MOOC Update: Week 5

Forest Norway Mountains Waterfall Fields Vefsna

The river Vefsna in Nordland, Norway

Drumroll please!

I have finally completed the Norwegian course on FutureLearn!!

It took me a tad longer than the recommended month, but I’m happy with my progress. Here are my final thoughts on the course, FutureLearn and MOOCs.

 

 

First of all, I’d like to offer you my usual positives and negatives in regards to the final portion of the course.

Positives

+ I mentioned before that I liked the inclusion of extra vocabulary in the videos. I noticed particularly in this last section though that this always drove me to look up the words – I just couldn’t handle not knowing some of them! Note that nowhere was it ever mentioned that there would be extra vocabulary, nor that we should look it up…sneaky 🙂

+ The final section was mostly review and the educators suggested in some parts that we explain some rules to fellow coursemates. After I saw a participant had really gone to town and wrote a few paragraphs about it, I didn’t feel as inclined to add my own response, but I thought it was good practice to ask us to explore our declarative knowledge too.

+ I think there’s a lot to be said for the structure of this course. It was obviously designed with some thought and I feel like it covered enough to give people the skills to communicate without going too far and overwhelming learners.

Negatives

– It has irked me this whole time that there is nowhere to ask questions. Now and again I simply had a burning question about grammar or vocabulary, but there’s nowhere to ask. You simply have to post in the comments and hope for the best. Sometimes another participant would make a guess, or add that they wanted to know too, but that didn’t really help in the long run. I previously remarked that the educators should engage more. Although I still think this would be helpful, what would aid me even more would be a space to ask questions.

– I suspected about halfway through the course that the instructions would move towards being in Norwegian, but this was never fully realized. Even if there had been an English translation, I would have liked to have seen Norwegian instructions by the last section, just for further input really.

Skandynawska_klawiatura_ubt.JPG


 

So, where am I now with Norwegian?

I would say I’m operating around the A2 level in the CEFR. I can’t say for sure how much this course has helped me get there, as I spent a bit of time studying Norwegian beforehand, albeit quite a while before this course. That said, I think this course has taught me a lot, and in a very short time. It definitely helped expose me to more Norwegian in a whole host of contexts – not something I get in day-to-day life in England, to be sure. I feel like I worked a lot on actively using the language too, mostly through imitation and speaking aloud to myself as I typed responses in the chatbot, for instance. I would absolutely love to continue with Norwegian and will continue my slow study of it alongside my university studies~

This was my first MOOC experience and overall I’m quite pleased with it. I liked the flexibility and the variety of content. In signing up for my next MOOC,  I found that not all MOOCs are as flexible as this one was. Some require a paid upgrade to have access at all times, but I think these are a minority.

I believe MOOCs are a great tool for learning and will suit both inward-looking and group-orientated learners. I can only speak from this experience, but hopefully other courses allow a little more contact with the people who claim to be leading them. In any case, it’s encouraging to see knowledge and expertise shared freely with thousands and thousands of people and I think MOOCs will enrich many people’s lives.

We live in an age where technology is everything, and MOOCs have found their niche in the world of education. I don’t foresee MOOCs overtaking the traditional classroom just yet though and I’d be disheartened if they did. At least in the context of FutureLearn, there’s still that special something missing that exists in a class full of people. Maybe I just miss the way ideas are born and grow through discussion, or the inspiration that a good tutor sparks; maybe I’m just reluctant to allow online classrooms to take us forward. I don’t know. When all’s said and done, this was a great experience and I plan to keep using MOOCs in the future to explore my secondary interests further, you just won’t see me skipping my real-life classes any time soon!

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