A familiar model in Coursera: e-Learning and Digital Cultures

I’m already a week behind in my readings/engagement for the University of Edinburgh’s E-learning and Digital Cultures Coursera course but who’s counting weeks? My study group is. Since I moved into the Library, I’ve been pleased as punch to be involved in lots of really interesting conversations about education, instruction, pedagogy, engagement, and user feedback. One such group of motivated learner-teachers is the study group of librarians that have formed in response to taking this course (see: Michigan Study Group in the class Discussions section if you’re taking the course).

Sheila MacNeil nicely sums up my overall thoughts on the MOOC itself. I’ve not actually ‘taken’ any Coursera courses, but I am pleased to see that the faculty at Edinburgh using an xMOOC platform to create a cMOOC experience (see Martin’s post on the differences). I’m definitely a fan of this type of learning over what Coursera ‘traditionally’ provides because I think it captures the affordances of a connected, open, and transparent web more effectively than the login, platform-based, push driven, assessment-led Coursera experience. I noticed there were a few in our study group who were expecting the xMOOC experience, however, and others on the Facebook study groups expected the same thing. The challenge of cMOOCs, and this one too, is that it makes us take an active role in the process of learning. We can’t just sit back, listen to some lectures, and take a quiz over and over until we get it right.

This is also where I fell into a pitfall with my study groups. Yeah, I signed that plaigarism/cheating clause, really only halfway paying attention to it. I’m enrolled in this course for the experience, to be reminded of what it’s like to really be a student with deadlines, and to engage more deeply in a subject I care about with peers (locally and digitally) who care about the same things. I’m not in it for a certification at the end. So during our study group, I suggested we split up the readings (because we’re already watching the videos as a group and discussing). To some this is considered cheating. To others this is considered jigsaw teaching. I guess I’m a big fan of working together. Others might not take me up on the offer, but it will be interesting to meet with my colleagues in the next few weeks to discuss these topics (even if we don’t do all the work, look at the conversations we’re having).

I’ll write about my experiences as a student in the next round, but in the meantime here are links to other MOOCs we should all keep our eye on and some resources others have curated to allow those not enrolled in this Coursera course to access the readings and materials:



2 thoughts on “A familiar model in Coursera: e-Learning and Digital Cultures

  1. Hi Emily

    Glad my blog resonated with you. Really interesting to read about your group approach – I’m pretty much flying solo as they say. Surprised that some people thought dividing up readings was cheating. Sounds like a sensible and pragmatic approach for a group approach to me. We are all experimenting ways to teach/delivery/facilitate/learn/study so to me we need to try lots of approaches, and most importantly share our experiences.


    • Hi Sheila, I agree. Since this course only has one assignment (digital artifact) and it is peer reviewed, why not share the reading load? I’m really interested in taking this class ‘as a student’ and ‘as a practitioner’ so the study group here is really important to my experience. Wish I could be taking the other moocs (etmooc and mit/p2pu) but there’s just not enough time in the day and I can at least go back to those and review assignments.

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