#Change11 The MOOC experience and some propositions

In this post on Why Universities should experiment with Open Online Courses(with recording here), George was surprised (and disappointed) to read some of the comments left here.

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Here is part of my previous post in response:
May I put these into philosophical propositions?

1. When you don’t see any rigid structure in MOOC, that is good, as MOOC should be personalized, having adaptive and amorphous structures that are all customized to suit the learners, not just the educators needs.

2. When there seems to be a chaotic structure in place, that is good, because such structure would challenge even the most intelligent and talented educators, scholars, professors and learners to sort them out, so everyone has to rethink and reflect about what it means to learn in a chaotic Web and internet based learning environment. That is the reality that we are facing, in times of flux.

3. Where there are more and more problems emerging out of MOOC design, delivery and development, that is good, because this would give a chance for scholars, researchers, administrators, educators, and learners to change and adapt their teaching and learning, based on a shift in the pedagogy, paradigms. This would challenge each of them to re-think about the importance, significance and implications of online participation (with a participatory culture), collaboration and cooperation, as a network, as a cluster of educators, researchers, and learners throughout the global networks, as an institution, or a partnership of institutional networks. This would stimulate and promote stakeholders to research, to learn and to improve and innovate altogether, in order to tackle the challenges ahead of us and that of our next generation. That is the change and transformation needed to keep abreast of knowledge and learning in an ever changing world.

4. Are we living in an era of disruptive digital media based ecology? The challenge is huge, but the reward is even bigger. The more we know, the more we know that we don’t know. And that is learning as growth and development, both individually and as connective and collective wisdom.

This is the time to celebrate the successes and failures, through experimentation, and possible failures of MOOCs, where educators and learners could learn together. Without trials, we never learn.

I would like to see evidences of claim on some comments: “Critical thinking skills, writing, and close reading cannot be taught in cyberspace.”

For comments: “I am sitting in the middle of a massive coffee-shop or bar and in the middle of hundreds of half-baked, uninformed conversations that while they may be interesting are nevertheless, not grounded in scholarship and since the tendency is for the bloggers and tweaters to flit from conversation to conversation I have no sense of any substantial engagement with any group about any topic.” This relates to personal experience. So, what would the commenter like instead, with MOOC?

I haven’t posted these comments with the Chronicle of Higher Education, as I think we want to illustrate how critical thinking is actually learnt through our conversation and discourse.

Would this be the spirit of MOOC?

Photo: Google image

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#Change11 New model for Higher Education created through Organizational Learning Contract

I came across this New Model for Higher Education created through Organizational Learning Contract.

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I will need to peruse the book so as to better understand how it works.   It sounds useful for preparing students for careers and organization work.  Does it differ from the e-portfolio learning approach?

However, the use of Learning Contract – that may just be a variation of the Training Plan, has been in use in the Logistics discipline, here in Australia, for more than a decade.   It seems to be a fairly common tool in place in vocational education and training, especially in the on-the-job training and mentoring programs.

We have been practising such a vocational and education training model of “learning contract” for years, especially in the Distribution Centre Training where trainees could learn where, when, how, what and who they would like to have the training be done, and also addressing the why the training too. Here the trainees could exercise full control over their learning, especially relating to the skills required to accomplish the tasks and project required at work.  Normally a learning team is formed, that is between the trainees, the trainee’s supervisor, and the trainer and assessor, in order to provide necessary support.

Could this be used in the Face-to-face teaching and training environment?  Yes, but so far, learning contract could not be easily adapted as there are constraints as to how training is to be conducted in a classroom or workshop environment. For part-time trainees attending face-to-face classroom based sessions, the trainees could develop learning contracts at work, which would then form the basis of assessment evidence of competency.

Could this be used in the distance and online education environment?  Yes, for sure.  This would surely be useful in developing a structured, though flexible learning program based on the learner’s needs, especially when such program is supported by Mentoring support with facilitator and peer learners.

How about learning contract in MOOC?  I think I have addressed this in my previous post here and here, relating to my views on the design and delivery of MOOC, and how learning could be achieved and assessed.  Organisational Learning contract may only work if it relates back to the learning at work, within an organisational setting.

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As week 4th topic is on Connective Knowledge, Collective Learning, would organisational learning contract be a viable means to structure the learning?

Have you used organisational learning contract in your education, training and learning?  How effective is such a tool?  How does it compare to e-portfolio and PLE/PLN in the development of learning plan?

#Change11 Can children educate themselves? Of course!

This post on how children educate themselves sounds interesting.   Can children educate themselves.  Of course.  However, what does it mean by education by themselves?

This led me to ask more questions than having answers to how children educate themselves.  My questions evolved on how the graduates of the school would adapt to a world where “power” and “socialization” are shaped totally differently from that of the “ideal school”.  The hiring and firing of teachers in such a school (with “one year contract”) seems to me that teaching is based on a “customer” first perspective, which may have lots of implications.  What happens if the students are not performing and learning?  Are the teachers responsible for their learning, because they are not “liked” by their students?  Would this lead to a “teacher’s contest”?  What makes the difference between a “like-able” and “unlike-able” teacher?  Are the criteria for “teaching” and “learning” open, transparent and “educational” within such an education system? How will the teacher help and support students in school?  What criteria are used to establish the effectiveness of teaching and learning in such schools?

A democratic education and learning system is great provided that the rules are truly made for the sake of education, with the benefits and value of learning for learners in an education system, with purposes of education as mentioned: socialization, academic and developmental.

Otherwise, the true meaning of education is lost, when students found that what they have learnt through education wasn’t equipping them with the competencies and capability necessary for personal growth and the real world. Here they found that they have to compete with others when they are in the real world of business, and that there are certain accountability and responsibilities that they have to meet at work.

We might have a lot of happy students, but if students have not learnt what might be required in the real world, at work, or when they are expected to learn independently, what would happen?  If students are not ready to solve problems, or to connect and socialize with others, because they have been brought up in a different world, then would we need to question the assumptions behind such an education?.  This may be the paradox we are facing with education and learning in an ever changing education ecology.

This may be a different story if it is education of adults.

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