#CFHE12 #Oped12 MOOCs emerging as Landscape of Change – Part 5 Questions & Openness with MOOC

This is a post that I drafted sometime ago.  I have decided to give it the finishing touch.

Questions and Openness with MOOCs

Role of Learning Facilitator (also in a MOOC)

Jenny in her post discusses the role of the learning facilitator.

  • Has your scope of work moved from cultivating walled gardens to supporting do-it-yourself landscapes?
  • Are you spending less time on convergent activities which create a sense of belonging, a sharing of common interests, and forging of mutual norms and more time on divergent activities in which individuals control their own learning choices, build their own personal networks and land for short periods of time in ad hoc gatherings?
  • Do you see these new developments as creating possibilities for your role or as putting you out of business?
  • What impact, if any do these shifts mean for the learning facilitator’s value, and marketing that value? 

There is a shift in the learning paradigm, from formal to informal learning, among educators and learners who have engaged and interacted in various media and networks, especially in the last decade.  Ubiquitous networks and technological affordances resulting from Web tools render such  engagement and interaction within a short space of time.

With a digital, open, networked approach we are witnessing a shift to abundance of content, and subsequently new economic models are being developed.  The shift to abundant content has a profound implications for education (Weller, 2011).

What technology has offered educators are affordance to reach others in social media and networks, and the means to cloud source and filter information, and aggregate artifacts that are useful for learning.  Aggregation, remixing, re-purposing and re-creating artifacts such as blog posts, or participation and collaboration in wiki writings and research have been made possible as a result of availability of the tools.

Educators as learning facilitator would likely be “role modelling” (as part of Stephen’s proposed pedagogy) in the networks and social spaces, in an open manner, using blog posts, Twitter postings, or FB/Google etc. as mediating and networking platforms to “share, support and facilitate” the learning.

I don’t see any hard and fast rules for such facilitation in the networks and communities of practice, though I often found those proposed strategies developed by Etienne Wenger extremely useful.

I think facilitation in COPs would need to be emergent in nature, and could take the form of engagement, sharing, interview, and conversation, rather than broadcasting of video lectures ONLY.

Would some of our colleagues or educators be out of the jobs as a consequence of MOOCs?   MOOC and you’re out of a job sounds pessimistic to me.

The changing landscape of MOOC

Conole’s slides powerfully illustrates how the changing landscape in a Web 2.0 world would impact on learning.  I reckon this applies to MOOCs (both xMOOCs and cMOOCs)

Not made in here syndrome in MOOCs

In response to Ana’s comments to my previous post:

Well said. “To say that rock star professors will become available to any villager is, again, a bandwagon cliche; villagers are usually more concerned with the rice growing in the paddies and how to feed their children.” That’s resonating.

You reminded me of the “Not made in here NMIH syndrome” when a particular technology (x MOOCs) is “exported” or “imported” into communities (villages), society and other nations.

Every MOOC provider wants to be recognized as the world leader in the field (the gold medalist). Besides, not all followers (other nations, communities) would like to be viewed as the “copiers” or just getting the Silver or Bronze medals in the field of education. Isn’t that a reality?

Colonialism in education with MOOCs

People need to be aware of the possible interpretation of colonialism of education, as it could impact on the traditions and cultural values of the communities involved. (I just noted that George also mentioned in the video below, though I have written the above more than a week ago).   This is a matter of interpretation, but could be an important factor in deciding whether they would like to join the bandwagon or not.

Education leaders of nations are accountable for their own nation’s education, and thus would prefer to have glocalization of education, on top of globalization of higher education.

Learners’ preference and autonomy in MOOCs

I shared Ana’s experiences about learners’ preferences in learning. Online learning could still be new to many educators and learners in some countries, though I don’t think I could generalize. There are both praises and criticisms in online education as the quality of “instruction” and “learning” do vary.

I do believe that we have a big difference even in the understanding and application of the xMOOC and cMOOC and that there may a “battle” ground on pedagogy – where a win-win strategy has yet to evolve. I know it is hard to pin down the pedagogy in xMOOCs though the pedagogy in cMOOCs is readily known.

