FOSTERING A SHORT TIME SPAN COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE: THE CASE OF LEUPHANA’S CMOOC MENTORS
The Leuphana University’s Digital School hosted its third 3-month cMOOC with name “Psychology of Negotiations - Reaching Sustainable Agreements in Negotiations on "Commons". The acronym MOOC stands originally for Massive Open Online Courses and the ‘c’ refers to Connectivism as the underlying learning theory.
Leuphana Digital School has added meaning to the acronym and refers to its MOOCs as ‘Mentored Open Online courses’, without leaving the massive component aside. The learning concept of Leuphana's MOOCs is based on collaboration and work in small groups in which different supportive actors scaffold the learning process of the participants. Mentors, teachers, a course host and tutors are those actors scaffolding participants differently as they go through the online course. In this contribution, the focus will be placed on the Mentors.
Mentors are academics from the Leuphana University and seniors in experience who provide guidance and support to the participants of the MOOC. Moreover, they need to be perceptive, attentive, proactive and sensitive to cultural diversity. Mentors initiate and moderate discussions in the forums, they are very familiar with the didactic concept of the course and can provide accurate answers to any question that may emerge during the different course phases. Finally, and most importantly, they are responsible for the evaluation and provision of high qualitative feedback to participants’ submissions.
In order to assume their role outstandingly, Mentors are required to work in close cooperation some weeks before the start of the course and during the course. Consequently, they are expected to coordinate their work, share their experiences, support each other as a team and apply all this in their practice as Mentors within the MOOC.
The purpose of this contribution is to share the experience of the group of Mentors, including the strategies, methods and tools that have supported the group to evolve into a Community of Practice in a short span of time.