In some posts on #MOOC’s and #Change11 two categories of participants are mentioned. The active participant and the passive participant (the passive one sometimes is called lurker).
The difference is does one publish something with the right tag (#change11 or whatever is appropriate) and does one publish on the internet.
One could be called a passive participant when one is talking about the subject, discussing the subject with classes, making notes on paper, preparing a book or article, or not putting the right tag on ones blog.
The definition of active or passive MOOC-er does not catch all these active persons.

In semiotics the Reader of a text is an active role. Without activity of a Reader the text will not have meaning for the Reader. (U. Eco “The role of the Reader) This seems to make more questionable the difference between active and passive participants of a MOOC. A so called passive participant could be very active.

Maybe counting the lurkers is not that easy. It is not (Sum of participants) – (participants publishing on internet with tag).

Does a passive participant learn something? How could one be a passive participant? This is a paradox like an honest liar.


4 thoughts on “Stats

  1. Perhaps the Lurker functions as some sort of shadowy other? MOOCers are largely overactive doers who need to balance themselves with non-doers. For instance, I often long for a blog or idea that I have no interest in responding to. Something that will leave me deliciously disengaged, care free and adrift in the tepid sea of lassitude. Somewhere between Lurkish and MOOC-potatoeish.

    Alternately, rather than dumping the resolution of one more theory on the faerie folk there must be some way to measure the value of the non-participant. People who subscribe to magazines don’t expect to be in them, the simply observe. Though they may feel no compulsion to interact with the publisher or be part of the magazine “family”, like the Reader they are doing something, gaining something.

    Good question.

  2. Hi Scott, I appreciate your view on non-publishing students as readers of a magazine.

    Publishing and commenting in a MOOC enhanced my learning because it did make my mind (or brains?) go to work.
    And publishing and reading comments of you and others is fun and it is a pleasure to read views of other people.


  3. When a person creates anything it seems to me to be an act of communication or a social gesture expecting comment. I agree with you that without interacting with the material the brain effort is much reduced. I talk to lots of people about MOOCs and they think I’m crazy for spending time in “imaginary” communities. It makes them happy to think I’m crazy so without any extra effort I’m both not really lurking or passive and having a positive effect on the world too. What a deal.

  4. Not only do some of my colleagues think I am crazy but also that I am a traitor to traditional higher education models (the ones that have not been working so well). I like both your and Scott’s take. Whatever, I’d still be doing what I’m doing anyway.

    I’ve always been quite the reader, so why not moocs too? When I’m ready to write more about them, I will; if not, then not.

    Effort certainly is a major factor. I have respiratory problems and tire easily. When tired, focusing concentration to comment is often more difficult. I hit that wall sooner than the just reading and following one. Sometimes extra tasks on other projects come up when I am following and overwhelm me. Then I can’t do everything.

    Jaap is always a pleasure. Scott has his own folder in my mail program because I save email updates of his forum and Fb group posts.

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