The HandsOn MOOC pilot gets underway…

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Image Credit: Bob Cotter  CC BY NC

Curiosity amongst teachers in all phases of higher and further education is growing about the value of Massive Open Online courses (MOOCs ). Many now are being offered by well known name universities who may not give you credit towards a degree, but will often award certificates of participation, or even a grade, which can also be important for a teacher’s professional development, which will ensure recognition of their achievement. .

The teachers who joined the HandsOn pilot on Monday January 13th now have the opportunity to influence the design and content of a MOOC that aims to deliver some aspects of more conventional courses in an innovative way. Having completed their pre-pilot questionnaires the teachers will start with the first learning unit, which is about two popular creativity techniques – mind mapping and concept mapping. They are offered some information about the theoretical background of concept mapping and mind mapping directly from the originators of the techniques. In addition they gain an impression of how the two mapping techniques are being used for enhancing creativity in classroom. They will also will be exploring and sharing additional resources collected, and will be creating mind maps and concept maps with dedicated software that they can use in their practice.

The good news is that only three days into the MOOC the teachers are already choosing and discussing the tools they have selected, and and how they plan to use them in the classroom, whilst making some very astute observations:

“maybe we can say mind maps seem to be more related to creation (new solutions, a look to the future) while concept maps are looking more for consolidation of knowledge (reproduction of solutions already known, a look back)”

“Connection between memory (needed in learning process) and visual factor has an enormous relevance in mind mapping technique.”

As the MOOC progresses and the participants build and share their knowledge, I am sure we will have many more interesting developments to report from the course.

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