Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tweeting, Sharing and Blogging ... 3 keywords for DiffiMOOC

Sharing is a fundamental part of the massively open online courses "MOOCs". It is not only sharing resources, but  experiences, recommendations, and attitudes as well. I have known about Differentiating Instruction through Technology "DiffiMOOC" from another MOOC called Educational Technology and Media "ETMOOC" started a week ago. These MOOCs are open spaces in the clouds where people can meet together in one place to share, research, connect, discuss, interact and reflect. By doing all these activities, they learn and build new knowledge merged with real personal experiences. It is the power of socialization that makes MOOCs unique and different kind of learning. Technology provides us with a variety of tools that help us to connect and create networks. Twitter, for example, is a great communicative tool that helps me a lot to meet a lot of people with the same interests. DiffiMOOC helped me to use it effectively for the first time. We use it to introduce ourselves (Here is my intro), share resources and products, ask questions, create PLNs, give feedback and many more things. Google Group is another tool that we used during the first week. It is a way to interact and discuss topics in detail as Twitter allows just 140 characters. This means that we start small by using Twitter and grow more via using Google Groups. This step of interaction via Twitter and Google Group is involved in all stages diagrammed below:

Retrieved on Jan 22, 2013 from here

Maybe I would like to meet new people before researching, curating and sharing. This is what we did on last Tuesday, the day before starting this awesome experience. Interaction can also happen during the output stage through reading posts and leaving comments. These comments are very valuable for each one of us; the writer of the post and the writer of the comments themselves. I think that commenting can be an outcome of our learning, understanding and digesting this huge flow of information. To sum up, we can go through these processes not as a sequential step model from input to interaction and then output. This is one of the outstanding features of MOOCs. You can start wherever you want and working on your pace. 

Once we got connected to each other, we were introduced to some tools for sharing and organizing resources, e.g., Diigo, Delicious, Pinterest ... etc. This could be a great way for finding rich and suitable input about the topics we are going to talk about. Lee Graham (Our Instructor) recommended to use Diigo. Really, it is a great tool for bookmarking, highlighting, creating lists and groups, taking notes and other features that can help us organize our new learning experience more easily. I have created a diigo list for the first week called "What is MOOC?" I shared some articles, posts and videos about what MOOC is and what we need to succeed in MOOCs. At the same time, I joined Sandy's diigo group for DiffiMOOC where we can collaborate with each other to create a resourceful space for us and for other people who follow us. 

Until now, we interacted via Twitter, Google Group and built a good background through sharing resources via Diigo. I think that it is time to transform all what we have done and learned in recognizable products. Blogging was one of the suggested tools for the output stage. I have been blogging since 2010. It is not an easy job to start a post, but you can't stop writing once your first post gets published. You don't only develop your reading and writing skills, but creative and reflective thinking skills as well. Blogging experience goes far from just writing some sentences.  It carries both cognition and emotion; what you learn and what you feel. We will use it here to respond to questions and reflect on our experiences. 

These are the 3 things we did in the first week and will continue to do throughout this course. The more you tweet, share and blog, the more you connect, gain and learn. This is my advice to novice people who want to participate in such MOOCs. I tried both xMOOCs and cMOOCs (Read Lori's post to know more about the difference between them) and found that there are some characteristics we need to succeed in such massive open online courses. I read some posts by my colleagues (e.g., Aktwin, ChancyzahrtLindsey, Lori, and Technology in Mathematics and Education) and found some common buzzwords such as openness, positive attitudes, organizing, setting goals ... and more. My list is not different from theirs, but l prefer to express my experience with MOOCs using a concept map (Click here to view it in a new window): 

I think that I completed all the tasks required in week 1. Here is a summary list of what I have done in points:
  1. I created an intro using Smore.
  2. I tweeted all the week sharing resources, asking questions, and following people to create my PLN. The hashtag of our course is "#diffimooc".
  3. I already have a Diigo account. I just created a diigo list for the first week sharing resources about what MOOCs are and how to succeed in them. I also joined Sandy's diigo group for the same purpose.
  4. I joined our Google group and interacted with people leaving some comments.
  5. I successfully managed to access our wiki to be ready for the coming weeks' collaborative projects.
  6. I already have a blog. I didn't need to set up  a new one.
  7. I posted my first week reflection answering an essential question that was about the characteristics we need to be successful in this MOOC.
  8. I created a concept map using Bubbl.us to sum up the characteristics of a successful MOOCer.
  9. I read some posts of my colleagues and left comments waiting for responding and interacting.
Thanks so much for reading my post. I'm waiting for your comments and questions.  I will be so happy to get connected and keep discussing.


  1. Azhar - you have completed a lot for one week of the course! I'm impressed with the other tools you've brought in such as your embedded concept map (and a collaborative one at that!) as well as great links to posts and articles that have really stood out for you! You are right when you discuss the idea that different tools (outputs) are appropriate for different conversations. Blogs, wikis and twitter are all very flexible, personalized tools. You choose the most appropriate tool that will contribute most effectively to the particular type of conversation you are having. I look forward to working with you more in our wiki group!

  2. Dear Tracie,
    Thanks so much for dropping by. I agree with your idea about personalized tools. We choose tools that suit our learning goals and our skills.

    It's a great pleasure to work with you!