Another example of the worrying aspect of unsupervised access to the internet.
In my view the issue has to be approached on multiple fronts:
educating children about the danger, much as my generation were educated about dangerous activities such as trespassing on railway lines, swimming where there’s no lifeguard, or venturing out onto ice covered water.
developing better ways to filter out undesirable content.
not allowing the very young to have unsupervised and unfiltered access to the internet, which in turn necessitates educating their parents / guardians about how to do this and the dangers of not doing it.
The timing of Dirk’s Twitter post couldn’t have been better and it’s a relief to know that I’m not the only one struggling to stay focused now that we’re having to divide our attention between so many different communication channels.
There’s an important learning here to avoid similar fragmentation of communication amongst the learners I support and I will take that into my professional practice.
This week I’ve focused most of my effort on the core reading and spending time on the MOOCs I have joined. While this has meant less time devoted to looking at resource links suggested by my fellow students and less time in the discussion forum on the digital hub, I do feel it has been the most productive way to use the time I’ve had available. There’s some irony in the demands of involvement with the MOOC(s) resulting in less time available to spend with this course’s community!
Joining a second MOOC has been a useful experience. Both are facilitated by the same provider but the way the course is constructed is very different. I was surprised to find that the first exercise on ‘greetings’ in the Spanish for beginners MOOC was presented in text format, followed by a quiz which involved trying to spot the written greetings in pre-recorded audio examples. Several course participants commented on this in the discussion forum, pointing out the difficulty of knowing how the written words are pronounced, the effect of the various types of accented letters used and the relevance of the ‘upside down question mark’. So far none of the course facilitators have answered the queries and the only help has come from other learners. The issue has created a small amount of discussion and problem sharing, so maybe it was a deliberate ploy to create ‘common bonds of shared adversity’ (Lister, M. … [et al.], (2009)).
The level of interaction I’m seeing in both MOOCs I can see that I won’t be able to present an ethonography artefact that delves much deeper than the level of a survey. However, I do think there are some interesting trends in the way the forums are used that I can highlight.