I recently finished my first Coursera.org class in Gamification taught by Kevin Werbach, Wharton School, UPENN.  There were many lessons just from that course that I may cover later,  but now I want to spend some time on lessons learned in trying to take online classes over the past few months.

I started Coursera with a class on Machine Learning because of number of colleagues in our community were taking it.  At first it was a great refresher and  brought back memories of research projects involving artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in the early 2000s.  But then the module started in on linear algrebra – something I had purposely forgotten since an Army course in operations research and systems analysis (ORSA) 20 years ago. Because of stress at work,  I wasn’t ready to turn my mind around linear algebra so I stopped following the course schedule.  Probably not a noble thing to do but consistent with the other thousands who also stopped along with me.  Then the Gamification course started and I was hooked.   The concepts were fascinating and the exercises were challenging without being overwhelming.

But I came away from the course feeling like I had not fully experienced the digital learning process since all I really did was view the lectures and participate in the exercises.   I took very little time to participate in the forums.   And while I did follow the Twitter hashtag #gamification12, I did not participate in the Facebook group.  As  a result, I missed opportunities for learning whether from sharing  information or asking questions on how something might apply in my workplace.

I’m almost finished with my second Coursera course on Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society taught by Karl Ulrich at UPENN.  This has been much more hands on and challenged me in very different ways than Gamification.  But I still did not take advantage of the discussion forums.

I just recently started  Coursera’s  Think Again course from Duke University.  This has a new feature called a StudyRoom that provides whiteboarding interaction.  It’s very interesting and I can see the potential.  I’m just not sure that I can figure out how to make “time” stretch far enough to fully engage in all these different aspects of digital learning.  I am signed up for the E-learning and Digital Cultures Course taught by Edinburgh University ( #edcmooc) which starts in late January 2013.   It was very exciting to receive the first email announcing that they wanted to start building a community before the class starts.  And  I can  see increasing opportunity for interacting and learning,  yet I cannot find the time to do much between work, personal activities and now online courses.   So perhaps this might be something that can be discussed  during #edcmooc.