Interesting article on MOOC here. Here is my response (also on FB): I was surprised that there wasn’t any mention of the pre-Stanford MOOCs, like CCK, CritLit, PLENK2010, led and developed by George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and Dave Cormier; David Wiley and Alec Couros Courses on Open Education and Tech etc. What might be the reasons for that? In the wikipedia, MOOCs have been well documented.
MOOCs are not new phenomenon, and are only new if we view Stanford, Udacity, MITx and edX as the main MOOCs recently introduced. On the assessment part, using auto-assessments have been in place for decades. Any one taking online knowledge test in driving would have experienced that first hand. Using auto-assessment to test knowledge (where knowledge is known, with correct answers) could be done based on softwares and technology. Peer assessment based on voting of best answers are sound if there are more than one “right” answers, but would be challenging if the assessment criteria are “too open”, leading to different interpretation. There are also possibility of over or under appraising one’s capability due to the inherent “issues” and “weaknesses” of the assessment system or tools. For instance, there are no ways of contextualization of the assessment tools to suit individual situations, leading to the mere checking of “factual” or “procedural” knowledge, and little on emergent or advanced knowledge which involved application at work. The use of eportfolios could be a good option, but this requires human intervention (experts, knowledgeable others, or crowd-assessment). There are also challenges on accreditation, where assessment system based on standardization would unlikely be appropriate in auditing such a complex system or network. How about the authenticity of the assessment – who are the participants really taking the test, quizzes, and assignments? Are they really who they are? Would someone be testing the system using non-human (like machine, AI)? How to ensure that there aren’t any plagiarism, cheating and “copying” of answers, assignments or portfolio evidences from others? How to quality assure the whole system of online education?