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).