Connection not Content

A Blog for MOOCs and Other Animals

#CCK11: Man! This MOOC is Something Else!

with 42 comments

This MOOC is Something Else!

Based on ‘la vaca de los sinvaca’ by José Bogado Creative Commons Licence
[This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.]

Me: Hey! You! Get off of my Blog !!
SixChick: Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd – eh?
Me: Look SixChick I don’t have time for this – I need to do a serious blog for the MOOC. Just go away!
SC: Cool it Gordo! I’ll help you – I’m on this MOOC too y’know, as a serious Lurker!
ME: Oh really? And don’t call me Gordo!
SC: Yeah I dig it – it’s learned me lots – downloaded plenty stuff for free too. Like, man, there’s so much I’m not goin’ to get through it all before next Christmas!
ME: You don’t understand – the knowledge is in the connections and it… well, sort of grows there and then emerges.
SC: Awesome possum man! … Gee – I’d like to see that!
ME: I don’t think you can actually see it – look, it’s something I’ve come on this MOOC to find out about.
SC: Sure – but I haven’t seen the teachers!
ME: There aren’t any – just a couple of facilitators who pop in and out from time to time.
SC: Oh yeah! I heard a couple of them spouting in the Elluminate room thingy – groovy man!
ME: These sessions can be very informative but I find the text chat distracting so I usually ignore it and concentrate on the speakers – it’s only good manners!
SC: Are you for real? That’s the best part of it – I usually turn the sound off!
ME: I was distracted once by a teleological argument in text about trees, deers, angels and tomatoes (?) – too deep for me! And because of that I missed a lengthy philosophical diatribe by one of the facilitators ….
SC: What a blow! Be there or be square man!

ME: But really, you can do anything you like on a MOOC – no learning objectives!
SC: Doesn’t sound like much of a course then – I’d ask for my money back if it wasn’t free! Spicy meatballs! They just dump all their stuff on you for nothing – I just say they’re after your bread. I’ve seen how young naive teachers just outa college can take the bait with the first ‘ism doin’ the rounds – they’ll be selling them badges, T-shirts … time-shares maybe! Never trust anyone over 30 is what I always say!
ME: Yup – ad nuseam for more than 30 years! Look SixChick – I’d be off like a shot if they tried to sell me as much as a pencil sharpener. I’ve given more courses in my time than you’ve had hot dinners and I’m pretty sure these guys are on the level. They work hard to set these MOOCs up, keep them going and they believe in what they’re doing even if you don’t. They say when they don’t know and they can even disagree with each other.
SC: So they DON’T KNOW – AND they DISAGREE!! Hot diggity! Sounds like they haven’t prepared their stuff when they don’t know what they’re teachin’ – even more if they can’t agree what it is! Sometimes I wonder about you Gordo!
ME: You don’t get it do you? We’re all in it together – scores of us from different countries, backgrounds, ages and experience in all types of education. There’s little hope of teaching so many people anything very specific, let alone indoctrinating them. It’s more of an open friendly forum – up to anyone, including the facilitators to read, study, interact and collaborate with others in any way they find useful. You call me Gordo again and I’ll throw you off this blog!!

SC: And then, what about the candyasses repeating the course?
ME: I don’t follow.
SC: There’s people here must have failed the course at least twice before – all show and no go – they’ll fail again come the exams man!
ME: SixChick, there’s no exams, no failures and a MOOC never really finishes. These people just come back to join in again – and maybe help the newbies!
SC: But I’m a born rebel and I don’t agree with a lot of the stuff taught here!
ME: Nobody says you should and there’s nothing wrong with being a rebel. Many advances are down to the rebels of the past but it’s not so easy to sort out the rebels that will make it, from the cranks, quacks and scammers in the present – just look at the flame wars going on in these newsgroups you spend so much time in!
SC: Hey man, you know I’ve a PhD so I don’t have much trouble – I tell ’em as it is! And I’ve gotten a new learning theory of my own – you know this Pavlov dog thing? – well …..
ME: Don’t tell me! Just stop lurking and share it in the MOOC. You might get some help if you don’t put people’s backs up by being such a know-all. And then, OK, go off by yourself if you want, THINK, and then write it all up Einstein!
SC: So I put it out on my blog and nobody comments.
ME: You never know – but if you’re really serious submit it for peer review and publication. Review the literature so people see where you’re coming from and don’t forget to reference your sources.
SC: Ah! – I’ve been warned about that game! Peer review by academics who can’t see the wood for the trees – no way Hosay!
ME: No harm in trying – but OK, one way or another you need to open up to people who know a thing or two about what’s gone before and are well-placed to see how original your theory is – er … if it is.

