I’m working through the free Curatr Digital Curation mini MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), put together by Sam Burrough and Martin Couzins.

I’ve been busy with work, as have most others I’m sure, and got to the content later than the goody-two-shoes-geeky-teacher’s-pet that I would normally like. I was looking at it on my iPad, whilst relaxing on the sofa and, quite frankly, tired after a long day of work but mindful that there was a set window of time in which to participate in the MOOC.

MOOC annoyance

I was working through level one, gaining my “experience points” by consuming the content in order to move further into the course. I found that I needed to comment on the resources presented, and other actions, to gain more experience points. At the time, I found this frustrating.

Partly I didn’t want to do lots of typing in my iPad, even with an iPad keyboard I’m about a million times faster with a ‘proper’ computer! But mostly I just didn’t have a lot to say (those that know me will be shocked at that, I know!).

This probably had more to do with being tired than anything else, but I was annoyed that I felt I had to participate with the commentary and the social element. I felt I was doing it just to get the experience points – merely adding noise to the course when, ironically, it’s all about curating content and adding value. I certainly felt like my first few comments weren’t about that.

MOOC understanding

As you can imagine, I soon changed my mind (again, something that people who know me will not be shocked at…). When I was less tired I really got into the MOOC proper – consuming the content that was presented which I was interested in and sharing my comments.

Yes, this was partly to gain experience points, I might not have done it otherwise. However what I found was that old Joan Didion quote applied to me and my learning:


As I started writing my thoughts and comments, some just poured out of me without me actually realising that’s what I thought in the first place. It highlighted to me on a personal level the importance of engagement and activities to embed learning.

I would probably have happily gone through the MOOC without making much comment, in my race to merely consume and not to reflect.

So I’m very grateful that the designers of this system and course forced me into this action — just like I do to my learners!