In a MOOC (with emphasis on the M of Massive) pingback would be an interesting feature if the feature is used by many participants. The amount of participants in a MOOC would make connections in wide directions possible. But in CCK11 most persons who did sign up do not participate as members of the network. The existing network in this MOOC (as I can see it on the internet) is about 50 actively engaged participants. The M for Massive is really important for a MOOC to work. A comment in a blog or website (or on Facebook) is a means to connect to the network, and that is more and different from taking part in a conversation. (comment on blog of Alan Cooper)
If pingback is used, a comment of Ann on the page of Bernard would be visible to Chris when visiting Bernard’s page. Chris could now visit Ann’s page and discover a comment of Dave which is very interesting to Chris. You, do try to make this visible in a network. And try to imagine this A-B-C-D-connections taking place all over the network of 700 participants all using a (hash)tag to flag their content. Technical solutions like pingback and (hash)tags will help making the network. “…What about Massive Open Online Network ?” Susan proposes a new name for a MOOC.
The (hash)tag will be visible to some participants when they do a search (on Twitter or on internet or on WordPress). That will make them to connect to other parts of the network. Eva will connect to Dave and Eva is already connected to Forest and Gerald and Hanna. In this way connections will grow fast and the choice of who will connect immediately to who (commenting) will be abundant. “… Getting Connected …”
In a 50 person network 50*49/2= 1225 connections are possible. (see diagram)
In a 700 person network 700*699/2=244650 connections are possible.
More active participants would enhance the variety of the content and the quality of the content. (Because content is seen by a lot of critical readers quality would grow) “…So there’s an imperative for deep specialization – that comes tight focus in one field – to apply itself to the wider context of the world in which it exists….” writes Simon Fowler
Question in a MOOC is “How to stimulate people to participate by writing and commenting?”
- Would a “Help-file” or a “Introduction” be helpful in which people can read that writing and commenting is necessary and using the (hash)tag is more than helpful?
- A daily newspaper with a reminder of the importance of connecting and commenting and publishing could help?
- New students in a MOOC could be advised to do searches on the internet and find their fellow participants. (I did find some blogs that mention Connectivism of starters that do writ blogs, but do not try to connect to the MOOC-network.
- New students in a MOOC could be advised not only to comment to blogs of other people but to write blogposts as a result of their comments, with citations of other blogs texts (including URL of the source) . This a how a pingback is fired.
Who wants to search all those people who did want to start the MOOC on CCK11 and ask them why they did not go on with it?