MOOC and Higher Education

Disruptive technology and how to compete for the future

MOOC in this students-weigh-in-on-value-of-massive-open-online-classes.   The crisis in higher education tells a great story.

Debating the flipped classroom at Stanford elaborates on how flipping the classroom has changed the way online education is done.  We all may have experienced these flipped classroom in certain ways.

Here is a professor’s real time interaction with the students in the classroom.

Why some of the best universities are giving away their courses?

“Each has answers. But basically it comes down to these: To serve the greater good. To win a public-relations race. And, most especially, to enhance reputations.”

“We’ve had MOOCs and open learning resources for centuries,” says Dave Cillay, executive director of WSU Online. “They’re called libraries.”

Interesting to relate MOOCs to libraries, and in reflection, libraries could be one such study platform where individual learners would pursue their own studies through interaction with the artifacts, books and various media.  The concept of libraries has been changed dramatically when each of the learners could build their own libraries, in the form of PLE/PLN, with a pull basis, such as RSS, delicious and Diigo, Scoopit and Paper.li etc.  Other forms of libraries include the public aggregation and curation sites which are now ubiquitous, and are easily accessed.

How would Connectivism play a part in this networked learning?  When I reflected on the comments I once made with Matthias Melcher’s post on Connectivism:

Hi Matthias,
I have been thinking about those concepts on network, patterns, and similarity also in the past years, and these have been casually mentioned in my blog posts. How would we be able to apply complexity to “rule based” education and learning? Would that be similar to putting a round peg (learner centred approach/learner based teaching/learning) into a square hole (rule based teaching – lecture, broadcasting)? I agree on the wider application of Connectivism.  How would such informal connections “conform” to the rule based “corporate world”? I could see more opportunities, but equally interesting challenges, if informal connections are to “confront” the formal institutional settings. It is not just evolution, it is revolution, and it is happening, it is ubiquitous, and it is in constant flux. What do you think?
John

I think the revolution that is going on in the education world is now coming alive, first in this xMOOC, with the following features:

Traditional institutional education      x MOOC

limited size                                                      massive

closed, fee for education                          open to public, free for education

credit granted                                                no credit granted

face-to-face/online                                     online

rule based teaching                                    skills based teaching

content knowledge                                     declarative and procedural knowledge

didactic - question – answer                   mastery learning – learner – paced

mass or video lecture                                short video based lectures

face-to-face discussion, LMS – forum  LMS – forum, social media &  technology, internet

broadcasting within institution              broadcasting with flipping the classroom

Assessment – assignment                         Assessment –  machine graded assignments

projects, quizzes, tests,                             projects, quizzes, tests,

examinations                                                examinations

institutional based education model   entrepreneurial based education business

#Oped12 What sort of education is needed in Higher Education?

In this We don’t need no education:

The only reason why the Chinese system can be so rigorous and demanding is because the Chinese place a high value on education. Being a teacher is seen as a high-status occupation, not a fallback career.

Placing high value on education surely would provide a nation with competitive advantage.

What sort of education system would be needed in nations to maintain such a competitive edge under a global economy?

Part of solutions lies with the provision of open education system and resources, whereas another part of the solutions includes the adoption of innovative and creative approaches in teaching and learning.

Treat primary teachers like doctors sounds a good idea.  Would that work in developed countries?

There are significant challenges in education, including the funding problem.   We seem to be experiencing the Higher Education Bubble, where education is simply too expensive as a commodity for some people who couldn’t afford it.

Online education sounds promising, in that it could reduce the cost of design and delivery significantly, as teaching and learning no longer is bounded by the brick and mortar – the traditional classrooms.

However, there are also trouble with online education, where the learners may feel isolated in their journey, due to various factors such as lack of skills, confidence or support.

Learning must start from the learners, as teachers are gradually perceived as guides on the sides, at this digital age. Doctors are always in demand as the citizens are aging and having health problems. Would that be the case for educators? I think the problem of education go further than the educators’ status, qualifications etc. It has to go back to the system, as what we could learn from the quality education and movement.

Education is valued differently at different times, and that we are now at a transition from industrial type of mass education to a personalized and democratized sort of education.

Changing the clothing (education) for a person would surely make a difference in the appearance. However, what makes one an educated and learned person requires more than just a good appearance with the clothing. If we couldn’t get better designers in the clothing, then we might have to think about what could be done instead.

We might need to encourage and support the design of education which could transform not just the surface appearance, but the creative and innovative way of education and learning, for and with each of our educators and learners.

Here are some innovative initiatives in Higher Education:

1. Open Learning Initiative under an institutional framework

2. Disruptive innovation such as the MOOC – x MOOC and the continued development of MOOCs (refer to this True History of MOOCs recordings for details about the original MOOCs and some aspects of c MOOCs versus x MOOCs).

