I signed up for my next MOOC and chose to join the track to get a verified certificate!
Well that has thrown me onto a different kind of path.
I investigated the Virtual Teaching stream as set of courses that are available in the MOOC format. This seems to be a great idea. To link up courses from the same platform to give you a study plan or path. Up until now, MOOC's are rather singular in subject matter and may be targetted at Diploma or First Year University level. While I had toyed with the idea of joining the "Signature" (Coursera.org) track last year I have bitten the $ bullet this time.
Rather than just enrolling and starting to study, there is a bit more to the process:
1. Do the webcam thing and provide a typing example as a dual method of verification. With only a little faith in the security software, I completed the ID requirements.
2. Tick the agreement that I would not share any content or answers. Well, that cuts out my blogging (nearly). All of a sudden this is no longer an "Open" course in the sense of sharing content and/or remixing this content.
3. Pay the fee to get a verified certificate for this course which can count towards the Virtual Teacher track. Now this course is no longer "Open" in the sense that it is freely available.
4. Always have a webcam and a 'real' keyboard available when doing the quizzes. Now this course is no longer a casual, do it anywhere, mobile kind of course.
My MOOC turned into a MOC.
What I've learnt from this experience so far is that maybe this may be more hassle than what the education is worth! It is making me really think about the value of the Virtual Teacher stream. Is the value intrinsic and part of my own Learn4Life philosophy? Is the value going to come from better pay or position at work? Is the value in sharing this knowledge with other people?
At this stage I intend to complete this MOC and with support from a colleague we will keep ourselves ontrack. However it has challenged my thinking of paid 'free' education and whether this is viable for organisations to promote. It leads into the discussion of making money from MOOC's but I'll leave that to another post.