#Oped12 #MOOC Have people really understood what a great MOOC would look like?

What does a great MOOC look like from learners’ perspective? Through reading this post on MOOC,  it seems to me that the principal pedagogy of instructivism with a sage on the stage (with one SUPER PROFESSOR) teaching in a MOOC is emphasised in the x MOOCs.  Isn’t that the way most people are perceiving the x MOOCs (or the super MOOCs) too?

Ideally, Udacity and other MOOC providers will help strip away all the distractions of higher education — the brand, the price and the facilities — and remind all of us that education is about learning. In addition to putting downward pressure on student costs, it would be nice if MOOCs put upward pressure on teaching quality. Read more: http://nation.time.com/2012/10/18/college-is-dead-long-live-college/#ixzz29nAtt4gH

I think people might have got the whole ideas of MOOC too much relying on “teaching quality” alone. To me, MOOC is about LEARNING!  In an ideal learning ecology, learning (and teaching) should be focused on the learners’ needs, NOT just what the teachers want to teach. If MOOC is only about teaching, then the educators and designers need to be mindful about what is needed to support education and learning.  This is why Niazi has been struggling with the MOOC, when she couldn’t reach the media (Youtube) of instruction and assessment that she wanted. There are indeed so many roadblocks and distractions when learning online, that everyone has a story to tell.  But is it really what the learner wants?  How could we support our fellow educators and learners in MOOC?

Niazi loved MOOCs more than her own school, and she wished she could spend all day learning from Andy Brown. Read more: http://nation.time.com/2012/10/18/college-is-dead-long-live-college/#ixzz29nCE5Bh7

Isn’t it interesting to learn about students’ wishes, to learn from ONE professor only in a MOOC.  It is important to learn from professors and experts on specialized knowledge domain, in MOOCs, and I would fully think that is valuable from a learning perspective. My questions are, however: Is it good enough? Why?  Why not?  Especially in the case of online learning, and MOOCs.

The problem with the learning with an instructivist appraoch with ONE BEST TEACHER, might have assumed a knowledge transmission model in pedagogy.  This way of teaching would lead us to believe that if the teacher teaches “best” with the short video lectures, or the “flipped classroom”, then the learners would learn best. What are the assumptions made here?  Have we considered the motivation, the learning styles, the learning context and need for personalized learning here?  Perhaps, not much.  Or may be one could argue, these need not be considered in the case of “mass education” or, these are not THE HELPFUL questions to ask in MOOCs.

Without considering these basic assumptions, I don’t think we have addressed the core challenges in teaching and learning, when designing and delivering online courses such as MOOCs. What is more important is not the mere consumption of the content of the course (MOOC), but the application of theories and LEARNING (such as networked learning) into actual practice, in the learning process and journey. The assessment is just part of the learning, though it could play an important role when it comes to accreditation and certification of learning in formal education.

Learning is not just about certification alone, and so is not about getting a high grade, just to beat your other learners or to compete with others, and be the 1 or 3% genius on the top rank.   That is the traditional way of assessing and measuring students’ performance based on an elitist approach, in order to screen students – from the brightest to the worst students.

Does it help the students to perform better, just by testing alone?  No!  That’s why we need to provide plenty of options, opportunities of learning, and time for our students to keep practising, reflecting, and learning through different means – interaction with the professor(s), experts, other educators, peers, learners, industry specialists, and communities and networks WITHIN AND OUTSIDE the MOOC.

Learning in a MOOC takes its roots from conversation, interaction and new ways of thinking and practice takes place, in ourselves, with the network, and among the networks and community.  Learning would then relate to the achieving of personal goals, developing one’s learning strategies and literacies whilst constructing and navigating the networks.

Here in this post:

Creating a simple LMS is not simple, particularly when you are trying to align curriculum and instruction with modern constructivist pedagogy while simultaneously transforming a giant mob of participants into engaged community members.

Does it also mean that LMS is the way to go with MOOC? What does it mean when a constructivist pedagogy is adopted as the main approach to the  “teaching” of the massive students in MOOC? MOOCs would likely be best situated and appropriated when people apply what they have learnt not only from the professors, but with each others, through networking, interaction, conversation with a Connectivist and or Constructivist approach, where the learners could ultimately develop into fully autonomous, self-motivating and life-long learners. As commented in this post relating to Sebastian Thrun’s AI MOOC:

Mr. Thrun is talking like a true Silicon Valley entrepreneur. “The AI class was the first light. Online education will way exceed the best education today. And cheaper. If this works, we can rapidly accelerate the progress of society and the world.

Will online education way exceed the best education today?

Postscript: Watch this video presentation by Sebastian Thrun.  Rockstar professors – sound like a return to education by the SUPER PROFESSORS AS FIRST CLASS CITIZENS, NOT THE RESEARCHERS!

Sebastian admitted that a 25 years old graduate who taught in the Physics course in Udacity could do a better teaching than him, as a professor.   That sounds interesting.

But what is good teaching?  Is it just using multi-media to teach?  Or should it be more than just posting “great videos”?  How about facilitation skills of a teacher?  How about a visionary teacher who could mentor and guide learners towards learning (in learning metacognitive skills), and learning how to learn?

Should we focus more on adaptive learners and adaptive learning instead?  I still have reservation with the PUSH approach towards learning in online learning, where education is pushed to the students.

Is Khan Academy using an open PUSH or PULL approach towards learning?   Your view is important.

Here is a post about MOOC and Sebastian Thrun’s presentation.

18 thoughts on “#Oped12 #MOOC Have people really understood what a great MOOC would look like?

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  4. I agree with you completely! You summarize the issue well…and the “Super Professor” approach is just souped-up transmission of information. The real challenge is to create negotiated learning environments that use technology to track learner progress so that we can diagnose the learning taking place and scaffold as needed. This is certainly far more educational sound (and transformative) than returning to the days of “filling an empty vessel” with knowledge. In an age of information abundance – there are no empty vessels…

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  8. Well said Lee, and I fully agree that we need to create negotiated learning environments that use technology to track learner progress so that we can diagnose the learning taking place and scaffold as needed.

  9. I really enjoyed this post. I think it is quite insightful, and I’ve actually given some thought to joining adaptive learning to a MOOC. It seems like a match made in heaven – the scalability of a super professor combined with the learner-centric model that adaptive learning provides.

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