#PLENK2010 What makes the difference in MOOC?

Lindsay says in her post Desire, Strategies and Approaches to Learning “There is no formal assessment in a MOOC”. That was also one of the questions that we explored in CCK08: is formal assessment important in a MOOC? Based on the feedback of some of the past CCK08 respondents, the feelings were that they wouldn’t have continued with the study if there were “formal assessments” imposed upon them. Would participants want to work on formal assessments in an open online course? Why would they do that? So MOOC is totally different from a “traditional or even a contemporary formal online course”, in that if formal assessments are used, one will ask: who would do the course? For credit? For learning etc.
I resonate with your question & learning outcome: my own desired learning outcome is to understand what factors contribute to successful engagement with online, networked learning.
I have been doing face to face teaching for decades, and on the job training and online teaching/online learning (MOOC) for some time, so if this MOOC is the same as that of my daily teaching (online, face to face, or blended), what makes the difference? To me, this MOOC is an important experiment trying to mimic the real life learning situation with the web, social networks, and vast arrays of social media within a changing ecology. Under a complex learning environment, only the learners would know exactly what their learning outcomes might be, as the learning itself is emergent, and so any pre-determined assessment determined by the facilitators may not be matching with what the learners want. Besides, under a MOOC, we have also found that learner autonomy could be one of determining factors towards successful online learning. Such learner autonomy would also be important in deciding whether a learner would choose to connect with others in the networks. I hope I could further validate such “finding” with the current PLENK2010 research.
John

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