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April 4th, 2011

Starting MobiMOOC

I just joined a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) about mobile learning, a particular interest of mine. (Short definition of mLearning: How do we teach people things using mobile devices?) What's a MOOC, you ask? I had the exact same question. Watch a quick 4-minute white board-style video that explains it.

The course is called MobiMOOC. I've never been in a MOOC before (this was the first time I'd even heard of the concept), and I feel a bit like I'm wandering around lost while drinking from the fire hose of mobile information.

From the first couple days, I can see there are several components to the course - the wiki (above), a mailing list (which is currently going nuts with introductions and initial mailings), people writing all over the place in their own personal blogs, and live classroom meetings. Fortunately, there's another short video about how to navigate MOOCs.

From the video, I clearly was correct that one component is posting thoughts and ideas in your own blog about the course (Step #2 of how to navigate: Declare a space) as part of having a space to engage with others about the course material. No reason to spin up an entirely new blog spot, so LiveJournal it is. I'll tag all MobiMOOC posts with their own tag so they can easily be sorted.

So in the spirit of the first week's questions, tools I use regularly (> 1/week) on my Droid Incredible (HTC):
  • Email (personal & work): Probably my #1 use for the phone
  • Firefox: For Internet access, primarily "I wonder what X means", "Where can I find Y", or "Which of us is right about this fact we're arguing about at the pub?"
  • Text messages: To sync with friends and plan outings.
  • Google Maps: I get lost easily, and voice turn-by-turn directions are fabulous.
  • Astrid: A task list to keep track of things I should be doing.
  • OurGroceries: A shared app between Jeff and I where we can put groceries on a shared list and cross them off when we purchase. It works for both iPhone (which he has) and Android (mine).
  • Parkdroid: So I don't lose my car when I park. See a theme about direction sense here?
  • Evernote: To keep track of random little notes to myself.

    And some cool tools that I use less often:
  • Alarm clock: Mostly used for travel
  • Pandora: My own radio for the car or while working out.
  • EverPaper: Android version of Instapaper. Bookmark a page on my computer and it is available on my phone. Like magic!
  • Conventionist: An awesome little app that lets you download convention guides and mark which sessions you want to go to, see maps of the expo floor, etc.
  • TripIt: Forward a trip receipt to my account, have plane and hotel information available on my phone.
  • Yelp: To figure out where to eat when I'm away.
  • Dropbox: To sync files between my different computers and my mobile.

    This is a bit older talk (2008) and a bit longer (~60 minutes), but it really feels to me like a MOOC is a variant of what Michael Wesch talks about in this lecture. It's a fantastic description of how people ought to learn and has a lot of applicable ideas outside the university setting (such as in my area of Technical Writing and Documentation).

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