A reflection on MOOCs – again?

I would like to reflect on MOOC again.

In this What is a MOOC – JISC Webinar 11-07-12 (from Jenny’s post) Here is the recording.

Jenny says in her post on the MOOC bandwagon.

The purpose of learning in a MOOC would be to create knowledge and artefacts through exposure to a diverse network, rather than have it centrally provided.

I would like to add another purpose of MOOC:  which is to provide a platform where both educators, experts, knowledgeable others, and learners would learn together through networks, with the ultimate purpose of education and learning achieved through the creation of Personal Learning Environment and Personal Learning Networks, under a connectivist learning environment.

The traditional interpretation comes from enlightenment, which holds the highest goal in life – to acquire, to create, to search the riches of the past and try to internalize the part of them that is significant to you, a quest for understanding, to  further your own way of life.  The purpose of education is then to help people to determine how to learn on their own.  It’s you as a learner who is going to achieve that in the course of education, it’s up to you to decide what you would like to master, to determine your goals, and how to produce something that is exciting to you or others.

Here, the purpose of education is to engage with the world, and to prepare ourselves (as learners) to be tenacious and resourceful, imaginative and logical, self disciplined and self-aware, collaborative and inquisitive.  And one of the most important purposes of education is learning how to learn.  Learn globally and act locally, and be connected to the international communities.

Geoff Cain in his post on why MOOC works listed 4 reasons: 1. Student motivation, 2. Facilitated connections, 3. Self-organization, and 4. Content curation.  I could echo with his points on motivation and self-organisation.

There are unique nature and features of learning that differentiate connectivist MOOCs from the content based instructivist MOOCs.

Why are the MOOCs becoming a threat or disruption to education?  

See this post and this post on MOOCs.

What are some of the outstanding questions relating to MOOC?

Tony raises the following questions:

How should we measure the success or failure of MOOCs? Many learners do not intend to take a certificate or to complete all the work, but could MOOCs be improved so the proportion of those that do take an assessment at the end is more than the 5-10% of those that started the program, as at present? What are MOOC participants actually learning?

These questions are not only applicable to x MOOC, but the connectivist MOOCs, I suppose.

How should we measure the success or failure of MOOCs?

As highlighted by Stephen here: “In the MOOCs we’ve offered, we have said very clearly that you (as a student) define what counts as success. There is no single metric, because people go into the course for many different purposes. That’s why we see many different levels of activity (as we also saw in the AI course).”  Our research into MOOC also reveals the different interpretation and measures of success, as viewed by the participants, in terms of their needs, expectations, and may be participation, in various ways.  One of the critical factors of success has to be based on MOTIVATION.  If learners are more motivated to learn via digital and social networks,  and internet, with the use of PLE/PLN, then that kind of success could be hard to measure, but one of the most important factors in determining whether the MOOCs are successful or not.

How learning occurs in a connectivist MOOC?

When students want to learn a particular skill, or certain sets of competency, especially via a connectivist MOOC, they could consume the information or artifacts that are deposited on the MOOC web sites, by reading books, or watching relevant videos on Youtube (short videos presented by the instructors), or recordings, or viewing a slideshare of the topic, or reading a blog post tagged with the course, or reading or participating in a forum set-up in the MOOC, or the reading of posts via OLDaily, RSS, FB, Twitter, etc.  The routine of learning is based on what Stephen has recommended (and highlighted by Jenny): “through the aggregation, remixing, repurposing and feeding forward of resources shared and created, to enrich the learning experience”

Essentially, there is no one single platform that would be used by the learners for the typical connectivist MOOCs, though a wiki would likely be set up for helping and supporting the learners in visiting the course site.  It is also up to the learners to decide on which platforms that best suit their learning, and to whom they would like to connect with throughout the MOOCs.  As George re-iterates:

The MOOCs that I’ve been involved with are designed to reflect the distributed, global, and networked structure of the web. We don’t expect students to do their learning in our spaces – they can post/participate/create where ever they like. We’ll stitch things together technologically (grsshopper) or through social interactions. We expect course participants to create, make, remix, improve, and generate new knowledge (i.e. Scardamalia and Bereiter (.pdf)) through participation in our MOOCs. A more detailed discussion of the theory underpinning our MOOCs is available.

How learning occurs in an instructivist MOOC?

Here learning is based principally on the traditional pedagogy where learners would visit the course site, watch the lecture videos, do the readings and assignments, participate in the forum (set up by the organizer or the participants), submit assignments,  take the tests and examinations.  These are documented in various posts, including here on Udacity:

All instructional videos include captions that can be activated to aid non-native speakers understand the lectures. If you have no troubles reading this blog, you should not really have issues understanding the videos either.

Each course makes available additional material in a Wiki, and a discussion forum where students and instructors can interact with each other directly. There are also sub forums for study groups, extra practice groups and tags for each unit of a class.

What does it mean when education becomes a content delivery system?

The notion that “education as a “content delivery system” isn’t just the purview of science fiction. It’s also political fantasy. We’ve long had the notion that young and impressionable minds can simply be cracked open by a teacher (or parent or priest) and filled with the appropriate knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic (and/or scripture).” is still prevalent, as Audrey comments.

Photo: From Audrey’s post.

Who takes instructivist MOOCs?

Here in the post:

Among 14,045 students in the Machine Learning course who responded to a demographic survey, half were professionals who currently held jobs in the tech industry. The largest chunk, 41 percent, said they were professionals currently working in the software industry; another 9 percent said they were professionals working in non-software areas of the computing and information technology industries.

Many were enrolled in some kind of traditional postsecondary education. Nearly 20 percent were graduate students, and another 11.6 percent were undergraduates. The remaining registrants were either unemployed (3.5 percent), employed somewhere other than the tech industry (2.5 percent), enrolled in a K-12 school (1 percent), or “other” (11.5 percent).

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/06/05/early-demographic-data-hints-what-type-student-takes-mooc#ixzz20Z6pMN1I
Inside Higher Ed

This provides a glimpse of the participants of MOOCs.

Refer also to this post on MITx.

Postscript: Photo credit: this post and thanks to Edgar

4 thoughts on “A reflection on MOOCs – again?

  1. Pingback: A reflection on MOOCs – again? | Offene Bildung | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: A reflection on MOOCs – again? | Zukunft des Lernens | Scoop.it

  3. Pingback: Reflection on Transformational Learning Experience | Learner Weblog

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