3. Narrowing the gaps of net generation with the use of technology in teaching and learning through various networks and platforms.

MOOC x.0 is coming our way!

MOOC 2012 would most likely be called Education 2.0  when millions of students have signed for the various MOOCs.   There are more than 1.4 Courserians with Coursera and a total of 33 Universities have partnered with Coursera.  There are other MOOCs providers including Udacity and EdX.

Who started off all these MOOCs? What were the historical roots? What was the origin of MOOC?

David Wiley was named the first person to offer a MOOC here.  The term MOOC was coined in 2008 by Dave Cormier and Bryan Alexander in response to an open online course designed and led by George Siemens and Stephen Downes.   (See wikipedia)

How was the early MOOCs like?

The course was called “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge” and was presented to 25 tuition-paying students at the University of Manitoba in addition to 2,300 other students from the general public who took the online class free of charge.  Refer to this MOOC Guide on how MOOC worked and this Change MOOC on how the course works.

What would this MOOC be called?

Is it MOOC 2.0 or MOOC x.0?  We have c MOOC and x MOOCs.

How do the x MOOCs work?

What caused the changes in this education movement?

See these posts here and here.

What are the implications of MOOCs?

College will never be the same again.

What MOOCs are missing truly transform Higher Education?

What would be the next MOOCs like?  Would it be MOOC x.o?

Postscript: See this post on MOOC.

Changes in Higher Education

In reflection of this Models of Technology and Change in Higher Education, I think we are now moving into an era where changes are accelerating at an extremely high speed, and the trajectory is yet to be known.

If we were to review the conclusions based on 2002 findings:

1. Change is slow and not radical

2. ICT in teaching and learning: Widespread but part of a blend

3. Instructors gradually doing more, but with no reward.

we could ask further questions at this time:

1. Is change fast and radical?  Probably yes.

2. Is ICT widespread in teaching and learning?  May be, for some institutions, but not all, and not in all domains or disciplines.

3. Are instructors gradually doing more?  That requires more researches to reveal the extent of work done, but it appears that more instructors are prepared in doing more, with ICT.

More than ever, “information and knowledge available online is modified constantly beyond the boundaries of time and space (EPA).”  In response to these rapid changes, so do the Higher Education Institutions.  Photo credit: from this post

Recent changes include the involvement of Google in the development of MOOCs as posted here.

See this comprehensive critique on MOOC entitled making sense of MOOC by John Daniel.

Relating to the paper, my comments below:

“that xMOOC learners preferred teachers to scrawl formulae on the modern equivalent of a blackboard rather than presenting them on slides.”

I doubt if xMOOC learners preferred teachers to scrawl formulae on blackboard (or that on Youtube).  What learners are looking for could be interaction with the instructors, if ever possible in those type of presentation.   Learners who are keen to learn through dialog would prefer to raise questions, when in doubt of the content or unsure about the concepts explained in the presentation.  It is a rather passive way of learning by watching the instructors “broadcasting” their short video lectures.

“I have argued that modern ICT, what my former Open University colleague Marc Eisenstadt named the ‘knowledge media’, are qualitatively different from previous technological aids to education. That is because they lend themselves naturally to the manipulation of symbols (words, numbers, formulae, image) that are the heart of education, as well as providing, through the Internet, a wonderful vehicle for the distribution and sharing of educational material at low cost.” (Daniel, 2012)

I reckon the use of ICT is just part of the solution in Higher Education, especially when the focus is shifted towards higher level, deep and meaningful learning.

“But while the potential of ICT to improve and extend education while cutting its cost is not in doubt, the results so far have generally been disappointing (Daniel, 2012b, Toyama, 2011). We should bear the reasons for these disappointments in mind in trying to ensure that MOOCs contribute to these goals for improving education and are not just another flash in educational technology’s pan.”

ICT should and would enable learners to have a meaningful experience if they are incorporated into the learning platform based on teaching, social and cognitive presence.  This aligned with:”The central core of an education experience, or learning experience is deep, thoughtful, and reflective study and engagement with a body of knowledge in a multiplicity of forms – facts, techniques, algorithms and practices, analytical frameworks, evidence.  (Open Education Chapter 7)

The story as told by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman in this Networked The New Social Operating System well illustrates that:

The networked operating system gives people new ways to solve problems and meet social needs.

Whether MOOCs could heighten learners to such a level of networked learning is still mooted.

I would however, think there are still lots of positives and potentials in the MOOCs, as I have shared them in the past posts.

Though there are lots of criticisms on x MOOCs, I think institutions are using these opportunities to steer the changes needed in Higher Education.

