This is a response post to Ken’s great questions in this discussion post on Daily Discussion.
Why do we need to examine and refine the pedagogy of MOOCs? Why not just leave it be, and not tinker with it?
This is Part I of my response.
Hi Ken: Are you referring to this post on folks-who-shouldn’t-teach-online by Lisa? She says in this post: “the pedagogy comes first, and the technology second.” I think the pedagogy (instructional strategies) that is important here is to support the learners (both educators and learners) to think differently. She continues: “The tools were just to be selected based on their needs.” “If you don’t enjoy teaching online, perhaps you shouldn’t do it.” She has developed a program guiding educators through on how to develop online programs here. It is imperative to understand the pedagogy that an educator would like to adopt: based on teacher-centred approaches of lecturing, direct instruction, or didactic instruction, or on the other end of the spectrum of student centred constructivist approach. It is also important to understand the implications of each of those pedagogy and how that would impact on the learners’ learning, and teachers’ teaching.
I would leave the rest for Lisa to respond. I have responded to her post in my blog, and I would reinforce that “learners should come first” when it comes to pedagogy, as that is how learners would be engaged in the learning process, and be an active participant, or an independent reflective learner of his or her choice, and or co-operator and collaborator throughout the learning, individually or in the networks. I have elaborated on how engagement could make a big difference in learning in a community here.
We proposed here that pedagogy should be developed to support human beings, in their pursuit of knowledge and their life-long and life-wide learning journey. That is why teaching presence is important. We realise that in an online course, educators would be needed, just like doctors, lawyers, to help and support their clients. Educators here will be extended to include those who are the knowledgeable others, in networks and communities, or actors in the networks, and not just those “teaching” as lecturers or presenters as practiced in a traditional teaching role in the face-to-face or online classrooms. We have included those roles in our paper, and so there are choices for educators and learners to consider, in how they would like to take up those roles, as facilitators, mentors, curators, organisers etc. based on the context and changing needs of the situation and participants. Some of us may be self-instructed learners or educators (or combining teaching and learning as a pedagogy), whilst others who are new to a domain would need more guidance or support. The learner becomes his own teacher could be the ultimate goal of MOOC, for some learners.
I have reflected on my learning about MOOC here. There are different approaches towards MOOC, and the Stanford approaches using the online learning “massification” and “standardisation” could be one approach – combining the social constructivist with the instructivist approaches, though to me, I think it is more aligned with instruction and facilitation using media and technology (videos to capture instructors’ lessons, and responses to questions posted by professors), together with online assessment (based on quizzes and examinations) etc. There are lots of online groups and networks set up in the AI course, and Wendy has reflected on her experience on it. As their courses are offered to both enrolled students and registered learners (not fees paying), where campus enrolled students are also taking the course, their approach seems to be more highly structured, in order to ensure compliance to the formal course and curriculum accreditation, and thus fits into the teacher-centred, but technology-automated massive online course that may cater for the needs of their students and other learners (who are registered with the course), in terms of knowledge acquisition and learning distribution. Content knowledge could still important for such MOOCs as delivered in structured course in formal institutions.
Pictures: Google Images
See Part 2 in next post.