What are the differences between cMOOCs and xMOOCs?

Are there significant differences between cMOOCs and xMOOCs?

The MOOC (more accurately should be xMOOCs) is the i-Tune of Academe captures the positivist views with xMOOCs, with promising future.  I still see MOOCs as freebies (with x MOOCs offering more features than cMOOCs including certificates and brokering services). To what extent are these “sustainable”, at least for the coming few years?  

I have shared my views on the differences between c and x MOOCs here, “more is less and less is more with MOOCs” part 1, and part 2 and part 3.

In essence:

1. xMOOCs are branded based on institutions and professors, cMOOCs are branded based on the co-evolvement and peer teaching and learning of both professors and learners.

2. xMOOCs are instructivist based, whilst cMOOCs are learner and learning based.

3. xMOOCs are based on an alternative business model, whilst cMOOCs are based on learner-centered connectivist model.

4. xMOOCs are based on semi-opened teaching resources, whilst cMOOCs are based on Open Educational resources (OER).

5. xMOOCs are based on a marketing approach, whilst cMOOCs are based on learner “word” of mouth and experiential and experimental “moment of truth” approach.

What else have you found?

What is the mission of Higher Education Institution and MOOCs?

“Can we assume that our education system (including most MOOCs) is primarily built on a behavioral/instructivist model of education? Teachers are expected to motivate students, keep them interested in class & in school, and ensure that they perform to the standards required, through TEACHING.”

Thanks to Doug Holton for the reference:  FROM TEACHING TO LEARNING – A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education (Barr and Tagg, 1995) where Barr and Tagg say:

To say that the purpose of colleges is to provide instruction is like saying that General Motors’ business is to operate assembly lines or that the purpose of medical care is to fill hospital beds. We now see that our mission is not instruction but rather that of producing learning with every student by whatever means work best.

Hasn’t there been any changes from Teaching to Learning? What pedagogy and education paradigm are being adopted by institutions and MOOC? Most of us as educators know “how to teach” through teacher training. How about the production of learning that our institutions should aim for as a mission? Without learners taking responsibility, learning in action (likely through motivation), what teachers could best do is to “transmit knowledge and information” from their heads to the students’ head. How to ensure such knowledge is always kept up to date, if such knowledge is transmitted in our education system?

How do these relate to the mission of MOOCs?

The mission of edX via MOOCs:

“While MOOCs have typically focused on offering a variety of online courses inexpensively or for free, edX’s vision is much larger. EdX is building an open source educational platform and a network of the world’s top universities to improve education both online and on campus while conducting research on how students learn.”

This seems similar to my posting here in opportunistic education:

There are further opportunities in building education models where quality of education and learning experience are co-constructed and co-created by multiple networks of institutions and communities and networks, with a consortium of MOOCs like edXUdacityCoursera or the UK Open Learn initiative.

Alternative platforms of MOOCs in forms of opportunities of learning are emerging, and competition is keen, among MOOCs’ providers as more and more institutions joined the bandwagon of MOOCs. As I shared in my post, MOOCs need to be viewed differently in an institutional framework, if a business model is to be adopted.  Developing and adopting a vision and mission that embrace disruptive innovation and take calculated risks is never easy.  It is however the best time to transform education through integrating pockets of changes, where a ground breaking attempt would eventually help the institution in morphing into a totally new world of education, probably with MOOCs.

What sort of education do you envision for our coming generation?

I have been wondering about the sort of education that would truly transform the world of education and learning of the future.

Here in this post referred by Stephen Downes,  Neil Butcher says:

we are primarily harnessing the innovation of OER predominantly to reproduce content-heavy, top-down models of education that were developed hundreds of years ago to meet the needs of societies in the aftermath of the industrial revolution, models in which the student is still primarily a passive ‘consumer’ of educational content whose main task is to complete standardised assessment tasks in order to receive accreditation.

Thus, the urgent imperative – and the real transformative potential of OER and MOOCs – is to evolve new systems of education that can help our societies, and especially our youth, to navigate their way through a world in which the disruption wreaked by information and communication technologies requires a completely new approach to knowledge, skills and competence.

So, what sort of education model of knowledge and learning should we be envisioning?

Stephen says: “This is what I would like to see with our connectivist MOOCs but it takes time and has to be built from the ground up.”  Couldn’t agree more.

What is most significant is a shift from a transmission of knowledge to an active participative and engaging model of knowledge sharing, development and creation, in between learners, learners and knowledgeable others, teacher(s), scholars and experts in the field, so teachers, learners and the resources and networks are interconnected.  This would then provide a real break-through in education, in particular in Higher Education, where learners’ potential are fully developed together with their co-learners and teachers.

This is elaborated in this paper referred to by Keith Hamon:

Theory R assumes not that students’ heads are empty but that they are full. The primary instructional challenge, then, is not to transfer new knowledge but to help students reorganize existing knowledge to make it more useful, consistent, or true and to supplement it with insights and skills that will help explain more fully what they already know.… Students in Theory R classrooms must be active processors of information. Theory T emphasizes recall; Theory R requires students to engage in every known thought process. … Theory R requires students to make connections, to perceive relationships, and to synthesize ideas. It sends students searching the far corners of their minds without regard for the artificial, arbitrary boundaries imposed by academic disciplines.

