Here is a response relating to MOOC and Higher Education.
In our view, the central philosophical flaw in the MOOC paradigm is that proponents believe that there is nothing to be lost in turning professors into glorified tutors, parts of a larger information delivery system. What this misses is the key fact that the heart of what we do as college educators has to do with the immeasurable human interaction that we have with our students and the vital social experience of the face-to-face classrooms. This is something that simply can never be reproduced by a new technology, no matter how advanced.
Inside Higher Ed
There are more concerns here:
With MOOCs offered by the most renowned professors in their respective fields, students have less incentive to relocate for postsecondary education. International students could take accredited classes without the hassle of visa applications and the hefty cost of international tuition fees. Local enrolment at second- and third-tier universities could fall drastically as students opted for the top brands with the obstacles to admission standards removed and credit dependent only on performance. Certainly, the vast number of students working 20 to 30 hours a week to help finance their education will not miss what they have never experienced – the bucolic life of an Ivy League education.
The attraction and availability of online classes has been partially propelled by, and will certainly reinforce, the increased reliance on part-time and sessional tutors and the precipitous decline in the percentage of courses taught by full-time tenured faculty. Departments may face significant downsizing or elimination. In the long-term, there will be less demand for the physical infrastructure of a typical university campus.
Here is a post relating to Can Online Courses Ease California’s Education Woes?
The governor is fostering partnerships between online learning programs and higher education, including a newly inked deal between San Jose State University and the startup Udacity. Can low-cost online classes help keep education affordable? Can online classes maintain the quality of a university lecture?
Interesting to note that Sebastian Thrun commented http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201301170900 there. Who speaks for cMOOCs? Unless the institutions and professors are going to appreciate the adoption of cMOOCs, most would still believe in the automated didactic instructivist approach, as the best professors are also considered the supreme authority/expert in the domain. It may be true that those best professors could deliver great lectures (short video lectures) as they have been educated with the best gurus.
The challenge is: we have assumed that EVERY STUDENT who is in need of learning (including remedial learning courses) would learn best with online courses. Is this true that ALL PROFESSORS could afford to spare the time and efforts in providing that extra mentoring? Or that a good online tool or tool box with repeated drills, short videos, would help students to pass the tests and examinations more easily? Most of us could pass an examination with more than 80 – 90% with repeated practice, by getting the right answers, if they are all MC or T/F. These are “concept tests” but there is no guarantee that students have really mastered the skills in real life applications, as MC and real life is totally different. Besides, which is better? Helping these students to learn how and why to learn, rather than what to learn only in online courses, as they are expected to apply the learning in real life scenarios, even after graduation.
The connectivist approach towards learning is not about rote learning (to remember the right answer or concepts to MC, T/F or even short questions), but to apply critical thinking skills, together with way finding and sense making to help and support them to grow their own knowledge and be able to learn with autonomy. Besides, as I have shared, there is no free lunch, and this doesn’t seem to treat our best professors in fairness too, as to expect them to teach tens or hundreds of thousand of students without adequate return (in remuneration) and their due respect. They are also educators who want to educate the world, though I think the branding and expectation of some participants of the xMOOCs to really learn from them might be “too high”. These professors are really too busy in preparing their scripted lectures and quizzes and have to bear the criticisms from the open. I suppose they are the only ones who might not have the time to speak about their work, and the implications, as they are committed to do so. Put ourselves into their positions and we would understand that these are all hard work.
Finally, nothing could be free forever, someone has to pay for these, in MOOCs. Even internet is never free, though it appears it is.
May I share this story on freebieshttp://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/cfhe12-oped12-a-story-about-freebies/?
Fabian Banga comments on FB: “thinking that when you talk with people here and you say cMOOCs or xMOOCs, they do not know what you are talking about. gave a presentation about this yesterday for 50+ professors in my institution. . great appreciation for the diversity of MOOCs. the PPP is here if you want to use it:http://web.peralta.edu/or/files/2013/01/OER_Auth_MOOCs-presentation.pdf“