What is a MOOC?

MOOCs are “massive open online courses.” Ours is completely open and free of charge to anyone who wants to participate, and we like to think of it more as a “collaboration” than a course. We will provide many opportunities for participants to connect and form small groups to share and reflect on and share their work, which is what we think MOOCs should be all about. Your learning will be directed by you.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW3gMGqcZQc?rel=0]

What is a MOOC?; courtesy of Dave Cormier

How will the MOOC work?

You can join the MOOC by signing up here. Once you do, you’ll get regular emails telling you what’s going on in the MOOC. You’ll also want to check the blog and our G+ community for updates. There will also be optional live events, like webinars, Google hangouts, and Twitter chats. If you already blog or have your own space for writing and sharing, you can connect that site to the larger MOOC community.

How Will the MOOC Work?

Is there an instructor?

There is a team of seven facilitators plus several staff members at National Writing Project who will be guiding this MOOC and offering up suggestions for “makes” designed to get you creating something — tangible or intangible. Sometimes, we make things. Sometimes, we make meaning. We also believe in peer learning and hope that many small groups will form with their own group guides.

Who are the Instructors?

How do I contact you?

General inquiries can be directed to clmooc@nwp.org

How much time will this MOOC take?

The MOOC will run from June 14-August 2. For each Make Cycle, facilitators will lead a guided make and support you as you engage in your own make activities and your reflections afterward. But you can spend as much or as little time as you want on the MOOC. Everything is optional, and we hope that everyone will feel comfortable customizing the experience to their own needs. Having said that, if you want to participate fully in every activity for each Make Cycle, you could easily spend between 10 or more hours a week on it.

How Much Time Will it Take?

What is Connected Learning?

Connected Learning is a research and design-based approach to education. It is based on the learning principles of being interest-powered, peer-supported, and academically oriented. It is based on the design principles of being production-centered, openly networked, and shared purpose. And it espouses core values of equity, social connection, and full participation. You can read more about it here, but we’ll get into this more in the MOOC as well.


Connected Learning infographic; courtesy of Connected Learning TV

If this is free, who’s paying for it?

This MOOC is being generously sponsored by the National Writing Project’s Educator Innovator Initiative.

Is credit being offered for this MOOC?

No formal credit is being offered through the MOOC; however, you can explore local options for obtaining credit through your district or other institution.

What is a “make”?

A “make,” as we use the term, is any project or work where you are creating something. In this MOOC, we draw heavily from ideas from the maker movement, which emphasizes creation and empowerment. In this MOOC, possible “makes” could include something you write (a story, poem, play, etc.)  or draw (painting, comic, etc.) , a web page or app you create, something you bake, or a social network or connection you form. We’ll be connecting “makes” to the Connected Learning principles, and while we’ll suggest some “makes” you might do, we really hope that participants will come up with their own ideas for makes that are meaningful to them. Our suggestions for “makes” are merely that – suggestions.

What is a Make?

Who is the National Writing Project (NWP)?

The National Writing Project is a network of sites anchored at colleges and universities and serving teachers across disciplines and at all levels, early childhood through university. The NWP focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation’s educators on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning for all learners. (Also, our members are some of the most awesome people on the planet. Once you get to know a few, you’ll probably seek out NWP folks wherever you go.)

What does making have to do with writing?

Human beings are tool makers, and language, in both oral and written forms, is our primary tool.  As a design kit made up of symbols and grammatical patterns, language enables us to think, learn, communicate, build-relationships and make things happen in the world.  Thus, writing-as-making emphasizes a design approach to writing and helps us think about the ways we use words, images, sounds, and combinations of these codes to design new futures.

What is “open”?

Open means different things to different people, but open licensing means that content is licensed in a way that it is shareable, remixable, and redistributable by others as long as the source is cited. #clmooc is licensed under a CC BY license. This Digital Is article discussed why open matters.

How can I open license my own work?

As a content creator, you have the choice whether to open license your own creations. If you do nothing, the default “all rights reserved” copyright applies, making your work not easily shareable.

If you would like to share your work under an open license, you first need to choose a license. Some people prefer CC BY, a license that requires only attribution of the original source, because it is the most open, but you can use this tool to choose a license as well.

Then you just have to let people know that your work is open. You can do this in any of these ways:

  • Write your copyright notice, name, and license on your work, e.g. “Copyright Joe Smith, licensed under CC BY.”
  • Use the CC license tool and copy the HTML code they supply into the web site where you post your work. (This is a little more sophisticated way to let people know your work is license. It provides metadata to search engines like Google so they know your work is open as well.)
  • Use a posting site that supports open licensing, like the #clmooc Make Bank, Curriki, Slideshare, Vimeo, Flickr, etc., and indicate there that your work is open licensed.

Open Sharing