See more at: http://idst-2215.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/moocs-transdisciplinarity-and-thinking.html#sthash.WwUE3mUc.dpuf

I have shared some of the fundamental shifts in the envisioning and pedagogy in future education model here:

To me, MOOCs (x MOOCs) are still bounded by the constraints of what the students need to know, and so they are expected to respond to the questions posted by the teachers, as that is part of the curriculum of the course.  As pointed out by Williams, et al 2012: ”The curriculum has become more instrumental, predictive, standardized, and micro-managed in the belief that this supports employability as well as the management of educational processes, resources, and value. Meanwhile, people have embraced interactive, participatory, collaborative, and innovative networks for living and learning.”

The real revolution that we might anticipate in education would be a paradigm shift where education is about encouraging and supporting learners to develop themselves into creative, autonomous, independent and critical learners who could initiate their own questions, and to explore and implement their own solutions to their questions, in study, and life.

This would then truly transform education, based on an inverted pyramid of education structure, where learners are situated at the pinnacle of their learning.  This is premised on that “learners who find the answers for themselves, retain it better than if they’re told the answer.” as reinforced by Sugata.

Indeed, this is also underpinned in the wisdom that learners would learn better when they are active in their learning journey, based on authentic learning.

Being knowledgeable is about knowing the stuff.   Knowledge able is being able to find, sort, analyse, criticize and able to create and share new information and knowledge. (Michael Wesch)

Future education and learning is no longer restricted to the “learning of facts and knowledge out there in the books, artifacts, information networks, and internet”.  Any one who could access the internet, webs and social networks, Google and wikipedia etc. could easily get the answers and solutions to their basic questions.  Learning is more about knowing what questions are important to the learners, and searching for responses to those questions in the quest of knowledge, and the creation of new knowledge and wisdom in a world of change.  It is the critical lenses that learners wear that would allow them to perceive the world differently, and to change, adapt and transform where necessary in their pursuit of knowledge and upgrade of skills and abilities.

I have also envisioned our future education here.

Another post on MOOCs

Interesting to read another post on MOOCs.

Great, having short video lectures, quizzes, meet-ups, assignment, tests and examinations.

What would you add or change when it comes to truly innovative education?

If you were the professors of the course, what changes would you like to make in these structure?

I have been thinking many other ways of reaching the interested audience and students, NOT by video, NOT by quizzes, NOT by tests.  By what? If you were the expert with MOOCs that work, please tell us and share!

Think about how your students are most attracted or interested in networks, in communities and in classes.  Ask why they are excited, interested.  Think about yourself as a student.  How and what would you be interested, and why?

As shared in many posts and experts, don’t tell, tell, tell, but ask, ask, ask, as students nowadays are attracted to the course, not because of the course content only, but because of the values and skills that they could get out of their experiences.

Postscript: This post provides some useful ideas.

Motivation and Intention in participating and engaging with MOOCs

Is intention an appropriate measure of success of MOOCs?

I reckon each person’s intention in MOOCs is different, though the participation and engagement could likely fall into patterns similar to the four archetypes of MOOCs.

My proposition and assumptions relating to motivation and intention in participating and engaging with MOOCs include:

Psychological factors, Like/dislike of MOOCs (as public/commoditised/monetised goods), credentials achivement, & pedagogy used in MOOC as perceived by people could make a difference.

1. How would people’s perception impact on their intention to learn with MOOCs?

1.1 What factors would determine people’s intention to enroll into MOOCs?

- These students/participants intend to browse and audit the programs.  These participants could include: (a) professors, educators and experts in their field or other fields who would like to have a sense of feel on what MOOCs are, and how they are run; (b) researchers and Master or PhD students who would like to conduct researches on MOOCs, as part their faculties requirements or qualification requirements; (c) participants who are life-long learners, who might have got a degree in the field, or in other fields, but are interested in the field of study.  There might be some people who like the pedagogy, and others who dislike the pedagogy.

- These students/participants intend to engage and interact with part of the course content and or other participants with discussion boards.  These participants could include those of the above, but with an intent to complete a few to most of the activities, assessments or examinations,  but have no intention of getting credits or expecting credentials out of the MOOCs

- These students/participants intend to engage and interact fully with the course content and other participants with the LMS.  These participants are more inclined to like the pedagogy adopted, though again there may be a minority of participants who dislike the approach, but not willing to disclose their emotions or feelings in open public.  These sort of feelings towards courses are typical in learners attending most institution based courses.  Feelings of loneliness, lack of interaction with others and professors, and lack of “support” that relate to motivation could be issues and concerns.  Others include the messiness and frustration emerging from the participation in forum and discussion boards, when trolling and “tangential discussions”, negative criticisms are present in the forum postings, and the concerns of moderation.

