7 years ago I had a bright idea, wouldn't an open course based on Moodle teaching people how to use Google Earth using videos be a good outreach idea? I presented the idea at Moodle Moot '06 (UK) pretty much the same time the Khan academy got going. Unfortunately, my experiment never really took off (some of the reasons are discussed below) so I moved onto other things.
We (Geography at Southampton University) recently had requests from teachers about learning to use Google Earth so I thought it was a good time to update the videos having learnt things from the MOOC movement and release:
As a Moodle based MOOCette/miniMOOC. More details here.
Pedagogical Points: I've been very interested to follow the progress of MOOCs over the last few years and I thought I'd list some of the key changes I've implemented since my earlier release:
- Informal: informal and slightly messy presentation of videos is better than too much polish. The 'its like you're chatting to me in the room' effect I think Sal Khan of the Khan Academy does so well. And its much quicker!
- Audience Focus: If you can, address a particular niche audience. You're more likely to get a core following and can build out from there.
- Case Studies: In the case of helping people to learn to use software, provide examples of use. I talk about how you can use a particular feature of Google Earth in teaching in a section of my videos called 'teaching tips'.
- Formative Questions: I've used formative questions to make sure users follow what's going on. IMHO its all too easy to lose attention when watching a video and think that you've learnt something when you haven't. A couple of formative questions helps people track their learning IMHO.
- Testing: Its really helpful to watch someone try and use your materials to learn before you properly release your course, all sorts of things don't work how they should however experienced you are.
Anyway, nice to be back thinking about Moodle again, I haven't been around much recently