SC: Hmm .. I still don’t think this MOOC is a proper course.
ME: I agree with you SixChick – it’s something else.
SC: Eh??
ME: I don’t think it should be called a course and I’ve already said so here – though nobody paid much attention!
SC: I’m not surprised man! So “The virtual proximity of a critical mass of connected learners over the same period of time seems a good starting point.” does it? Lah-di-dah to you too!
ME: All I mean is that you could take that as a basic definition for any Online Learning Event (OLE) – so then anybody can come along and bolt on whatever they like to suit themselves – you could organize an OLE on Elvis with Hell’s Angel’s facilitators running along MOOC-like lines if you wanted to!
SC: You ring my chimes man! I’d learn ’em somethin’ alright – ‘SixChick – The Sage on the Stage – with ELVIS!’.
ME: Um – don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!
SC: Tight, Gordo but ……..
ME: .. in a while crocodile!! Heh! Sorry about the intrusion everybody – pity, no time now to write the serious blog I’d planned on: ‘Connectivism, is it a Learning Theory?’ Oh well!

Written by Gordon Lockhart

March 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm

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42 Responses

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  1. Love the diagram Gordon. It’s refreshing to have a diagram where the import is not camouflaged by arrows going which-ways and upside down text. I tracked down your blog through a comment you left on Ken Anderson’s. When Alan Levine was discussing Twitter, he recommended selecting those one follows very carefully as being the secret to having a productive Twitter experience. I believe he compared ‘mass following’ with ‘lying down with dogs, thereby catching fleas.’ I believe it’s the same with blogs. I’ve followed Ken’s musings since I first encountered him on PLENK and grew to love him for his unbridled enthusiam for learning and oft times mischievous intellect. I agree with him that a provocateur is a vital component of a network. Learners can never afford the luxury of complacency. But I believe it’s vital that the provocateur is informed, as Ken is.

    Was intrigued by SixChick (is this a latent personality, an alter ego or have I missed something blatantly obvious?)
    I’m glad that the emerging knowledge appears to be emanating from a sanitary source.
    Only thing I was confused about was the impact of the USB sockets. Can you elaborate for me ?

    What a great creative exercise if every MOOCER created their own. If you don’t mind I’d like to have a go some time down the track when I’ve had ages and ages to process.


    March 9, 2011 at 9:07 am

  2. Thanks for your comment Susan (I hope I have that right – if so your blog is still on my ‘todo’ list!)

    Yes – I agree about provocateurs. They fulfill a useful function provided they stay as fresh as Ken (one of SixChick’s ‘failures’!) and don’t get stuck in a groove like some informed cranks who ‘flame’ in some forums (not CCK11). Of course it was always so in the real world but social networking makes it that much easier to pick and choose!

    I’m just as puzzled about where SixChick came from – the 1960s is the obvious answer so maybe she’s a blast from my past! It’s occurred to me that a MOOC bears many similarities to the actual (as opposed to the intended!) learning experience of a typical 20th century university or college student away from home responsibilities for the first time: meet strangers – argue all night long on deep issues you forget the next day – skip lectures or go to them unprepared and then talk through them incessantly with your friends – make fun of the profs – experiment, collaborate, copy stuff from other people – make lots of mistakes! All an important part of the learning process and very enjoyable but usually curtailed when reality set in – in the shape of exams etc. Maybe all this is more the essence of a MOOC than the word ‘course’ suggests – or maybe I’m havering!
    Oh – USB sockets? For the non-human appliances to connect!


    March 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    • Oops how rude of me. Yes it was Susan. I keep thinking the RL name as opposed to the user name will display

      Susan O'Grady

      March 9, 2011 at 7:56 pm

  3. I loved reading this! I appreciate it when humour is used in learning, sure helps me, anyway! Yes, MOOCs are quite the phenomenon, I keep coming back for more!

