One side effect of trying out my first MOOC and then doubling down for a second simultaneously is that I’m finding myself standing in my students’ shoes. Not only am I confronting the need to learn new knowledge and skills, but time management rears its head… I still haven’t made it back to review the live Digifoot12 session from Tuesday. That’s not to say that I’m not learning Digifoot12 content, since the various information channels continue to flow in (Email updates and the links I follow from those, and Twitter is now much more varied and active with the #Digifoot12 hashtag), but I’m aware of feeling really behind by virtue of not “knowing what we did” on Tuesday, yet.
New blogging point: I inadvertently created double notification yesterday with this blog. I responded to a comment (hooray for comments!) and when asked agreed that I would like to be notified via email about comments to this blog. This was redundant. I’m _already_ notified as the blog owner. (Duh.)
Verena’s blog post at http://minidigitalfootprint.wordpress.com/ for July 10 (Can I read everything?) is hugely helpful to me in understanding some of the structure (and design decisions) underlying the development of this MOOC. I notice she gives me a shout-out; much appreciated!
Being in the Google Power Searching MOOC at the same time as Digifoot12 is going to cause me to mix observations in this blog, because they run together in my mind. I don’t feel too badly about that, because (at least to me) the ideas are relevant to the larger PLN/MOOC context.
I’ve discovered that there _is_ a way to send feedback to the course creators (of the Google Power Searching MOOC) at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/powersearching-with-google-forum [and that others besides myself objected to some of the “right” answers in that early quiz] .However, this brings to light a new problem: I’m not familiar with Google Groups, and I’m having trouble figuring out how to do this, as well as how to post other material to share with my classmates in that MOOC.
Running over the bits in my mind: I’m signed up for Google’s “Power Searching with Google” MOOC. I’m receiving the course emails and participating in the course activities. I have a Google account and regularly use many Google products, so if I’m not registered for this Google Group I must at least be eligible.
However, I’m not familiar with Google Groups — and one of the activities asks that I post information to the class forum. I can follow the link to the forum. I can read other people’s posts from the class. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to post, though – as near as I can tell, I’m not a member of this particular group. I would swear that I have clicked on everything and pulled down every menu available to me.
OK — I’m trying to heed the advice in the forum home page that says “Make sure to join the group in order to post questions or reply to other posts.”. Sounds good to me. How do I join? I can’t find a “join” link anywhere. When I read up on Google Groups and try to find this group through searching Google Groups (in an effort to use the “join” link there), no such group is found in the search.
I’d ask for help in the class forum — but then, I’d have to be a member of the group in order to post there, wouldn’t I?
What’s useful about this? It reaffirms that absolute need to be sure that help with the course infrastructure is available in the early stages of a course. In the case of my teaching, I use exhaustive “handouts” on how to use the system coupled with the ability to email or telephone a live human. I’m not sure that a large MOOC could really manage the live human part…. but in this case, they could certainly do with some “how to check to be sure you’re a member of _this_ group” and “how to join _this_ group” handouts or web pages, since the generic “how to join Google groups” info is proving inadequate in this case. I do realize the answer is probably right under my nose — but I’m not dumb, and I’m obviously missing it. I feel for my students on this one.
[One of my colleagues was recently having trouble with her home Internet connection. Whenever she was finally able to reach tech support on the phone, they persisted in telling her to go to the company web page to begin the troubleshooting process –whereupon she kept having to point out to them that if she could get on the web in the first place there would be no need for her to contact them for help, since the problem was the absence of a working net connection. This issue with not being able to post on the class forum to ask for help feels a lot like that.]
Final disclaimer: My frustration in this case is not with Digifoot 12. It’s with the Google Power Searching MOOC. But I believe the point is absolutely generalizable.