My Goals for Social Media MOOC

While reading the blog of another MOOC student (Twitter: @cathleennardi; Cathleen’s Blog), it occured to me that I should document my goals for taking the MOOC in which I am currently participating, Social Media. Though I had in mind why I was interested in the course from the start, I think it’s worth articulating and sharing them here. I alluded to these goals in my original MOOC post.

Initial Goals

1. See what this whole MOOC thing is all about.

I first heard of a MOOC last semester (fall 2012) in my Online Pedagogy graduate course from my classmate, Owen Guthrie. I thought it sounded like a neat thing but that was all. Then last month, my instructor for Instructional Design, Carol Gering, mentioned that MOOCs were a hot topic at an education conference she had just attended. I decided to look more closely at these MOOCs and was so excited by what I found, I had to sign up for one.

2. Explore the use of social media as a professional development and networking tool.

I have long used social media for personal use but haven’t found much value to them for professional uses. While I wasn’t sure at the time that my goal was to actual use them professionally, I wanted to explore different tools, see how others use social media for professional purposes, and see if any of the tools and strategies would work for me.

3. Explore the use of social media in (higher) education.

As a student in UAF’s MEd ONID program (described here), I am very interested in how technology is and can be used in education (namely teaching and student learning). I’ve seen some uses and can dream up others but I hope to broaden my understanding of its uses in this arena. Though I am generally interested in this topic, I am especially focused on higher education.

4. Discover and explore new social media tools.

I hope to be exposed to new tools to improve my technology skills and broaden my knowledge of the range of possibilities.

5. Get ideas for establishing and managing a social media presence for the department I work for (at a University).

I’ve done some reading and attended some conference sessions on the topic but there is always more to learn. On a side note, I would have already established this presence if not for some red tape within the college. I am still hopeful I will eventually be given the go-ahead!

Evolved Goals

In just 10 days of active involvement in this course, I have identified these additional goals.

6. Use social media as a professional development and networking tool (evolution of #2).

After the first few activities in the course involving Twitter, it was clear to me how powerful and useful a tool Twitter can be for professional development and networking. Now my goal is to continue using Twitter and add in any other media that will be useful. I want to make professional* use of social media part of my almost daily life.

*Though I am a student in a MEd program, I also have a career based on a previous Master’s degree (librarian – MLIS). While I am open to the possibility of this becoming a distinct second career, my hope is to meld the two together to be a librarian heavily involved in teaching and helping my colleagues with their teaching. My current Master’s program is a sort of professional development and continuing education for me.

7. Build a diverse, active, and supportive Personal Learning Network.

This is very similar to #6 but I feel it’s worth  separating. As I progress through my MEd program, my career,  and life, my PLN is essential for ensuring I stay current and never stop learning. The network also provides a feeling of support, exposes me to new and different ideas and perspectives, and encourages me to contribute to the conversation of my fields. In my two MEd courses (both online courses), I have had assignments that require me to establish or work on my PLN by connecting with my classmates online. While this is helpful for getting to know my classmates, I have found that they post very little bonus material — material not directly related to course requirements (note that this is in part due to a small class size). It just isn’t enough to get me pumped up. I really want a “place” where I can geek out on things that interest me professionally on a regular basis. My MEd course classmates thus far have some diversity — different educational and career backgrounds, varying teaching experience, experience working with different ages of students — but we are also rather homogenous — we all live in Alaska, appear to be predominantly white, and with one exception, appear to be (sound like) native English speakers.

Just in the past week I am experiencing a diversification of my PLN through Twitter. I am excited to connect with others in my fields working and living in other states, countries, and cultures. I am also excited to learn from others who are not in or are only marginally connected to my fields of work for fresh perspectives.

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