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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

My First MOOC

Here it is, a Friday night. Instead of heading out to dinner, I chose to stay home and...finish my first MOOC!

I'd heard about MOOCs for years. "Take this Ivy League course." "Try out new content." "Learn what you want when you want." I have to say I was at least a little curious.

After being selected as one of the nation's #FutureReady Superintendents to join in the leadership of President Obama's Initiative, I realized I had more to learn and give. The choice to participate in this MOOC was easy - it was offered by the US Department of Education through the #FutureReady Initiative and furthering our work in Washington, DC sure made sense.

Before I go any further, let me not assume you know what a MOOC is. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Content) are characterized as:

  • open to all

  • free

  • online

  • students interact online

  • mostly asynchronous (no required meeting time)

  • no, some or formal credit may be available to document completion or achievement

The highlight of this course wasn't the interaction with others, although we were grouped with other like-minded teacher and administrative leaders nationwide. The most valuable part was the access to resources that someone else organized around themes pertinent in the #FutureReady work, including budget/resources, professional learning, data/privacy, use of time, technolgy/hardware, community partnerships, and curriculum/instruction/assessment. From exceptionally relevant videos of best practices in other districts nationwide to short articles that reinforced the learning in the six key areas, the course provided flexibility to go in depth in the areas where I had the most interest.

I'll admit - I didn't read every article. Some were 50+ pages. But what I did was journal my learning, a chronology of how my vision for the Portola Valley School District could be further shaped by the use of technology in effective, purposeful and meaningful ways.

Here's to further learning! MOOCs have unleashed a monster in me and more learning is certainly on the horizon!

(reshared from LinkedIn - May 2015)

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