Thursday, November 15, 2012

CMC11 Learning Contract

The 2012 crop of MOOCs has been called the "Year of the mOOCs".  While there are a variety of MOOCs available; cMOOCs, xMOOCs, and a variety of other online LMS agencies, the majority of the offerings carry no formal credits.  This has been a topic of many discussions in many arenas of business, education and media pundits.  A multitude of methods of analyzing and awarding credit have been discussed and recommended.  An entire industry seems to have sprung up to address these and other issues.

Empire State College has had "Prior Learning Assessment" as a method of recommending higher education for college level learning obtained beyond the classroom.  Further discussion on this topic will occur elsewhere.  For now, my purpose here is to publicly share the Contract attached to this MOOC for those who desire to participate for SUNY/ESC credits.  There are 2 methods, to the best of my knowledge, in which to obtain ESC credits.  One is to register as a matriculated, or non matriculated student and pay the tuition for the MOOC.  The other, is to participate in the MOOC and then apply for a review of the number and level of credits desired through a priocess of Prior Learning Assessment, for which there is also a fee.  The academic ramifications of these two methods will also be left to another venue.

My purpose here is to make public the contract that credit seeking participants follow.  In this way, the contract is a reminder for currently enrolled ESC credit seekers, as well as a guide for those who may wish to apply for higher education credits in the future.  This is a guide, subject to updates and revisions,  and bears no guarantee of credit beyond the normal ESC course registration.

Creativity and Multicultural Communication

Instructor: Carol Yeager

Co-facilitator: Betty Lawrence

2-4 credits, introductory or advanced level


Increasingly, the challenges we face are complex and open-ended and knowledge alone is not enough to reach innovative and effective approaches to these challenges. In addition, our networked world can provide us with a rich global environment for creative problem solving.

In this course, students and mentors will interact through web-based and mobile-based modes, completing practical implementation assignments and web 2.0 activities designed around creative problem solving challenges in a multicultural environment. Connectivist theory will be used as a guide for navigating our networked world. Approaches to creativity will be applied to student-generated challenges. Students and mentors will strive to improve their creativity and communication skills throughout the term.


Students can enroll for this course for 2,3 or 4 credits. Expectations for differing amounts of credits will be identified throughout the contract.

This course is built around a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). In a MOOC, participants register, but participation ranges from zero to hourly engagement. The CMC11 MOOC is contained within 15 week segments. While there are 5 defined semesters within the ESCschedule, non ESC particiants may enroll at any time and create their own schedule.  Each week, Elluminate sessions have been held and recorded for all to view.  There will be supplemental sessions, on occasion, the will be live for participant participation. For each week, readings have been included within the session template. Participants are exeted to research topics on their own and bring the discoveries back into the CMC11 learning journey.

Students will begin with reading and viewing introductory material about MOOCs.  MOOCs are lively environments and one can easily become overwhelmed. In order to encourage some deliberateness, students will be required to enter their reflections in a blog. Through their entries, they will document their improved skills in creativity and multicultural communication. They will reflect on session readings. In addition, students will need to join Diigo, for sharing and annotating of online resources. The Diigo group is CDL_CMC11.
There is also a FaceBook group under CMC11 for those who wish to connect in addtion to Discssions, blogs, Diigo ad any other arenas developed by participants.

After the introductory session, there is a session on connectivism and one on Personal Learning Environments/Knowledge Networks. These sessions have been facilitated by Stephen Downes and George Siemens, respectively, who have co-facilitated MOOCs on these topics.  From these, students will acquire the framework for their explorations of creativity. From this framework, students will then investigate the topic of transliteracy and metaliteracy, new ways to navigate our digital world, with Dean Tom Mackey.

The next three weeks will be devoted to aspects of Creative Problem Solving (CPS), with readings and presentations about core practices. Students will be given specific exercises to complete and report on in their blogs.

The next six weeks will be devoted to some specific examples of creativity in a multicultural environment, including examples in Second Life, language learning, digital storytelling and grant development.

As the MOOC experience continues, with reflections and assignments completed in the blog and sharing of resources as well as class-related discussions , students will discuss with the tutor a topic for their final project.  The project should be a creative approach to multicultural communication. The project is required for 3-4 credit students and is optional for students completing the course for 2 credits.

Students will present their projects through Blackboard Collaborate sessions during the final two weeks of the MOOC.


Evaluation will be based on participation in the MOOC, reflections in the blog, references shared and annotated in Diigo and discussions in Diigo. By the end of the term, the student is expected to:

1.    Be able to describe connectivism to a newcomer to the concept in a way that the listener is then able to explain it to another person
2.    Have identified for himself or herself a Personal Learning Environment/Knowledge Network that s/he will continue to use for lifelong learning
3.    Have found and shared (on Diigo) at least 10 electronic resources on the topic of creativity and multiculturalism
4.    Have reflected in at least two blog posts about what it means to communicate in a global environment
5.    Demonstrate improved creativity through applying techniques covered in sessions on Creative Problem Solving
6.    (for 3-4 credits) Have demonstrated through a creative final project a connecting, integrating and transforming of what has been learned throughout the term.

A narrative evaluation will be written by the student to identify how the student has achieved these learning outcomes through the activities identified in this learning contract.

For students completing this course at the advanced level (and that is the majority of the enrollments), incoming writing skills should be sufficient to complete all tasks at an advanced level. If an initial assessment of incoming writing skills indicates that subsequent assignments may not be at the advanced level, the student will be advised to change the registration to the introductory level, so that sufficient time can also be devoted to improving writing skills.

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