A week in a MOOC

The first week of #PLENK2010 is nearly over. Just one Elluminate discussion to go (16.00 Zulu, 17.00 BST). This is my first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) (it’s actually my first experience of any form of formal learning for quite some time) but despite all the dire warnings about information overload issued at the start, I actually think I’ve settled in quite nicely. I have read all the readings (and made notes!), read the interesting blog postings that have been published in The Daily, posted comments on a few of them, lurked in the forum and contributed here and there, shared bookmarks with the plenk2010 bookmark group on Diigo, and even contributed a couple of aggregation tools (see earlier posts this week). So, I think I am on top at the moment (though I must confess to being too scared to look at Tweetdeck for the #PLENK2010 hashtag).

Of the readings, I’ve found Alec Couros’s description of a PLN (Couros, 2010) resonated best with me:

personal networks are the sum of all social capital and connections that result in the development and facilitation of a personal learning environment.

I haven’t yet drawn my PLE – an activity that seems to be a rite of passage for this course – but if I did, it would look a lot like Joyce Seitzinger’s (@catspyjamasnz) excellent image that is available to view on Flickr.

Another interesting idea was expressed in Dawley (2009), a paper introduced in a discussion on PLE Competencies . She describes levels of engagement in social networks on a scale that goes from network discovery through to leadership via lurking, contributing, and creating. I like to think that I’ve stopped lurking and started contributing and creating. We’ll see if I can reach a leading role.

Next week, we move on to comparing PLEs with VLEs!

The new academic year starts for me on 27th September, and as I’ll have less time then, at least during the day, I will probably find that my participation drops off. But I hope not, because I think I’ve got a lot to learn and contribute.


Alec Couros, 2010. “Developing Personal Learning Networks for Open and Social Learning” in G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emerging Technologies in Distance Learning, AU press, 2010. Available on-line.

Lisa Dawley, 2009. “Social network knowledge construction: emerging virtual world pedagogy”, On the Horizon, Vol. 17. No. 2. pp 109-121. Available on-line.

Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University

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