I’m re-experiencing the excitement of the first week in P2pU courses! Introductions, goal-setting, comments, and posts flying around so fast it’s impossible to keep up. It’s really awesome.

Because I know the time will go by quickly, I want to get some quick, possibly random thoughts down on the P2PU School of Ed.

  • We have had incredible initial excitement (social media, press, etc.) about the School of Ed. Clearly, this addresses some real need. That is gratifying.
  • As in other P2PU courses (in my experience at least; metrics anyone?), our participants include a diverse group including many international folks and several non-educators. This is interesting in light of the fact that being a U.S. educator was a pre-requisite for all these courses. (This was a stipulation made in part because of our funding for the project. It’s something I had ambivalence about, and I’m glad that our enrollments have ended up such that we could include these folks. Our classes will be richer because of it.)
    • We spent a lot of time on the “full descriptions” of these courses as a recruiting and information tool upfront. In hindsight, I’m not sure many folks read these.
    • A question that is gnawing at me is about sign ups from participants who a) aren’t in the “target group” (educators), and b) don’t answer the sign-up questions, and c) don’t respond to requests to do so. If the class isn’t full, should everyone just be accepted regardless? I’m not sure.
  • Otherwise in terms of enrollment, we’ve had significant groups of professional development providers and educators from non-traditional schools (primarily online ones). Statistics to come, but it seems to be an “early adopter” crowd. Not surprising, I guess, though several of our topics are not technology related. (This  phenomenon is evident in OER in general as well.)
  • We have had significantly more followers than participants sign up. (Is this typical? Don’t know. Need metrics.) I suspect that this is in part due to our courses’ relatively heavy workload and our request for a strong commitment.
  • Many folks who signed up didn’t complete the sign up task. I suspect that’s due to a combination of factors, including confusion with the multiple layers of questions and long sign up tasks. (Possibly of interest: I didn’t experience this in my last non-ed P2PU class.)
  • Surprisingly, we have not been flooded with more enrollments than we could accept (class sizes are good, but not oversubscribed).  Again, this is different from my other P2PU experience. I suspect the reasons are many:
    • Less than idea timing – The beginning of the school year (in the U.S.) is a busy time.
    • General lack of time on the part of teachers
    • Incentives – In the U.S., much PD is accompanied by payment (stipends) and/or formal credit. We offer neither at the School of Ed currently, and this is something to think about, especially if the goal is to attract more “mainstream” teachers. This is one of the things keeping me awake at night right now.
  • The marketing aspects of all this has been fascinating. It’s been interesting to see things like a conversation on Twitter turn into enrollments from New Zealand and groups from one school signing up together.
  • We are sticking with our enrollment deadlines (though stretching them out a bit until just after the courses actually begin), but I keep wondering if open and rolling enrollment could work, especially with less structured and collaborative courses than ours currently are.

Things I’ll be watching for as we move ahead:

  • How participation proceeds, especially around the dreaded “week 3”
  • Participation metrics correlated to sign-up task strength (In my past course, there was not as much correlation as I’d expected. That’s interesting, huh?)
  • Use and effectiveness of various tools we’re using (both in and out of P2PU itself)

There’s much more, but I’ll be continuing to write as we go and hope that the other School of Ed facilitators and the P2PU community at large chimes in too.

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One thought on “Exuberance!

  • October 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I look forward to seeing how some of this shakes out for you. I’m not surprised by the number of people who sign up and do nothing further. I’ve watched this in other places as well.
    Sorry I missed the deadline for your class, but I am following:)

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