This presentation will discuss some of the practicalities of developing a flexible open course with international collaborators, while at the same time ensuring that the course is inclusive. Last year the three of us facilitated a sort of cMOOC called Digital Writing Month (DigiWriMo). As educators and veteran cMOOC participants, all three of us had strong ideas about how we wanted this event to unfold – we were keen to involve as many non-traditional voices as we could, as well as leaving space for participants to organise activities for themselves.
This presentation will begin with thinking about the motivations for putting together a course like this – explaining why we were so keen to facilitate DigiWriMo and generalising our experience out to open courses in general. We’ll also encourage the audience to share their experiences of organising similar courses. Next we’ll discuss the logistics/practicalities of organising and facilitating such courses (giving practical examples from DigiWriMo and other such events as appropriate), including:
How to ensure a balance and diversity of voices within a course;
How to design a course so as to have a clear structure, while at the same time allowing space for “spontaneous creative riffing” (Levine, 2016) to emerge;
How to plan synchronous and asynchronous activities for an international audience (the challenge of multiple time zones);
How to ensure that activities do not unintentionally exclude because some tools are not available in all countries;
How to manage potential cognitive overload of both facilitators and participants.
We’ll then move on to look at some of the collaborative tools that are available – both at the planning and delivery stages of courses – and give some examples of how these can be used. As well as looking at what has worked well for us, we’ll also look at times when the technology did not work as we expected, and reflect on why this was. We’ll also talk about the need to ensure that backup plans are in place just in case they are needed.
We end with a group discussion, asking attendees for their thoughts and suggestions about how to these events as inclusive and collaborative as possible, and to share their experiences (good and bad) of courses such as this.
Introduction: who we are and background to the presentation
Motivations for facilitating open, online events
Logistics of facilitating open, online events
Bali, M., Honeychurch, S. and Hodgson, K. (2015) Creation, Curation, collaboration: Digital writing month 2015 – Hybrid Pedagogy. Available at: http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/hybridped/digital-writing-month-2015/ (Accessed: 28 May 2016).
Levine, A. (2016) A #DS106 spontaneous Breakout of flag hands. Available at: http://cogdogblog.com/2016/05/flag-hands/ (Accessed: 30 May 2016).