Metaliteracy in Practice: Strengthening Learning through a Connectivist MOOC


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In 2013 Empire State College and The University at Albany collaborated to develop and facilitate a connectivist Metaliteracy MOOC. According to Mackey and Jacobson, “Metaliteracy promotes critical thinking and collaboration in a digital age, providing a comprehensive framework to effectively participate in social media and online communities” (2011, p. 62). This is the ideal framework to explore in a connectivist MOOC that encourages metacognition and connected learning among students in a participatory open environment. The MOOC was designed with the programming gRSShopper developed by MOOC pioneer Stephen Downes, allowing participants to register and share their blog postings within the open platform. We also used Blackboard Collaborate to facilitate a series of “MOOC Talks” about metaliteracy-related topics. This interactive format allowed for ongoing participation by MOOC learners and encouraged contributions from scholars within SUNY, across the US, and internationally.

The Metaliteracy MOOC provided both for-credit and non-credit options and linked students from three undergraduate information literacy courses at The University at Albany with professionals in the field. In addition, a graduate-level study was made available through the Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies program in the School of Graduate Studies at Empire State College. Metacognition, a key aspect of the metaliteracy model, and the assessment of MOOCs, were both central elements of the graduate level learning experience.

This panel will offer insights about the collaborative development and facilitation of this connectivist MOOC. We will discuss the process of selecting the connectivist MOOC (cMOOC) format and compare it to the “xMOOCs” made popular by Coursera and edX. In addition, we will describe our contribution to this learning experience and examine the benefits and challenges of facilitating open learning in this online space. We will share specific learning outcomes developed for this MOOC at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and review the technologies that made this learning experience possible (gRSShopper, Bluehost, Blackboard Collaborate, WordPress Blogs, and other social media).

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  • Tom
  • Tom
  • Tom: behavioral (what students should be able to do upon successful completion of learning activities—skills, competencies), cognitive (what students should know upon successful completion of learning activities—comprehension, organization, application, evaluation), affective (changes in learners’ emotions or attitudes through engagement with learning activities), and metacognitive (what learners think about their own thinking—a reflective understanding of how and why they learn, what they do and do not know, their preconceptions, and how to continue to learn). 

    Understands the process of creating and sharing information
    Recognizes gaps in knowledge
    Seeks new knowledge to adjust to challenging situations
    Adapts to changing technologies
    Continuously self-reflects
    Demonstrates empowerment through interaction, communication, and presentation
    Reflects on production and participation
  • Metaliteracy in Practice: Strengthening Learning through a Connectivist MOOC

    1. 1. 1 Tom Mackey, Ph.D. Dean Center for Distance Learning SUNY Empire State College Metaliteracy in Practice: Strengthening Learning through a Connectivist MOOC #metaliteracy Tom Mackey, Trudi Jacobson, Michele Forte, Jenna Hecker, and Nicola Allain Friday, May 30 9:15-9:45 MVR G71
    2. 2. MOOC
    3. 3. • 554 registered participants • 454 received newsletters • 118 registered blogs • 72 blog posts • Students from 3 Information Literacy Courses at the University at Albany • 1 Graduate Student at Empire State College MOOC
    4. 4. Trudi Jacobson, Tor Loney, and Nicola Allain
    5. 5. @Downes 414782424506068993/photo/1
    6. 6. Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (Mackey and Jacobson, 2014). “Metaliteracy expands the scope of traditional information skills (determine, access, locate, understand, produce, and use information) to include the collaborative production and sharing of information in participatory digital environments (collaborate, participate, produce, and share)” (p. 1).
    7. 7. “Metaliteracy empowers learners to participate in interactive information environments, equipped with the ability to continuously reflect, change, and contribute as critical thinkers.” (Jacobson and Mackey, Proposing a Metaliteracy Model to Redefine Information Literacy, 2013)
    8. 8. 8 Figure developed by Mackey, Jacobson and Roger Lipera Mackey and Jacobson (2014) Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners
    9. 9.
    10. 10. MOOC
    11. 11. MOOC
    12. 12. Blackboard Collaborate Session MOOC Talk: Paul Prinsloo, UNISA, South Africa
    13. 13. Blackboard Collaborate Session MOOC Talk: Mark McBride and Michele Forte
    14. 14. MOOC • Facilitating synchronous chat • MOOC talk mimicked the topic on which it focused • Queries from chat included – "Does SUNY recognize OERs as valuable peer review for tenure process?” • OER and textbook costs • OER and ethics of higher education
    15. 15. MOOC • Teacher and students trading roles in this open space environment • Synchronous chat is not a controlled environment • Facilitated, interactive, open conversation • We had no idea which questions would be asked • Disrupted the asynchronous environment to include real time conversation
    16. 16. Blackboard Collaborate Session MOOC Talk: Bryan Alexander and Nicola Allain
    17. 17. MOOC Metacognitive Analysis • Graduate elective, Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies, with assessment focus • Research provides preliminary data & analysis for final master’s thesis project, “An Exploration of Assessment Attitudes and Interaction Factors Within a MOOC Learning Environment.”