Today we officially kicked off #teachtheweb, a massive open online course (“MOOC”) dedicated to helping people teach the web. It’s convening nearly 3,000 participants to share their practice, teaching materials and to learn and hack on the way.
Here are a few lessons from the course worth highlighting so far.
We’re firm believers that you learn best by making.
That’s why there’s no formal instruction or lecturing in this course. Instead, each week we share a prompt that you can respond to with a “make”.
To start, we invited participants to:
Already there are loads of great hacks from the community. And in this way, people both learn how to use the tools and mess around with code, and they can also express themselves creatively while getting to know one another.
Check out some of them:
The Study Groups
The other thing about MOOCs is that they are massive. And fire-hose-y. There’s a lot of information on a lot of channels with a lot of people.
So one way we’re mitigating that is with study groups.
Groups are formed based on:
- interests: like toymaking, libraries, or mobile HTML
- language: like French, German and Spanish
- geography: like Webmakers in the UK, Indonesia, and the Balkans.
We also encourage people to organize physical meet-ups, so they can connect with fellow learners and build a local network.
And if they don’t see a group on a topic they care about, it’s all hackable. So they can go in and add one!
The communication channels of the MOOC can be quite overwhelming. We’re trying to meet people where they are, while also playing to the strengths of different tools.
So far, the most important channels are:
We made this diagram to help explain how the channels work together and definitely welcome feedback on how to improve them!
The Super Mentors
The people that really make this course run are the Webmaker Super Mentors.
These are passionate people experienced in teaching the web, running events and/or creating teaching materials.
The Super Mentors are:
- shaping the course each week by developing and giving feedback on the curriculum
- leading study groups and surfacing great makes and conversations for the larger group
- providing tech support
- and in general being warm and friendly faces in the course
It’s been so inspiring working with these 90+ Super Mentors so far. It feels like they’re really the heart and soul of Webmaker.
As a MOOC facilitator, I’m really learning a lot about helping people online and encouraging learning & making. Simplification is key, as is emphasizing how the experience is flexible and adaptable to participants’ needs.