much lower. The ocTEL participants have gradually divided themselves into sub-groups of specific interest, such as the distance learning group and the FE group, which will be interesting to watch to see if distinct groups do develop and good discussion takes place.  At the moment there’s little discussion, few replies to posts.  People are still testing the water no doubt.

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