Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ How to Participate in the MOOC - 2

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Sept 14, 2011

Today it's all about setting up your social web.

Remember from yesterday that if you want to engage more actively in the course, the best way is to create your own contributions online. You are not required to do this, but you may well find yourself more engaged in the process if you do.

Here's what the social web involves in this course:

  • Your own personal information and email

  • Your social network identities

  • Your blog and other RSS feeds

  • Your newsletter subscription

  • OpenID

Logging In

Before dealing with any of these on the website, it is necessary to log in. You created a login ID and a password when you first signed up for the course. You might even still be logged in! If you have not yet signed up for the course, you'll need to register. This will also log you in.

Check any page on the website and look to the upper right - there you will find the login dialog, right below the navigation. It will either say "You are not logged in" or it will say "You are logged in as so-and-so." If you are not logged in, you'll have to click the login link and log in.

Don't panic if you've forgotten your UserID and your password. Almost everybody forgets them. It's not just you. To recover your login details, you can go to the password recovery page and enter your information, usually your email address. The system will email you your login information.

NOTE: this login only works on the website - don't expect it to work on other social networks, groups, online conferences, or anything else.

Your Options

Once you are logged in, you will see the Options link in the upper right hand corner. Clicking on this takes you to your options page, where you can manage your online presence in

At the top of the options page you'll see your personal information - name, location, email address, and the like. Don't worry, we're not showing this to anyone else - there's a link that allows you to see your public profile (at the moment, very minimal). There's a link that allows you to edit your personal details. Use this page to change your password or email address.

It would be really nice if you added your name and a short personal description we can show publicly; we'd like to have personal pages people can view if they follow your name (we'll do this instead of the ubiquitous 1500-entry long 'welcome' thread you see in other courses). Don't add information you don't want to share. No website is invulnerable. Even if you opt not to display some information, if may become public one day.

Your Social Network Identities

This is something new for these courses - we are asking participants to contribute their social network identities. You will find a screen where you can edit social network information. Use the drop-down to select a social network name, and then put your member name in the next colum. Check the box if you want this identity shared, or not if you don't.

Do not enter your social network password. We will never ask you for your password, whether it's your Twitter password, Facebook password, or whatever.

What will we use this information for? Well, we're not totally sure, but we have some ideas:

- it would be nice to include your @twitter name with your comments. This will allow us to do that.

- we'd like to be able to allow you to publish on your social network site from this website. Then, for example, you could comment on a comment here, and tweet the URL from your account, or post a copy of your comment in Tumblr, or whatever. Now none of this exists yet, but we're hopeful.

- we'd like to be able to compare networks before and after the course. If we know (say) your Twitter name, we can use your list of followers - and those of other people signed up in the course - to create a 'graph' of the course.

There's probably a lot more we could do - we'll be open to ideas for the entire year. If you want to take part, add your information here. If not, no problem, you can still enjoy all aspects of the course.

Your blog or RSS Feeds

As mentioned yesterday, we'd like you to add your blog URL and RSS feed to the feed list. We will aggregate the posts you write over the year, and if you use the #change11 tag in the title, body or category of your post, we'll be able to link to it in the course newsletter and make it available in the content viewer.

You can see a lit of your feeds in your Options page, with a little coloured dot to indicate its status. Orange means it's pending approval - we review all feeds to make sure the URL is correct and that their contents are not full of unwanted material. Green means that it has been approved and is being harvested - and you should be able to see what content we are displaying by clicking on the 'view' link.

To submit your feed, click on the Add a New Feed link. This will take you to a form where you can add your feed information.

While many of you may have created blogs and found feeds, this may be new to many of you. If you need more detailed instructions, you can view one of the videos we've produced describing the process for other courses:

- Here it is for the PLENK course

- Here it is for the Critical Literacies course

The only difference between this course and the other courses is in (a) where to add a new feed, and (b) the course tag.

Once you start seeing articles from other blogs appear in the newsletter, you'll see how powerful this form of interaction can be. We know you'll enjoy it a lot more than just another threaded course discussion forum.

Your Newsletter Subscription

If you're reading this, you've probably already subscribed to the newsletter. This section lets you manage that subscription. 

You receive your email every weekday at the email address specified in your personal information. At the bottom of that newsletter is an unsubscribe link. Click the link, and you're unsubscribed. No questions, no logins, nothing else at all!

So, sometimes people unsubscribe by accident. Or for some reason they can't read the unsubscribe link. So then you go to your Manage Subscriptions page - you'll see a list of the newsletters in the course (currently there's only one). Check the box to subscribe, uncheck it to unsubscribe.

You can use this as often as you want. Uncheck to take a break from the course, and when you're ready, come back, check the box, and pick up right where you left off.


OpenID is currently broken. We don't know why. We're working on it.

Web-Based Activities


We want to encourage all course participants to create whatever sort of interesting activity, interaction, content or service you want. This is your course as much as it is ours!

Let me provide some examples of the things that have been done so far:

- someone has set up a Change11 Facebook group

- another person is planning a weekly teleconference


We would like you to tell us what you are doing - we can advertise the activity or event in the newsletter, and we'll list all the off-site contributions in the Web-based Activities page.

If you are a participant in the course, we encourage you to check out these activities. They won't all be for you - again, you have to pick and choose - but some of them may suit you a lot better than the activities we're hosting here. Again, what you take part in is up to you. Create your own custom experience of the course.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jul 13, 2024 11:56 a.m.

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