Week 1 – and already playing catch up!!
Well it is week 1 and already I feel I am playing catch up. I was on holiday last week, so missed out on the introductory stuff, and am having enough trouble catching up with my normal work, so I am struggling to engage with the amount of material and resources for week 1. I imagine many of you feel the same, as it can be very daunting starting a new course, making new friends (not easy with 800+ participants and not meeting face-to-face), and engaging perhaps in new ways and using new communication methods.
I have taken part in a couple of MOOCs before, so have some idea what to expect, however, it is still difficult to try and set time aside and accept that you are not going read/engage with everything, and that is ok. The more you do engage, the more you will get out of it, BUT no one has the time to read all the discussion posts, blogs, resources etc, so you have to accept that fact. The best thing is to find a strategy that you know you can stick to.
- Decide how you are going to engage – many have set up blogs and some use Twitter, others may just contribute to the discussion forums. Decide what you want to do and set up the accounts if necessary.
- Decide when you are going to engage – again not easy, as this type of self-directed professional development often falls to become lower priority to other work. See when you can fit it in – it may be evenings, it may be an hour each morning, or if you are lucky and dedicated day/morning/afternoon each week. Put it in your diary/calendar and stick to it. Treat it like a face-to-face course that you have signed up for and keep that time free and use it for that purpose. Go somewhere else if necessary away from distractions.
- Decide how much time you realistically have to engage – and make sure you adapt your expectations accordingly. Accept the limitations, so if you only have an hour a week, you are not going to have time to read loads of blogs etc, you may only have time to do one thing and tweet or discuss that one item. Don’t be put off by the amount of possible work you could do on this. No one will manage all of it all of the time.
- Accept you won’t have enough time to engage with even a fraction of the content that is around. That is perfectly fine and normal. Someone doing this full time would still not be able to do that. See what interests you and learn something and discuss with others.
- If you miss a week or don’t have time to engage much, move on when then next materials come out – don’t try and catch up later as it is very unlikely to happen – unless you have a week booked off to dedicate to it. You are likely to fall even further behind and then give up.
- There is no right or wrong way to engage with a MOOC and no one will be chasing you up if you don’t engage.
- Try and find some others you can network with – via Twitter and blog posts. Many will be feeling the same as you, and feeling equally daunted and overwhelmed.
- Don’t give up and good luck!