MOOCs the Future of Teacher Professional Development #MOOC #EdX #Coursera

This summer I tried out a MOOC! After hearing so much about them the last few years and actually missing being a student since I completed my masters and all the AQs I needed. I decided to go with edX (www.edx.org) as I saw the course “Teaching With Technology and Inquiry: An Open Course For Teachers” (https://www.edx.org/course/teaching-technology-inquiry-open-course-university-torontox-inq101x). At first I was a little hesitant that it was offered by University of Toronto as my undergrad, B.Ed., M.Ed. and an AQ have all been from there but I knew it was going to be high quality and I could try another institution later.

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The reason I really believe in the idea of MOOCs, is that they are free, open to anyone who wants to learn and not requiring prerequisites. It is not just important for teachers but anyone who wants to learn from a University. It can be for professional growth or just for fun. It is also good because non-teachers who don’t qualify to take such courses at university are able to learn and benefit. Anyone in the EdTech field would benefit from understanding technology and inquiry.

The course was massive at the start, I think they said over 5000 people signed up. The weekly videos that Jim Slotta and Rosemary Evans posted were excellent, explaining the concepts, and best of all I could watch anytime. Rosemary also had her staff do videos in live classrooms, and showcase teachers actually modeling inquiry with technology. This was very beneficial as it gave teachers around the world an idea of how to implement it. The weekly tasks involved a lot of self-reflection, which was actually useful if you watched the videos and participated in the discussion forums. I did learn a lot from other teachers in the discussion forum but with so many people in the course that is one area I got a little lost. There was also a design strand where we got to collaborate on a lesson together. The idea was great but working online with a group of teachers bouncing in and out of groups was a little challenging. We got to critique other lessons and then add to our own. They will be putting a wiki together of the lessons to share.

Overall I really enjoyed the course and learned just as much if not more than a regular University course of AQ Course. You definitely have to be motivated, as I know if I paid $700 I would be sure to be on time but I didn’t have this problem as I stuck to the course deadlines. I ended up paying to be verified which I believe was $40, which goes to support the edX site to keep offering free courses. I highly recommend taking this course! Thank you Jim and Rosemary for a great course!

I am on to MOOC number 2, this time trying Coursera “Emerging Trends & Technologies in the Virtual K-12 Classroom” (https://www.coursera.org/course/k12virtualtrends) with Melissa Joell Loble, University of California, Irvine. I am excited to get a United States perspective and that of another institution. Stayed tuned for a review on that.

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Looking for another cool Mooc?

Check out: “Electronic Interfaces: Bridging the Physical and Digital Worlds” “Learn by doing: analyze, design, and build electronic interfaces between sensors and a microcontroller to build a robot or your own creation in this hands-on lab course.” https://www.edx.org/course/electronic-interfaces-bridging-physical-uc-berkeleyx-ee40lx-0

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