Free online course about online learning offered

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Teachers across Alberta, including Verena Roberts from Palliser Beyond Borders, have created a five-week online course about connecting and learning in an online environment.

The Open and Connected Learning Massive Open Online Course, or #OCLMOOC for short, is a series of free webinars and online resources, including discussions on social media through Twitter and Google+, which are intended to help participants explore how to learn online.

The five-week program began Thursday night with a webinar featuring Dave Cormier (@davecormier on Twitter), sharing his advice and experience in how to succeed in a massive open online course. Cormier is a pioneer of open online courses and is credited with coining the term "MOOC."

Roberts says there are free 60-minute webinars at 7 p.m., Thursdays throughout the course. In keeping with the online learning philosophy of anytime, anywhere learning, the webinars are recorded and can be viewed at the #OCLMOOC website at

The webinars are sponsored by Palliser Beyond Borders which made recording of the sessions possible through the school’s Blackboard Collaborate virtual classroom software.

Roberts says although there are time-specific elements to the course, there are many other resources participants can explore at their own pace, whether by reading the exchanges on Twitter that can be found by searching for the hashtag #OCLMOOC, or by joining the OCLMOOC group on Google+.

Other resources found at the course website include videos about getting started on Twitter, Google+  and blogging.

Roberts says each of the five weeks of the course has a theme. Week 1 is Connecting All Learners — Online Networks; Week 2 starts Oct. 1 and focuses on Digital Identity; Week 3 is Collaboration and Community; Week 4, Open Leadership; and Week 5 starts Oct. 22 with the theme We Are All Learners (Next Steps).

She says participants can register at the website to be sent reminders of events, or they can anonymously browse the many resources online and in social media.  Although designed by educators with other educators in mind, the course would also be of interest to parents and students with an interest in online learning, managing digital identity and using technology as a tool to support learning.

Roberts says one of the course highlights will be a 7 p.m., Oct. 2 webinar about digital citizenship featuring Matthew Johnson, Director of Education from MediaSmarts: Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy. He’ll be joined by student Paige Woodward.

You don’t need anything special on your computer to connect to the webinar. A link to Blackboard Collaborate and a video guide led by Roberts will give first-time users help in connecting.

For more information on #OCLMOOC, you can contact Roberts at or follow her on Twitter at @verenanz.