I’m a week or two behind and struggling to catch up. One of the main reasons I’m falling behind is I’m simultaneously enrolled in another library-related MOOC on metadata (while working full-time too). So I thought I’d write a blog post about this, and how the two MOOCs I’m doing differ from each other.
I’m enrolled and actively participating in both The HyperLinked Library and Coursera’s MOOC on Metadata, by Jeffrey Pomerantz from the University of North Carolina. Juggling both at once is difficult. I don’t think there’s any magic solution to dealing with the workload.
But ultimately it comes down to priorities. Through the #HyperLibMOOC and #MetadataMOOC Twitter tags, I’ve been getting into discussions with several others who are involved in both MOOCs. @carliebrary said to me that her focus was on “…consuming what I think will stick in my brain right now, nothing more”.
— Carlie Graham (@carliebrary) September 20, 2013
I think she’s right. There’s an endless wealth of content contained in these MOOCs, and to mentally absorb all the information available is almost impossible. What’s most important is the things learnt and the connections made that will stay with us in six months, two years, maybe even ten years!
It’s an interesting experience studying both subjects at once because of the contrast between the two.
The Metadata MOOC resembles one of those online portals for a typical university subject. The only difference, really, is that tens of thousands of students are enrolled, and we are all studying the content online (for free!) rather than on campus. The central focus is on the weekly lectures, which are quite dense.
Although there is plenty of social interaction available via the forums, networking seems more an afterthought than a feature of the course. The assessment takes the form of a linear weekly set of quizzes. These features are not all necessarily negative – the structured nature of the course makes it simple to follow the natural progression of content, even if the content itself is rather dense at times.
By contrast, the HyperLinked Library MOOC is dynamic, fluid, and has a greater focus on the social networking aspects. Much of it is familiar because of our experiences with Twitter and Facebook. Although there are weekly lectures, these are not the core of the course. For me, the lectures primarily serve to provoke us into thinking about issues and inspiring us to create content or interact with others’ content – whether that content be blog posts, updates, comments, or sharing videos and articles.
This content creation and interaction is the core aspect of this course, for me. We each have a soapbox to stand on (via our blogs) to put forward our ideas, and I feel there are just the right numbers of people enrolled and just the right level of enthusiasm to maintain this little ecosystem where we bounce ideas off each other and exchange real life examples of those ideas. Though maybe “bounce” is the wrong term, I think we are genuinely absorbing each others’ ideas.
These elements are mostly positive. However, the sheer proliferation of user-created content across the board does result in a FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) type of dynamic. Although I may have watched the lectures for one week, I always feel like there’s an infinite number of fellow students’ blog posts I should peruse or comment on. You could set a target of reading one other blog post, all the blog posts in your Homeroom, but where should you draw the line? As the aforementioned discussion on Twitter mentioned, you just have to focus on whatever will stick in your mind, I guess!