There’s been much written lately about who started MOOCs and what the future holds for them. I’m not so concerned about all of that, but I do like the topic of defining them, and I tend to define them widely. To me, MOOCs are the section of educational design immediately inside the limits of where learning becomes intentional. They’re loosely structured, highly learner autonomous, and could probably come in dozens, if not hundreds of different varieties. At the far end of an educational spectrum of structure that I often image in my mind, is the very basic idea of deciding to learn about something. Study undergoing this style is intentional, and perhaps with an injection of a bit more structure than normal, I see no reason why this type of education can’t benefit from some of the MOOC principles and strategies. Here is a personal MOOC based on my own desire to learn about some topic, yet open to invitation for others to join. What’s the topic, you ask?
Japanese Literature. When I first came to Japan I was reading a lot of Japanese Literature. Over the past few years this has dwindled, so I’m making a conscious effort to read more of the classics because it really is great stuff. I did my BA in English Lit at the UofM, but unfortunately I was never exposed to any Asian novels during that time. I would recommend it to anyone who loves thoughtful, highly symbolic, and eloquently simple writing. Perhaps even this recent popular blog post at Still Eating Oranges has piqued interest in storytelling and plot from an Eastern perspective.
Over four months I’m going to try to read and post about 4 different books and their authors – one per month, in a very extended, casually paced way. I constructed a rough schedule and list of works that I’ll be reading and critiquing and exploring. Two authors I have already read quite a bit (and welcome the chance to read more), and two are new to me.
Month 2 – Kobo Abe – The Woman in the Dunes
Month 4 – Natsume Soseki – I am a Cat
I don’t have any other activities set up yet, and the schedule is very flexible. I’ll also adapt it to the environment of learning that emerges, if anyone does happen to get involved and if need be. I don’t plan to use widespread or centralized tech either, probably just this blog and Twitter. Free free to post once, a thousand times or simply on the content that’s interesting for you. I would encourage anyone who has extensive knowledge on the subject to at least post some useful links or ideas about the content. I’ll look around for some interesting critiques on the authors and works though, and will probably start towards the end of October, using the hashtag #JL12.
Please pass this along if you find it interesting. Thanks.
Edit: please note that the MyMOOC project has been moved to its own place – click here.