Already covered: A MOOC is a Massive(ly) Open Online Course – whether using traditional or more connectionist models of learning and instruction.
But what do you call a mini-MOOC? Where the numbers are not massive? This summer, and for the second time, I’m coordinating a summer UNversity – which is kind of like a regular university course, but without lectures, labs, class times, set coursework, syllabus, grades or set content. But otherwise, just like a regular university course.
There are rules though:
1. Pick something to do, and tell us what it is
2. Let us know how you are getting on
3. There is no rule #3
4. Ask folk for help when you get stuck, and provide advice when you can
5. UNversity ends on the 14th of September, but your project(s) can be as big or as small as you like
Not in the rules as such, but the participants are mostly students studying for degrees in Computer Game Technology/Development at my own university, and most of the projects involve some kind of game development activity. But neither of those points are mandatory.
I’m very keen that students who are struggling with their studies take part, so that they can work over the summer to address their own weaknesses, but equally, the best students will also learn from setting their own goals and working on their own projects. And everyone can benefit from the social interaction of a mini-MOOC, which can help with encouragement and motivation.
Curtis Bonk has a post listing twenty types, targets and intents of MOOC (via OLDaily as usual), from which the intent/type of this MOOC appears to be part ‘System Bottleneck’ and part ‘Interdisciplinary’
8. Degree or Program Qualifier or System Bottleneck MOOC: … If there is a common bottleneck or course filter that weeds out too many students, a MOOC might be offered during the summer to let current students complete it in a self-paced fashion.
12. Interdisciplinary MOOC: … Participants enrolled in them might envision new … life goals and opportunities, personal quests, etc.
But neither of these is quite it… UNversity is not tied to any particular module and participants include students at every level of the four year degree courses and alumni too, which makes it seem more like the latter. But it is (loosly) tied to a set of degree programs which makes it a bit more like the former. Perhaps it is a professional development MOOC (#4 in Curtis’ list), but perhaps the list needs a little revising.
None of this answers the question though… what do you can a mini-Massive Open Online Course?