Getting ready for the POT Online Certificate Class (the SMOOC)

I’m getting the new Pedagogy First! blog set up for the Program for Online Teaching Certificate Class, our open online class to help prepare folks to teach in a web environment. We’ll start officially September 1. It’s a 24 week class that runs 12 weeks in fall and 12 weeks in spring. People can participate from anywhere as we learn and blog our progress together. We’re still drafting, but the syllabus and instructions are being set up here.

We had 90 participants to start last year, from all over the world, with 16 completing the full requirements for the certificate.

Our big change from last year is that, like the wonderful ds106 at UMW, we’re going to expect participants to set up their own blog in a hosted environment. Last year we encouraged the use of Edublogs or WordPress.com, but we quickly found out that these services are starting to charge money for the basic things we need to do, like embed media.

So we’re doing two things to encourage people to get in there and get dirty early on. The first is a two-week workshop prior to the class starting, which will take place in the POT Facebook group. Led by myself and Todd Conaway, we’ll try to answer questions and help people out. Our second approach is to move some of the reading and other tasks for later in the course, so that people can have more time to wrestle with WordPress in the first couple of weeks.

I’m having my own technical problems, of course, just like I did last year. Again, I am unable to figure out why some of the syndicated feeds coming in through FeedWordpress are saying “Comments are closed” even though they are set to open on both the home blog and in the theme and FWP settings on the aggregated blog.

As always, it’s just us, a small group of volunteer faculty we call the Program for Online Teaching, plus our previous participants and certificate earners helping as mentors and moderators. We call it a SMOOC because it’s a Small to Medium Open Online Course (unlike the Massive MOOCs with thousands of people – we’re small and we’re proud).

The tag will be “potcert12” in Twitter and elsewhere, and you needn’t commit to a certificate to join in the fun. Open, casual, one-night-stand participants are welcome – we’ll just need the feed for your tagged posts when the time comes. Won’t you join us?

2 thoughts on “Getting ready for the POT Online Certificate Class (the SMOOC)

  1. For the course tag, have you thought about using just “potcert” without the year? That might emphasize building a community and encourage participants from past years to keep participating going forward.

    Just a thought.

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  2. I’d second Ted’s excellent suggestion. I guess MOOCs usually distinguish with year to preserve the small cadre of members who continue to keep the flame alive but there’s a real advantage to merging cohorts.

    Also wanted to pitch the idea that a hangout during those two weeks so newbies can meet each other and mentors might be helpful. Sort of like a POTCERT openhouse.

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