I recently had the pleasure of creating content for and facilitating the Web Science MOOC. Having previously taken part in MOOCs as a student, it was my first time being on the other end of a MOOC platform, and it was just as rewarding.
Having to create a concise but informative introduction to my research was a challenge, but I think I managed to get across some of the key points to spark a good debate amongst the participants. Looking through all the comments I was pleased to see that between them, they had covered a lot of ground.
The discussion step asked participants to try out a tool developed to estimate the value of their personal data. Having tried the tool myself beforehand, I was interested to see what results participants got. It was also a good opportunity to raise questions about the validity of the tool and how meaningful were the conclusions that could be drawn from it.
The week in which my section of the course was ‘live’, many of the issues were discussed in the media; in particular, in relation to the use of personal data by government intelligence agencies, which raised interesting perspectives on commercial data collection. I’m looking forward to the second round of the MOOC, and it will be interesting to see if opinions have changed in light of these media stories.