What are we missing in this MOOC experiment?

I found this post on caution shallow waters all around us by Jesse wonderfully reflective and resonating.

Well said. “It leaves us with the endless pursuit of the right answer and the good grade. It leaves us with 70% of graduates in the UK this year about to be awarded a top degree (2i or 1st).” What seems missing is the discourse that would explore the pros and cons of each of the responses (MOOCs), and the real threats to human existence, and opportunities to new growth and development after crisis in education.

As Daunaseasley says: Life is about problem solving, not reading the minds of instructors. Similarly, getting good or perfect score in a MOOC (xMOOC) may mean a lot for students, as that is where the instructors “got excited” to prove that learning has happened, using the pedagogy that instructivism with instructors as gate keepers of knowledge and course as the “room” for the students to enter, where they got the key (the knowledge testified using examination, test, assignments and quiz).

How would we foster a culture of education and learning without engaging and interacting with these students in MOOCs?

Here is my share.  Re-posted part of it below.

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.

John

Postscript: See this video about MOOCs.   Aren’t educators still thinking education as a knowledge disseminating business?  Monetization of such education business seems inevitable, with MOOCs, as commented in the video.  So, again, this echoes with the notion that education is never truly free, only that we are at a transition stage of having some of these taster education for free.

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3 thoughts on “What are we missing in this MOOC experiment?

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