Feeling Overwhelmed or Not Keeping Up?

A few people I have spoken to about the ocTEL course are feeling a bit overwhelmed and behind already, (me included). I think there are a few things worth remembering:

  1. Everyone will engage differently. Don’t compare yourself with some of the more prolific bloggers or contributors. Some people will just read the materials and listen in to some of the webinars, and that is totally fine, they will still learn a great deal. Others will not blog at all but may part in the discussion in the forums or on Twitter, – that is ok too. Some people will do a lot one week and nothing the next: still absolutely fine. There are no strict rules with MOOCs, no right or wrong ways to engage and no one will chase you up.
  2. No one can engage with everything. Not even the course leaders and tutors. It is impossible. Do what you can, when you can. Some engagement is great. Don’t feel guilty about not doing everything.
  3. If you miss a week for any reason or don’t do much one week, don’t worry, just move on. If you wait until you catch-up to move on, you never will. You can always revisit the earlier materials later or after the course has finished. If you move on when the next batch of resources come out you will keep up with the discussions etc.
  4. Don’t give up even if you have done nothing or very little yet, it is not too late to join in. Perhaps do the ‘if you only do one thing this week’ in the sections you haven’t engaged with yet then move on.

About Sue Folley

Academic Developer, interested in effective use of technology in teaching and learning, Web 2.0 and social networking. Completed an EdD about tutors experiences of teaching online.

Posted on April 25, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hi Sue
    Great practical advice which I agree with although number 2 bothers me somewhat. Why would you design a course in which no one could engage with everything. There seems to a trend to have so much in MOOCs that it is inevitable that participants feel overwhelmed which can lead to disengagement. I agree you probably won’t be able to keep up with all the discussion but what about content and activities? Does the overwhelming nature of the discussions make the content & activities appear more overwhelming than they actually are? When I teach lecturers about teaching practice I encourage them to make large group face to face teaching situations feel smaller so that students are more able to engage. So likewise in a MOOC, how can we make the massive feel small and comforting for the learner?
    I have put some of my own thoughts about MOOCs at http://neilslearning.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/moocs-are-they-really-working/

  2. Thanks for your comments Neil, and just to quickly repsond to your first point. The way this course is oganised it provides a lot of suggested resources to engage with, extra materials and choices on things to do. I meant the participants don’t have to engage with every resource and interact in every possible way. It is impossible just to keep up with the discussion forums and blog posts. So by ‘everything’ I meant both all the possible resources that the course provides as well as all the participant-generated content.

    I do think you raise some really good questions about how we can make participants feel they belong to a course.. I will ponder on that :).

    Thanks also for your link to your blog post, I haven’t read it yet but will.


  3. Great advice Sue – perhaps this or something like this could be included in the next iteration of ocTEL for week zero and week one. In Identifying learners’ needs we have been talking about being explicit about expectations – this is a case in point.

  1. Pingback: MOOCs – are they really working? | Neil's Learning Journey

  2. Pingback: Keep moving (and skipping, if necessary) | OCTEL

  3. Pingback: Understanding Learners’ Needs – Week 2 Wrap-up | OCTEL

  4. Pingback: Keeping up #ocTEL

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