Here is my response to Mary’s comments:
Would you like to elaborate on George’s assertions in 2005? I hope I could relate to the hypothesis that you are referring to. I have a conversation with George face to face when he visited Sydney last year. You might have noted my postings on blog.
As I have mentioned in part 3, there had been some changes in the way cMOOCs were designed and implemented, throughout the years – from CCK08, 09, 11,12 and Change11.
Would our findings from the papers still be accurate?
I think the current xMOOCs are trying to work MORE like the traditional groups, and so it did behave in some ways similar to traditional online courses, where the support came solely from the “video lectures” by the rock star professors, and participants were trying to get more social interactions themselves through those forum sessions.
xMOOCs are then more group based learning, rather than networked based learning. This has an issue of power being centralized still with the authority figure (the expert professor) where the only credible source of knowledge is to be transmitted and consumed.
Besides, the quiz and assessment would be set by the central authority, possibly graded by machine (for there are only one right answer) and so there is no way of negotiating the assessment or learning methods. Besides, interaction with any professors in xMOOC is limited. If we were to compare that to cMOOCs, then there are obvious differences, in that every participant (like you, me, and many others) are “power free” to share and interact with whatever that interests us, and challenge ourselves on the assumptions behind each of the assertions, through connective and collective inquiry, critical thinking and reflection.
The peer assessment in xMOOCs sounds quite similar to our previous cMOOCs, though we didn’t have the specific assessment criteria in judging each others’ work. I appreciate the value of feedback in assessment in MOOC, and think it has been working with the cMOOCs for years, though we never grade our peers or vote on each others’ writings.
I could re-examine all the research data and findings for the last few MOOCs (CCK08, PLENK2010), and that of my observation for the latest MOOCs – Change11, this Oped12, and CFHE, on the properties of networks, and how they might have changed.
Finally, I think group and networked learning each has its merits and limitations, when it comes to social networks, and traditional formal learning.
Networked learning addresses the highest forms of learning – metacognition with critical thinking, creative learning and creativity skills development, and most important all, personalised emergent learning. See my part 3 for details.
Traditional formal learning would address the mastery learning in knowledge (facts), understanding, application and analysis, and synthesis.
When it comes to creation of new or emerging knowledge, these could hardly be assessed via the traditional testing and assessment (based on MC, short answers with known answers).
The existing xMOOCs do encourage individuals to excel in their mastery of content of the course, where the professors are holding the “keys” to the questions, and thus grading the participants accordingly, with machine grading, or peer assessment.
Would we need to push the boundary in the assessment in MOOCs? How about assessment of both individuals and networks on their performance? This included the impact each networker made and contributed to the network and community, and the ultimate knowledge creation as a result of interactions and research.
Postscript: See this post on Evolving Pedagogy.
New Demands of a Knowledge-Based Society
There are several separate factors at work here. The first is the continuing development of new knowledge, making it difficult to compress all that learners need to know within the limited time span of a post-secondary course or program. This means helping learners to manage knowledge – how to find, analyze, evaluate, and apply knowledge as it constantly shifts and grows.
The second factor is the increased emphasis on skills or applying knowledge to meet the demands of 21st century society, skills such as critical thinking, independent learning, knowing how to use relevant information technology, software, and data within a field of discipline, and entrepreneurialism. The development of such skills requires active learning in rich and complex environments, with plenty of opportunities to develop, apply and practice such skills.
Lastly it means developing students with the skills to manage their own learning throughout life, so they can continue to learn after graduation.