The ALT-C conference is always a bit of an annual highlight for me and many others in the UK learning technology community. It’s always a great place to catch up with old friends, make new ones and meet online ones in person. This year was particularly special for me as not only did I get a short paper presentation accepted but I was also one of the invited speakers. I even got to be interviewed by Martin Hawksey for ALT-tv. And, of course the highlight of the week for me was being awarded the ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Award.
I can’t begin to explain how much that recognition and validation of my work from my peers means to me. As I said in my post yesterday it is also a huge validation of the work of all my Cetis colleagues, and I hope goes some way to explaining the themes of my invited speaker session where I tried to emphasis the role of networks and sharing in allowing innovation and ideas to spread and thrive in our community. Have the space for thinking outwith institutional pressures is vital, and I really hope we don’t lose it.
Unsurprisingly there was a lot of talk about MOOCs over the three days, including my own session where I reflected on my own experiences of MOOCing and some of the strategies I have developed to navigate myself through various courses. There was a lot of discussion about dropping out, and if we should think of MOOCs as courses or as Stephen Downes said in his keynote, more like newspapers where it doesn’t matter if you don’t read the whole thing.
I’ve dropped in and out and even finished a few MOOCs now and to be honest I’m not sure it matters that much what you call them. If you are going to engage in any kind of learning you need to have time (and be realistic about that commitment). You also need the confidence to develop your own “learner driven strategies”. I think for a lot of people particularly in the educational learning technology community MOOCs maybe the first time in a long time that they have experienced what is traditionally seen as failure by not completing a course. We really do need to have some major mindshifts about “completion = success”. I could rant on about that for hours but won’t instead you can have a look at my presentation from yesterday where I examine my own experiences.