the challenge of participating with limited access

Access on dial-up in a learning community that assumes high speed connectivity, whether home or institutional, continues to be a major challenge pursuing multiple moocs, whether concurrent or serial. Verb choice and ‘why’ can wait as topics. Now is first aid time for a prematurely published post (email glitch, sending instead of saving, which also goes to another mooc-related area, keeping the damn tools and their protocols straight

Accessing /consuming course materials is the first challenge ~ and an ongoing. Everything is hunky dory as long as I can read it. By email. In my rss reader. Follwing links. Downloading documents. On the course page. Even going to SlideShare or Scribd. Not live sessions. Google+ Hangouts, Elluminate “rooms” or other modes of streaming videos, live or not. Some downloading works, other not. There are no uniform standards, partly because everything is still in Beta, acknowledged or not, but also because of a willful myopia or tunnel vision about access.

I remember in PLENK2010 the landing /announcements / update page, hosted by Athabasca, included audio and transcripts for live sessions, which was a huge help… that and blog posts, especially Dave Cormier’s, recapping sessions. EduMOOC had them too. Vance includes audio for sessions, something Jeff LeBow manages for him. However, not all audio files are equal or equally download accessible. I was able to download a Multiliteracies guest podcast (recorded with mobile tech and sent to Vance by the guest) but not the Elluminate/Blackboard ones from Multiliteracies live sessions. They start to download but run into some kind of error problem (according to my download history page). After trying three times, I usually give up on it as a waste of time and bandwidth.

Yesterday’s pdf for slides from one group’s live session stopped uploading but won’t open ~ “file corrupted and can’t be repaired” message, not a complete download but I’ve downloaded much larger pdf files, so file size was not the problem. The glitches you mentioned may be a factor ~ or the Blackboard/Elluminate connection (see above). I may break my rule of three and try again after I catch up with downloads for other courses.

Institutional hosting and more powerful platforms may be a factor. First, Athabasca for PLENK2010, then University of Illinois for EduMOOC, and now the Coursera videos have been the most accessible and also the most likely to be accompanied by audio files and transcripts. Scale and target audience could be another. All this puts me been thinking about other courses, access, workarounds, building redundancies in online courses, and the educator populated blogging of pedagogy/edtech cMOOCs, even the question of global aspects and delivery considerations.

…. and from there to my course blogging that, as usual, I am behind. So I’m turning my reflections into a blog post, possibly the start of a series.

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