This is perhaps a time of huge change for Higher Education that would leave a huge footprint in its landscape.  There is simply NO RETURN.

I have made some proposition about the MOOCs here.

MOOC is on the BIG Move

MOOC – Wouldn’t it be the future of Higher Education?

Melbourne University jumps on the MOOC Bandwagon.  See this post for more details.  University of Queensland joins in (here in Queensland-uni-to-join-online-course-stampede).  A current post on the MOOCs here.

Would these provide hints on what would happen next in Higher Education?

I reckon this is the pattern of Open Online Higher Education we are anticipating.   This MOOC trend would surely be forthcoming and it would likely be adopted by institutions which are branded as prestigious Higher Education Institutions.

Here is my previous post about MOOC being the future of Higher Education.  

It seems that such MOOC movement follows the pattern as revealed in the research by Clayton Christensen on disruptive technology and innovation http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/05/14/120514fa_fact_macfarquhar

“In industry after industry, Christensen discovered, the new technologies that had brought the big, established companies to their knees weren’t better or more advanced—they were actually worse. The new products were low-end, dumb, shoddy, and in almost every way inferior. But the new products were usually cheaper and easier to use, and so people or companies who were not rich or sophisticated enough for the old ones started buying the new ones, and there were so many more of the regular people than there were of the rich, sophisticated people that the companies making the new products prospered.

Christensen called these low-end products “disruptive technologies,” because, rather than sustaining technological progress toward better performance, they disrupted it. After studying a few exceptions to the pattern of disruption, Christensen concluded that the only way a big company could avoid being disrupted was to set up a small spinoff company that would function as a start-up, make the new low-end product, and be independent enough to ignore what counted as sensible for the mother ship.”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/05/14/120514fa_fact_macfarquhar#ixzz27LE2M8dK

Isn’t MOOC taking a similar pathway, based on a spin-off from their mother institutions (the education ship)?

Here MOOCs require no enrollment fees and are open to anyone in the world who are interested in the courses, so far if they could access the internet and afford the time necessary for completion.

The significance of this MOOC could be huge, where such pattern of disruption would “revolutionize” education.  Such revolution may not necessarily be based on the pedagogy (flipping the class, or Mastery Learning), but the disruptive business model that has never been fully exploited before.

Here the cheaper, easier to create and use and more readily deplorable educational products are launched into a global market of Higher Education.  As an ideology, it is a win win situation on Education.

There are however, different versions of MOOCs, though the x MOOC would likely take on the “Olympic torch” – giving out the flames, and sharing the “glories” throughout the world.

How would MOOC evolve in terms of pedagogy?

There are many schools of thoughts and “classes of MOOCs”.

The c MOOCs, x MOOCs and the Unknown yet EMERGENT MOOCs as shared in my previous posts of MOOCs: More is less and Less is more.

Here are some thoughtful posts from MOOCers:

1. Instead of giving instruction, and providing the golf cart to people who should walk in order to loose weight, see here.

2. MOOC, or not? There are differences between course and class as Lisa elaborates here.

More on MOOCs

MOOC has become a venture capital education platform, full of opportunities.

Will MOOCs revolutionize Higher Education?

Exploration with MOOCs

I have just watched Jenny and her team’s slideshow here.   It is fantastic.  I would like to congratulate her and her team on such fabulous work and outcome.
She has shared her reflection here and I found them very useful in the research into MOOCs.
Jenny’s team focuses on the development of formal facilitation and the associated digital literacy and skills, and so that is really aligned with the institution’s course objectives.
Here are my questions to Jenny and her team:
1. What are the differences in approach for you (and your team) to work on this MOOC as compared to the conventional delivery (i.e. the closed online delivery)?
2. What are the success factors in the design and delivery of this MOOCs?   How are they perceived by the participants?
3. What does it cost for you and others and your institution to design, deliver, assess, and research in such MOOC?   How does it compare to the conventional design, delivery, assessment and research?
4. What are the areas that you and your team are satisfied with?  What are the areas that your participants are satisfied with?
5. Would you and your team have done differently if you were to design and deliver and MARKET the MOOC?  What would you like to change if that is the case?
In summary: What are your team’s and your learning from this MOOC?
Jenny responded that they are still writing the papers :)
I am not conducting research on your MOOC as I haven’t been involved in it.
I hope some of the above questions might help in revealing the effectiveness and efficiency of MOOC in an online education and learning environment, especially under the auspice of institution(s), or partnering with other institutions.
I am also interested in knowing the effectiveness and efficiency of MOOCs in driving the change within institutions.
Thanks to Jenny Mackness who kindly shared her research progress through her posts and responded to my questions to her in email.
John