Last night, I had the pleasure of hanging out with @readywriting, @martinlugton, @jessifer, and @patlockley on a Google+ hangout called #moocmoocbar. For those of you who don’t know, #moocmooc is a meta-, mini-, micro-, and (I guess) anti-MOOC where the question on everyone’s mind is “how many times can we turn this idea of online education inside out and still pretend we know what we’re doing.”
Before the Bar actually started, Martin and I actually got to talk about #8bitmooc quite substantially. I revealed all of the blog entries left on my queue for this week and talked about some of the deeper ideas behind how my course takes the best from both cMOOCs and xMOOCs to make something insane out of it. Martin is a good person to know, I suppose, since he runs the Connectivist MOOCs directory that could definitely help give me some visibility. 🙂
Visibility was one of the many important questions we came up with while participating in the Bar, mostly dealing with this notion of the Superstar Professor that is so prevalent in MOOCs. One reason for the success of these online courses comes specifically from the legitimizing effect of having big-name universities behind them. After all, if a student takes a CS1 class from Stanford, that is obviously more valid than if they take a silly course in 8-bit video game programming from some plucky grad student from North Carolina who’s taking way too long finishing his Ph.D. Isn’t it?
Jesse said that despite “best practices” saying that in an online environment, the teacher should have a video of his or herself to help give the students a face to recognize, #moocmooc intentionally went against that “belief” saying that it shouldn’t be about the professor – it should be about all of the students. If anything was fun about #moocmoocbar, it was that it reinforced the idea that a Google Hangout would be a great way to get my students on camera and talking for a weekly podcast! This fireside chat proved to be an excellent way to help demonstrate that at its heart, HybridPedagogy is a community, and that’s pretty awesome.
In a way, #8bitmooc is very focused around building an online community rather than emphasizing video lectures. I discussed previously in my post on UI, emphasizing the development of actual games with classmates as well as the discussion of games and the game development process. All such paths are equally valid in my eyes towards “passing” #8bitmooc. But what’s the best way to encourage discussion in a community? Forums (yuck)? Twitter? IRC? Smoke signals? These are all questions that I’ll need to answer before I go off and code yet another Django forum. 🙂