MOOC Mania: Everyone’s Doing It

To begin, here’s a Massive List Of MOOC Resources, Lit And Literati. Now, I´ll be honest. That’s an old list. It was published by Erica St. Angel on June 25, 2012. The last update was 08.14.2012. August 2012 by internet terms is old, extremely old.

By now, surely you have heard of these people, the “Godfathers and Godmothers of MOOCs, Connectivism, and OER”

George Siemens
Stephen Downes
David Wiley
Dave Cormier
Candace Thille
Alec Couros
Wendy Drexler

Now, if you are disappointed that you don’t see your name, then join the club. My name isn’t mentioned either.

Hey, this is serious. I’m not joking. MOOC Mania would not be what it is without people like me. Who am I?

Again, I’m serious. I’m one of the countless hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people who participate in MOOC’s. We can agree that a MOOC would not be a MOOC if it were not for people like me.

You see, MOC’s are time consuming. MOOC’s take up valuable time that could be used in a multitude of different ways. After all, A MOOC is free.


What am I complaining about? Well, a free education, no matter how much knowledge, skill and ability I take away from the experience, is still not quite as favorably looked upon by the society in which most of us live today. In fact, as soon as I begin talking about the free education I received, people begin to look funny.

Once, I went to a job interview, shortly after completing my free course in Connectivism, from two awesome course facilitators, George Siemens and Stephen Downes, I was told the following:

“Wow! You are obviously highly knowledgeable, but you know how things are. It isn’t really knowledge alone that we want here, you have to show some credentials.”

Hmmm. “Credentials?”, I thought to myself. “You mean to tell me that giving over 50 conference presentations, publishing 20 articles, authoring over 40 E-books that support good causes such as EdCamp Santiago, the Amy Winehouse Foundation, English Language Teaching, isn’t good enough?”

The interviewer cleared his throat, avoided my eyes, and said, “No, it’s not good enough.”

Sure, I knew what he was talking about. It would have been useless for me to mention that guys like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and John Steinbeck would come up short at this interview also.

I chuckled to myself at the thought of the interviewer saying something like: “Sorry fellas. Bill, Steve, Mark, John, you guys are impressive, you know an awful lot, but you know how things are around here…”

So, here’s my point. Firstly, participating in a MOOC is a wonderful experience. It’s potentially the biggest change that education has seen in the past 1000 years, because it means high-quality education can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime. For free.

Yet somehow, if we don’t get people involved in thinking about how to gain legitimacy, and thus acceptance, in the eyes of employers and admissions officials at universities, then participating in a MOOC will remain little more than a mania, a momentary madness that leaves no mark upon those people who are the most essential element of a MOOC: the participants.

And last but not least, here’s the book I authored on participating in a MOOC:

Baker, Thomas Jerome, (2012). <a href="Connectivism and Connected Knowledge: Participating in a MOOC “>Connectivism and Connected Knowledge: Participating in a MOOC [Kindle Edition]. Santiago, Chile: Createspace.

Book Description

Publication Date: June 1, 2012

Currently, there are two ways to find out what participating in a Massive, Open, Online Course (MOOC) is like: One, you can participate in such a course, provided you have the time necessary to invest in such a learning experience. When your time is the limited and precious commodity that we all know it to be, you may not be able to participate, however.

Don’t feel bad about that. That’s life, and for the majority of us mortals, we work for a living in a world that will not let us simply employ our time in any pursuit. We have to be selective, to be balanced with the way in which we invest our time. Families, friends, hobbies, rest & relaxation demand an equal share of the 24 hour clock. So, if we can’t participate in a MOOC, that leaves option two available.

Option Two? You can read this book





Amazon Author Page: Thomas Jerome Baker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.

He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.

Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.

Thomas was recently selected for membership in the “Comunidad de Innovación Escolar” – School Innovation Community, from among over 300 applicants. Its goal is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among educators in their respective education communities. For Thomas, that’s the world of English Language Teaching.

Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty six (46) books overall.

The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.


About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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