My MOOC experiences

conversations and learning in the digital world


My thoughts on the videos #edcmooc

Here are some first thoughts on the videos:

Bendito machine

First thought… Moses coming down the mountain with the commandments while people perform rituals. Then people worshiping the next big thing in technology and replacing it with the old one.

I also felt that the characters/people in the video just worshiped it blindly without quite understanding it? Going with the masses kind of thing.

The best part was people casting aside the person who got them the technology only later to worship it. Is it a parallel to showing disdain with any new invention and then being a slave to it?

Definitely dystopian.


I loved this short movie. I think it was a utopian outlook. The protagonists are shy and lonely. Then they discover the magic bag. In the offline/normal world they would not venture out or be as free and open. The magic bag (the metaphor for technology) enables them to be themselves and connect (pun unintended) with each other. However, this technology has just connected them with each other. The need for human contact is still as alive as ever and hence they decide to meet.

The boy’s bag get torn while he is swooning and he is not able to contact the girl anymore. I believe this represents the drawbacks of technology it made me think of disconnected internet. That’s all.

The anonymity of it all makes them bold and be their own self which they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to be. This video I believe represents technology as the enabling force or medium through which individuals connect with each other.


Dystopian view. However nature still has some kind of intrinsic or inherent power to affect us – the rut in which humans are stuck and the bird that cuts off the wire to build its nest. The nest is interesting. It’s built in a satellite dish as there’s no more natural habitat for the bird. It’s destroyed because of our technological advancement. The nest is made up from such ‘wires’. Shows the two drastic ends of the spectrum. The humans have created a world within and of technology and this has become their new world (the man glares as the sun comes up and finds it irritating) whereas the bird is using these wires to build its nest its natural surrounding.

During the power cut, people unplug, connect with each other. However a man there just keeps hitting his keyboard even though that is not going to make it work again. Shows our frustration at being disconnected with technology?

Another woman messages the protagonist and they get together. They get into the lift and go to see the ‘Amazing views’ where they get to see the overview of their mundane lives – a digital matrix of sorts. They have their back to the twinkling stars and are instead looking engrossed at the matrix. At the same time it’s interesting to see the bird soaring to such great heights to test and reach its physical capacity. Again, two extreme ends.

Humans stuck in their digital world however nature still holds the intrinsic or inherent power to affect/disrupt us.

New Media

Too grim a representation of our society crumbling under the weight of technology. First thought: digital brain drain, rewiring or restructuring of the brain. An extremist version of human race crumbling under the weight of technology. It reminded me of the movie Eagle Eye in which destroying the technology is essential for human survival.

What do you all think of these?


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On making connections #edcmooc #etmooc

Angela has come up with a very interesting post. She talks about biological elements oxytocin and adrenaline, that shape our social behaviour and how we can very well be on the verge of becoming addicted through our online activities to these two chemicals.

So here are some thoughts: If it is oxytocin, the love hormone, then would it fizzle out after the initial euphoria? After the initial obsession and then the following burnout, would we all just settle into a routine and not be that excited as we are now? Just wondering..

As for connecting with each other within this group, I agree when Ary says that the connections that we have formed within #edcmooc are more authentic. These connections were not forced upon us and are not based on what we know, how academic we are, whether we work in the same field and whether we live near each other. We did not form these connections with a certain goal in mind, only that we all wanted to learn and help each other out. Some things just clicked. Through our random chats, shared resources, we slowly built trust and then friendships. It didn’t just happen within the first few days. Ary has a very nice presentation on how it all started.

The connections I believe also formed, with our ability to share our thoughts out there and take any kind of responses and reactions from people. It is the vulnerability in these acts that I think affect how we connect with each other.

Angela wrote about Digital identity and connection where she discusses about the separation, if any, between real persona and digital persona and how we assume our digital identity. I think it is somehow easier for us to project our professional self comfortably within social networks, however we fear putting forth our personal thoughts even though they might be worth sharing.

Let’s pause and think about how we connect with people in real life. We don’t just like certain people or love them for a few of their qualities, we like them overall, all their faults and flaws included. I believe it’s the same with forming connections in the digital world. It would be impossible to follow someone’s blog, tweets, podcasts just for their sheer academic knowledge. There has to be something that you identify with. There has to be that something special, queer or even weird that you find matches you own thoughts, ideas, voice, interests etc. Until that happens you cannot form real connections that can last for a long time.