    Ken Anderson

    March 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm

  4. love the image and the dialogue! We had a definitive “PLENK duck” in our last course. This time around, I think this is the defining image of the course :).

    For what it’s worth, I’m clueless about what to call this besides a “course”. In CCK08 we had a discussion about options: an event, a happening, etc. None seemed to work as well as “a course”. Suggestions appreciated…

    George Siemens

    March 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    • Thanks George! My own suggestion is to adopt ‘Massive Open Online Learning Event’ as a generic term so ‘Mooc’, pronounced as a single word (to de-emphasize the ‘course’ connotation), then becomes the special case for Connectivism.


      March 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      • You may be interested in viewing the famous PLENK DUCK to which George refers at:
        The Duck (or Connectivist Duckworks)

        Susan O'Grady

        March 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm

  5. This is an awesome image, kind of an infographic and a work of iconic art all-in-one.

    Jim Groom

    March 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm

  6. love both the image and the dialogue method….- and I am really curious what your answer to Susan’s question about the nature of SixChick is :)))

    Mine was, that it is a method I used ever since, so too mixed to pin it.

    ps: George, i am really sorry that I seem to tease you on twitter – it means no harm !

    Julia Pichler

    March 9, 2011 at 11:29 pm

  7. I love the tweet and retweet placements. Love it! So fun! Thanks for posting it and for the interesting dialogue. I found myself going back and forth while I was reading, agreeing with them/you both.

    In a comment to one of my blog posts (, Scott wrote “Can there be a Connectivist Cowboy?” He write,

    The Connectivist Cowboy rides Across the network instead of Along fence lines formed by conventional connections. When they aren’t herding large packets of nodes into coherent theories they are either playing poker with games theorists or in shoot outs with rouge nodes who gang up into bad ideas. They also participate in contests similar to rodeos, riding incomplete ideas and feral speculations. Not so much to break them in for domestic use as for the fun of being tossed around by a worthy opponent.



    March 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    • Thanks Leah – I like Scott’s Connectivist Cowboy too – for me anyway this sort of metaphor resonates rather more strongly than the philosophical slant – eat your heart out Wittgenstein!

      Gordon Lockhart


      March 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      • I’m sure Wittgenstein would say: “I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.”
        Lucky he’s not here hey !

        Susan O'Grady

        March 11, 2011 at 2:22 am

  8. Fantastic image!
    Would you be willing to allow me to use it alongside a definition of Mooc in the thesis I am writing on change and the use of emergent technologies? This a not for profit endeavour, as it is part of my studies, and would include attribution both to yourself and to Jose Bogado.
    Ailsa Haxell


    March 13, 2011 at 8:14 am

    • Yes of course Ailsa – I’m flattered! I’d also be pleased to see your thesis if you publish it at some stage.

      Best wishes, Gordon Lockhart


      March 13, 2011 at 8:27 am

      • Hey there Gordon
        I’ve published it in my own little way (not likely to bring you much glory I’m afraid). I’ve posted my response at:
        Would love to hear what you think (or see)


        March 16, 2011 at 11:28 am

      • Dear Gordon, I would like to use your image too in my dissertation. I’m a teacher in middle school in Italy and I’m working on social networks and learning, focusing on possible activities to integrate into the classroom or at home. I’m approching connectivism and like this picture a lot! I am trying to understand how connectivist principles could be applied to formal and informal education in schools…
        thank you,

        Lorena Luperto

        January 5, 2012 at 10:31 am

      • Yes Lorena, please feel free to use the image and best of luck with your dissertation!


        January 5, 2012 at 10:43 am

  9. Hi Susan – I can’t seem to comment directly on your mooc-pearls page so will do so here. I like your MOOC mashup – more subtle than mine – per-spectacles … hmm! – also I see you moved the Backchannel – I considered that position too but thought it might offend fellow MOOCers delicate sensibilities and convey the wrong connotations re nature of backchannel chat 🙂


    March 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    • I’m old enough to not worry about sensibilities Gordon. I would hope the people with whom I interact have evolved far enough to deal with a little tongue in cheek. Yes, too late I realised because it’s a page as opposed to a post it doesn’t allow for comments. Backchannel chat seems to have died in the …… anyway so I feel it’s location was apt. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my version of your wonderful creative ‘infographic’.
      stay safe