1.2 What factors would determine people’s intention to like/dislike MOOCs?

1.3 How would such likes/dislikes translate into learning in MOOCs?

1.4 To what extent would learning styles impact on one’s motivation to learn in MOOCs (xMOOCs in particular)?

1.5 How would each of the factors, likes/dislikes and learning styles relate to the four archetypes of MOOCs – lurkers, passive learners, active learners and drop-ins?

2.  Teaching, social and cognitive presence are often cited as the most important factors in successful online presence.  To what extent are these presence contribute to the successful learning in xMOOCs?

3. What are the goals and motivation of xMOOCs participants?

In this article on 6002x-data-offer-insights-into-online-learning (full article here):

It is noteworthy that:

Participation and performance do not follow the rules by which universities have traditionally organized the teaching enterprise:  MOOCs allow free and easy registration, do not require formal withdrawals, and include a large number of students who may not have any interest in completing assignments and assessments.

This finding aligns with what have been found in previous research:

As our research on PLENK (cMOOCs) revealed, many participants of cMOOCs are putting assessment as (lowest) in priority. This is different from the xMOOCs where assessment is given a high priority by the instructors (professors), and may be some students, especially the undergraduate students who would like to use that to improve their performance with their own courses. Besides, there are lots of graduates and adult learners and educators in cMOOCs who are more interested in learning about the pedagogy, the different learning theories, and the emergent tools and technology. They may already have got their qualifications, or that they aren’t keen in being assessed, or being “instructed” under a “mastery learning approach”. There are also professors, experts, professionals who wish to know how MOOCs are designed and run, and how they might be used in their own fields. These all “contradict” to the initial design of xMOOCs, though could be easily accommodated in cMOOCs, as that is exactly what cMOOCs are designed for.

It should be stressed that over 90% of the activity on the discussion forum resulted from students who simply viewed preexisting discussion threads, without posting questions, answers, or comments.

This is not surprising at all, as such pattern of involvement in discussion forum has repeatedly appeared in previous cMOOCs (see Rita and her colleagues’ research publications on MOOCs).  It is typical to note a highly active participation or posting on the discussion forum at the start of a MOOC followed by an exponential drop in the later part of the course.  Such pattern of engagement may vary from cMOOCs to xMOOCs though as the xMOOCs have numerous assessment components (like homework, examinations) which may lead students to post questions in the discussion forum.

Discussions were the most frequently used resource while doing homework problems and lecture videos consumed the most time.

There are also differences in the cohort of students, with xMOOCs more likely consisting of younger students compared to that of those in cMOOCs.  A more in-depth analysis of the student populations would be needed to compare the xMOOCs and cMOOCs students’ populations.

In xMOOCs, success has been defined by the research authors as the grades students earned.  Measure of success as “achievement”.

In cMOOCs, success has yet to be defined, though many researchers and educators have proposed it to be defined as the achievement of personal goals as set forth whilst participating and engaging with cMOOCs.

“This is also noteworthy that majority of students (75.7%) did not work offline with anyone on the MITx material.”  and that those who did work offline with others have achieved 3 points higher than those who didn’t.  This again illustrates that many students of xMOOCs would likely learn on their own, without resorting to the “help” or “support” from others, especially with a technical course such as MITx- 6002x.

This pattern of online learning seems to coincide with the current mode of learning in an online learning environment, where most students are still learning on their own, with or without the use of PLE/PLN.

Would this pattern of engagement be typical for xMOOCs humanities courses?

These questions posted in the article are interesting for further exploration.

What are students’ goals when they enroll in a MOOC? How do those goals relate to the interaction with various modes of instruction or course components? What facilitates or impedes their motivation to learn during a course? How can course content and its delivery support students’ self-efficacy for learning? Similarly, how can online environments support students’ metacognition and self-regulated learning? Do interventions such as metacognitive prompts and guided reflection improve student achievement or increase retention?

Is teaching an art or a science?

Professor Daniel Willingham suggests that:

Education is about changing the world, while science is about describing the world.  Daniel concludes that teaching is neither an art nor a science, but mid way between them, as it is about creating something, based on the boundary conditions.  He also uses the house construction metaphor for scaffolding of learning.

Is teaching an art? I reckon yes, as teaching cannot be practised without consideration of the context and people (teacher and learners) involved.  As every one of us is different, what works for one person in teaching and learning may not work for others.  The concept of scaffolding of learning is an art:

Scaffolding is the process by which teachers use particular conceptual, material and linguistic tools and technologies to support student learning. Scaffolding can be used at any point of interaction between teachers and students – at the point of providing inputs and explanations, through to modelling, interacting and assessing.

Is teaching a science? May be teaching could be based on certain scientific principles (mainly psychological principles and behavioral science), but again, these principles are all based on assumptions that education on human’s learning could be objectively assessed, and teaching being assessed in association with learning performance.

To what extent would teaching be based on scientific principles?

Here are some suggested Principles of teaching and Principles of learning from Carnegie Mellon University.  In reflection, most of the principles relating to teaching are based on experience and research, and are context and situations driven.  I reckon some of the adult teaching principles are based on science, with psychology as the basis, whilst others are based on art, especially when it comes to teaching using scaffolding of learning and social interaction, and the mediation of learning through technology.