#teachtheweb: An Online Course

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.

A huge shout-out goes to Laura Hilliger, fellow MOOC conspirator, for her leadership and savvy to pull this together! And to the Webmaker Mentor team for the wisdom and support.

Here are a few lessons from the course worth highlighting so far.

The Makes

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:

Introduce yourself Webmaker style by using Popcorn Maker, Thimble or the X-Ray Goggles and share your make with #teachtheweb.

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:

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 Chatter

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:

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.

Keep Learning

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.

I’m also keen to learn from legendary MOOC facilitators like Philipp Schmidt and Mitch Resnick from MIT’s Learning Creative Learning and other online learning experiences like #etmooc.

If you’re interested in joining the #teachtheweb experiment, hop onto our G+ community and follow the #teachtheweb hashtag!

Got something to say? Go for it!