      March 17, 2011 at 9:52 am

  10. […] in contrast with my earlier blog pontifications, I was astounded and flattered by the impact my MOOC infographic made! I should make much greater use of the visual – and pontificate […]

  11. […] me and my horse… With the duck versus the cow? Picture credit: From Gordon’s blog post.  Thanks for his generous […]

  12. […] look …. and I’ll have you know that my CCK11 blog was not unnoticed. I admit that the Cow ["an awesome image" – Jim Groom,  "defining image of the course" – George Siemens] got rather […]

  13. Love the duck! Of course, I love me some duck on a chalupa. Or maybe in duck soup. Duck stir-fried with vegetables. I’m getting hungry. I hope there’s more than grasshoppers in the fridge.


    September 20, 2011 at 3:52 am

  14. Would you consider putting your dialog into Xtranormal – or allowing someone to do it? It seems Xtraordinarily suited to that medium.

    Jim Stauffer

    September 23, 2011 at 3:58 am

    • Thanks for your interesting suggestion Jim. I just haven’t the time to consider doing anything much now but have no objection at all to anyone else having a go. I experimented with Xtranormal for something else – see my first post in this blog. ‘Hello world! What’s new under the sun?’. That was originally done for iBerry (The Academic Porthole) but it didn’t seem to draw much interest and in view of the time I spent doing it, I never really contemplated doing another.


      September 23, 2011 at 7:18 am

      • That one is awesome. I’ll tweet it to CMC11 & change11

        You spent a lot of time tweaking gestures – and set the bar rather high for me. Not sure I’ll be able to equal it but I’m giving it a shot.

        I wonder if any xtranormal users can help me find a spelling that gets “MOOC” pronounced correctly instead of rhyming it with “book”? I’m using mooque – not completely satisfactory, but best I’ve found so far.

        Jim Stauffer

        September 24, 2011 at 4:57 am

      • Thanks again! Yes, can be a pain matching the rather limited gestures to the text and sometimes it’s easier to fit the text to a particular gesture rather than vice versa. Articulation using text-to-speech systems is still far from perfect but I think I managed to improve it for some words by splitting them (or was it hyphenation?) so might be worth trying something like moo-ki , moo ki , moo que etc etc – and you may be lucky!


        September 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

    • Go for it, Jim!

      carol yeager

      September 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm

  15. Xtranormal annimation of this blog is now available at

    Will post it on my blog with a link crediting Gordon as soon as I have time. Also plan to export it to Youtube.

    Jim Stauffer

    September 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    • Hah! Very good – just seen it – like the characters! See what you mean about articulation of ‘MOOC’. Hmm – I think I suit a cloth cap! – Gordon


      September 26, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    • oops – I meant “is NOW Avalilable”

      Glad you approved, Gordon.

      Jim Stauffer

      September 26, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    • Very cool! Everyone liked Gordon’s original post, and it’s a lot of fun to see the characters enacted. Thanks for taking time to do this–it works!


      September 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm

  16. Interesting image! Great discussion! Thanks to the link to Gordon’s video! Serious play over time contributes to our collective understanding of informal learning in networks.


    October 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm

  17. […] Err .. what about your drawing of me then, the iconic MOOC Cow, now popping up all over the web? G: Huh! – oh that was LibreOffice and I used somebody […]

  18. […] (source). […]

  19. […] November 2011 I was very impressed by the MOOC cow of Gordon Lockhart – so I showed it to my cooperators at ZML-Innovative Learning Scenarios and we decided that […]

  20. […] Courses are about curricula and the management of time, resources, learners and teachers. A MOOC is Something Else – I think it belongs in the Infinite Hotel and there’s plenty of room there for any number […]

  21. […] I attended the Change MOOC and was very fascinated of the MOOC cow. In my team we decided to develop the MOOC cow to “our” ZML cow, which was a very funny […]

  22. […] Based on ‘la vaca de los sinvaca’ by José Bogado [This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.] Me: Hey! You! Get off of my Blog !! Six…  […]

  23. […] Based on ‘la vaca de los sinvaca’ by José Bogado Creative Commons Licence. […]

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