Another major component that forms the basis of our #edcmooc is that we are more collaborative than competitive. We have a very fine balance between collaboration and cooperation for example through group work (google docs, map, classroom, fb group, organising twitter chat). This seems to be the inherent design within our group as of now.

Of course this might all change once the course actually starts and we may have a more of an instructive approach where the course operators might ask us to adapt to some kind of a strategy to develop and enhance our learning.

With all this precourse activity, I wonder whether the facilitators would modify their approach towards this course. Would they take up a facilitative approach or would they be more instructivist exercising certain controls? I also wonder how we as a group would then adapt ourselves within this highly focussed collaboration.

Another twelve hours to go and then we shall know.


#etmooc my intro

Hi! am Madhura and this is my into for #etmooc.

I am an Instructional Designer and I have worked for 5 years in corporate creating elearning and training materials. That was two years ago in India. Then my husband got posted in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2010 and I have been freelancing for the past one year. My projects include storyboarding and developing courses in Adobe Captivate and Articulate.

In July last year one of my friends blogged about her mooc experience on Coursera and I signed up for my first mooc through – e-learning and digital cultures offered by Edinburgh University. Then I signed up for Fundamentals of Online Education – Planning and Application – both courses that start together.

By now, everyone is aware of the frantic activity that has taken place with #edcmooc from last November. So when my fellow edcmoocers Ary, Angela and Laurie asked me to join etmooc I told them I was too busy with two moocs and work.

Then I did something that we all do on the internet. I lurked. I checked out the site, went through their topics, calendar, activities, etc and I was converted. With work, home and looking after my 3 year old and two moocs, I signed up for #etmooc yesterday.

I had used Videscribe for building a mindmap with my activities around #edcmooc. So for my intro assignment for #etmooc, I wanted to try something new. I looked through edcmooc fb group tools doc and animoto caught my attention. When I went through their site, I realised that the free version offered only a 30 sec video but I found the tool very interesting and very easy to use.

So here’s my into for #etmooc


All in a day's work: Activities around #edcmooc

Everyone participating in e-learning and digital cultures mooc has been discussing how very excited they are and how interesting they are finding this mooc experience. As I said in my last post, am spending loads of time throughout the day experiencing what edcmooc is all about.

Ary has put up some interesting questions on our discussion at wikispaces. The very first one being how do we make our learning visible in digital spaces. Then I thought, here is a creative way to come up with a digital representation of all the activities that I end up doing in a single day, well most of them.

Thanks to Angela and Willa for introducing me to Videoscribe and also for inspiring me with your videos. Now here’s my video. It’s not very aesthetic with respect to graphics and pictures, but just an organised  mind map of all the activities that am sure we all are doing every day! I have also somehow managed to make it long enough so that the audio runs out! 😦 Hang on, it goes on a loop soon! 🙂


Signs you are addicted to your mooc #edcmooc

That too before the official start of the course! Being a part of this mooc has opened up a whole new world of networking and socializing. Perspectives – connections – experience is so exciting.

Just yesterday another email went out to the participants and since then all the groups, feeds and communities have exploded. Am sure the Facebook and Google servers must have noticed a hike in activity in our groups 🙂

As for me am addicted. Almost all the free time is spent in checking updates on FB, google, twitter, diigo, pinterest. Books are kept aside, lunch and dinner times pushed back, other activities = null!

Know the feeling? So my fellow participants, if you are experiencing any of the following, consider yourself hooked to mooc!

#You forget to eat: Ultimate tell-tale. It means you are not only distracted but that you want more updates than you want food!

#You can’t concentrate on work: Even as you read this post, you have checked out the google group for any new posts from fellow participants. You even refreshed twitter search for #edcmooc before coming back to this. 🙂

#You wake up in the middle of the night to check out latest discussions taking place in another timezone: Need I explain?

#You are obsessed with edcmooc: Any new post, discussion, video, article ou have to read it, comment and share.

#You feel you’re a wreck: A mooc of this size may very well lead to emotional upheaval. You find yourself bouncing between exhilaration, increased energy, sleeplessness, euphoria, as well as anxiety, panic and feelings of despair.