First Session: Introduction on Learning Creative Learning

The first session of the course, an introduction to Learning Creative Learning, was held yesterday at 5 pm Finnish time. It was quite convenient: I got home from work early and watched the introduction lecture from my home sofa with my dog.

YouTube’s live streaming was used for the session. Technology-wise, it worked quite well: I was disconnected only once. I missed the first ten minutes of the lecture, but it was easy to watch the beginning from the recorded YouTube video afterwards.

During the lecture I heard that some people were using HipChat for live discussion. Didn’t try that.

It was interesting to follow Mitchel Resnick’s lecture on “lifelong kindergarten”. While the introduction didn’t give too many new thoughts, I felt somewhat privileged to listen to one of the top academics in the field of new media. That’s actually one of the key ideas of good MOOC’s: you get to see and hear great people from top universities. (And, vice versa: I wouldn’t participate to a MOOC organized by an uninteresting university/lecturers.)

While the course’s topic is interesting in itself, to me it’s more interesting to try different ways of studying online. As mr. Resnick reminded in his introduction, the whole consept of MOOC’s is new to everyone. So, while we learn about learning processes, we also learn many do’s and dont’s of online studying methods.

And what online studying methods are used in this course? That’s up to us students.

There are thousands of participants in the course. The participants are divided to small groups, with our group being number 6 (hence the name LCL6 in the blog’s URL and title). The small groups can organize themselves as they wish. Some use Facebook Groups. Some send e-mails. And many – like our group #6 – use Google+ for doing things together. I haven’t really used G+ before this course, so it’ll be interesting to see how using Google+ works out.

Our group is a group of students fromĀ Aalto ARTS’ Media Lab. That gives us at least two advantages. 1) We’re all from Helsinki, Finland. And 2) while all of us haven’t met in real life, thanks to our studies, we’re already a loose community with somewhat similar backgrounds. While organizing and participating to this course is rather easy for us, I’d imagine it’ll be far more difficult for many groups to get organized.

And, from my perspective, getting the small group organized is very essential.

While there’s a common Google+ group for the course and even a Google map of participants, I’m not feeling that I’m a part of something big. I do feel that I’m following an online course with my own small group, but people outside my group are unexistent and uninteresting at this point. I’m interested to see if this feeling changes during the course.

I hope it will.

I’ll finish with some +’s and -‘s.

Pluses

+ YouTube streaming worked well.

+ The introductory lecture served its purpose: I’m eager to learn more, and I know what I should do next.

+ Our own small group has organized well.

Minuses

– The dividing to small groups didn’t work perfectly. At this moment I don’t know who are in my group – I don’t even know how many people there are in my group.

– There has been many e-mail problems. All of the messages sent to groups haven’t got through. There were also glitches with registrations: using Gmail worked, but registration using Aalto University’s e-mail system didn’t work.

– I didn’t get a feeling that there are thousands of people doing this course with me.

– Since there are no rewards for taking this course, not even a printable diploma, it might be difficult to find enough incentive to really do something for this course. Is learning in itself a reward big enough? I know I’m a bit lazy learner, so this might be a challenge.