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Is a regular ongoing interconnected health sector network of twitter chats/tag sharing like the #hcsm (Health Care Social Media) family of interwoven #hcsm #hcsmca #hcsmeu #hcsmanz (which I'm involved in running) a mooc? Massive yes, Open-yes, Online yes, Course-not sure?

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I would simply call that a twitter chat, I do not see any other components that one would traditionally associate with a course. Hashtag chats are becoming much more common these days and it is great to see that dialog routinely on display in various disciplines and on various topics.
In most of the chats, topics are choosen to cover the emergent issues arising out of socila media, web 2.0 new tech for health. Basic, advanced & topical issues are discussed. New reserch and opinions is shared blog posts are shared, eveb blog comments. The chats are lead by poeple who facilitate learning- They could be considered mooc teachers.
Good discussion. I think we are grappling with what is a MOOC and what is not. For now, it is amorphous, and flexible as it should be. The defining elements for me are the terms "course" which implies a stream of knowledge defined by some authority or expert, content, deliverables and learning outcomes. That is what I am using as a rubric to decide what is a MOOC and what is not.

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I guess the difference may not be in the types of the discussions, but in the diversity of participants. I can sit around a coffee table, or a social network, and learn new things, talk about research, and be inspired in my own work. In a class setting though, I am going to meet people with diverse backgrounds, different was of seeing the world, various research and academic paradigms. I get a broader perspective. When we are confined in our disciples, people tend to become myopic. When we broaden our connections, we see things in a new light. I would say that participant diversity is critical to an open online discussion, like a MOOC. I'm inclined to suggest that a diverse participant pool is a necessary, but not sufficient component in a MOOC.
I think the difference is in the intent of the facilitator and the presence of a facilitator. A MOOC requires some preparation as to the context of the online event, Without a solid launchpad for focused discussion, a MOOC would just be a collection of twitter chats and blog posts. That would just be a MOOE (Massive Open Online Event) much like a flashmob of discussion.
The following characteristics are present in the #hcsm family of twitter chats. *Massive number of diverse participants, plus many lurkers, *autonomy of learners *extensive sharing and discussion, *anyone can start new regular chat and many do *free participation with out any external authority although the people who moderate/facilitate the chats have a education/community building agenda - For my self I suggest topics that variously may * have broad appeal and bring in new tweeters * are topical but confusing and need a built of collective sense-making * are topics that interest me. *are topics that re-cover the basics, fold back the learnings we have had from other more advanced or specialist topics. *people are meeting up face to face when there are opportunities and a few online collaborative projects or consultations. People are making connections that matter to them and they are gaining useful PLNs and professional connections that are turning into projects. People seem to be learning and sharing as well sharing and learning in an area where there no experts, there is lightning fast innovation & change and great deal of convergence from diverse areas of expertise and service delivery. It feels like connectivism happening to me. Cheers Malcolm

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