Fundamental properties of Networks

The fundamental questions that relate to educators and learners in a world of MOOCs relate to the four fundamental properties of networks:

1. autonomy

2. diversity (of opinions in the networks)

3. openness

4. connectivity

Conversation on MOOCs

See this video on MOOCs

The conversation centered around some fundamental concepts about massive scale, and openness.  I think massive number of participants is just one part of the MOOC reflective of the demands for more “formal higher education courses with content and assessment” by many who might not have the opportunities to access them.

The affordance as mentioned by George relates to the affordance of technology (in this case MOOC) to people’s learning.

Openness in Learning

What may be unique with learning over the internet, with MOOCs in particular, relates to openness.

To what extent is openness important in online learning?  The openness seems to relate to one’s practice and habits, when engaging and interacting with artifacts, people, or networks.

How open is open in open education and learning?

What does it really mean to be an open learner, educator, scholar, or researcher?

Is openness at the heart of those learning in MOOCs?  Would people be more open when they are encouraged and supported in learning via open spaces?

Alec in this video interview elaborates on the importance of openness, connectivity and building cultures:

David Wiley shares in his post:

Openness and copyright

How about the copyright of artifacts and teaching and learning resources of xMOOCs?  Most MOOCs resources are only “open” to the registered participants, and they are copyrighted.   See this paper relating to copyright of MOOCs.

Openness and learning

I found that MOOCs open up the opportunities to raise more questions, and could help in gaining a better understanding about how and what we would learn through a complex and digital world of webs, networks and communities.

What you need to know about MOOCs?  The more I explore about why and how some people learn in a more “formal and xMOOCs” way, the more that I believe in the notion that transformation and revolution in Higher Education is still a long way ahead.  MOOCs are experiments that are yet to be proven as the FUTURE OF EDUCATION.

As George said, opening education to the world through MOOCs is wonderful.   I am full support of more open and free education, to anyone in the world. I have defined such open education though in a slightly different way, as it embraces not only formal education, but informal education and learning, including mentoring, coaching, social networking, and

The main concern is that I have with the existing MOOCs is: there is a HUGE PRICE to pay, when Higher Education is totally MOOCs, and people are thinking of the short term gain, like fame, revenues, profits, or business.

I don’t yet know the PRICE in exact term, as there is no way to measure how much MONEY we would have invested into MOOCs (in the hundreds of millions), and saved due to the MOOCs, only to find out that educators and learners are all expecting and looking for a CHEAPER AND MORE EFFECTIVE MODEL AND PLATFORM for their higher education and life long learning.

I have concluded here:

Finally, education and learning is not merely giving out the content, testing the students to see if they have got the right answers in assignments or examinations, though they may be important for course validation and institution accreditation.  It is about engaging people (both professors, educators, learners) to interact with each others, in the form of conversation, discourse, and to dialogue about the content, information, and learn about the implications and applications in study, at work, or in life.

Technology could be a powerful tool in the course of education and learning, in particular in MOOC, especially in the mediation of communication, or the facilitation of cooperation and collaboration, through wiki, Google Doc, or social media.

The current affordance of media and tools that are tailored to the learners need to be more effectively applied in the x MOOC, together with the “teaching, cognitive and social presence” for a transformation of education and learning.  Tools and media alone won’t change the world.  It’s the people, the leaders, the learners who work and learn, and converse together, that would change the world.

Those are the questions that I would like to ponder in my coming FINAL part of this series of MOOCs emerging as Landscape of Change.

I would like to end that with narratives of MOOCers – your stories in my final part.

Google image:


4 thoughts on “#CFHE12 #Oped12 MOOCs emerging as Landscape of Change – Part 5 Questions & Openness with MOOC

  1. Pingback: Jorge González Alonso (jgonzalonso) | Pearltrees

  2. Pingback: #CFHE12 #Oped12 MOOCs Emerging as Landscape of Change Part 7 Commodity, Business, Community, Community of Practice | Learner Weblog

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