#CFHE12 #Oped 12 How a theory and technology will change the world? Part 1

Scientific approach to teaching I have been wondering what theories would change the world.   Social Constructivism, Cognitivism, and Behaviorism have both shaped and changed the world to a certain extent.  Connectivism, a new and emergent learning theory has come along the centre stage and significantly influenced the way we educate and learn, using networks and tools.

How about Assumptions Theory that I have postulated?

In this Theory, we are making assumptions about learning from different perspectives.  From an educator’s perspective, we have made assumptions about the needs and readiness of learners, and assumed that there are best teaching and learning strategies for particular learners under particular learning context.  Experiments and research have been conducted to validate the findings.  From a learner’s perspective, the learners have assumed that they would be able to achieve the learning goals based on certain learning strategies, that suit their particular learning styles, and under certain learning context or ecology.

Here there are 7 assumptions about the future of HE and University in Education Stormfront:

“7 assumptions I think have to remain true for the university model to continue as it currently is.

  1. The perception of most people will still be that it is worth it to get into huge debt in order to get a university degree.
  2. The perception of most people will still be that the best way to get a university degree is by physically attending a college.
  3. The perception of most people will still be that if you want to learn something, you must go to a school.
  4. The students raised in the Internet age will still accept that the best way to learn is still mass lecturing.
  5. Businesses will continue to rely on a university degree as a signaling mechanism for employment.
  6. Despite many people’s effort and millions of dollars of investment, not a single person or organization will come up with an online system of learning that is a) as effective or more so than traditional college and b) cheap
  7. Opportunities for learning will remain scarce and expensive.”

Assumptions and challenges of Open Scholarship (George Veletsianos and Royce Kimmons, 2012), where they highlight:

The intention of this paper is (a) to identify the assumptions of the open scholarship movement and (b) to highlight challenges associated with the movement’s aspirations of broadening access to education and knowledge. The goal of this paper is not to frame open scholarship as a problematic alternative to the status quo. Instead, as we see individuals, institutions, and organizations embrace openness, we have observed a parallel lack of critique of open educational practices. We find that such critiques are largely absent from the educational technology field, as members of the field tend to focus on the promises of educational technologies, rarely pausing to critique its assumptions.

To me, the assumptions behind open scholarship movement have hinted the move made by professors, scholars and researchers, institutions and organizations in charting out their own directions of developing and practising open scholarship.  These open educational practice is now manifested either under an institutional framework, or merely on individual created framework.  This set the precedence of exploring with experimentation and entrepreneurship at the extraordinary scale with technology affordance –  MOOCs and/or social network platforms and tools.  Though no one has rightly predicted the outcome of such movement, it seems these complex and evolving “strange attractors” would always interact and generate another set of disruptions that cause the education to change its direction.

Will technology change the world? Definitely, as we have seen how computers, internet and world wide webs have actually transformed the world.

How about MOOCs?

There are lots of metaphors on MOOCs – the MOOC R Us

For in under a year, the rise of the MOOCs (massively open online courses) has fundamentally reshaped how we think and talk about teaching and learning in higher education. MOOCs have become the darlings of the educational policy world: they have been cited as the solution to the college debt crisis, as the future of higher education, as the best way to make higher education more productive, and at the center of the recent intrigues at the University of Virginia that almost toppled its president.

What have we assumed here? MOOC could revolutionise conventional higher education (by the universities and tertiary institutions), through the introduction of massive education, as these courses are open, free for all to join and participate, and most importantly more cost effective in providing high quality higher education.

Another set of assumptions relate to their extensive use of professors and technology to build up the “just in case education scenarios” as there are more demands than the supply currently available for higher education – degrees and diplomas offered by the universities.

Other assumptions are based on the premises that mass lecturing is no longer that effective.  Lecturing (mass lecturing in particular) has been hailed as the effective way to transmit information, based on the assumption of scarcity of information and professors and educators.

Half of all faculty do nothing but lecture in all or most of their classes; and what they lecture about is usually at the very bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy, focusing on factual recall rather than critical analysis, synthesis or application; and that knowledge is itself barely absorbed by students for more than a semester. Sometimes I half-wonder, in those long moments of the night, whether it might be better if we were indeed replaced.

What about the reality?  Most, if not all of the educators and professors that I have once met or learnt with like lecturing.  In my previous post on lecturing – Is lecturing, the cream of teaching, at the mercy of learning, I reflected that:

Relating to the use of videos in higher education, certain trends are clear, where video production and consumption rate are exploding.  Every minute, approximately 13 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube.  University lectures on Youtube are exploding at an exponential rate too, though it is still not yet fully known on their use as an OER among students, except  by checking on the number of hits on those lecture videos.

Besides, there are education videos on TED.COM that is competing for the attention of general public, educators and learners.

Mass lecturing or classroom based lecturing is still the holy grail that would last for another decade.

What are the views of educators and learners in lecturing as a means to achieve the educational learning goals?  Here in a post:

Easy! Easy! Easy!

Is it any wonder students want Powerpoint slides of their lectures? They know that there is a world of knowledge available to them on any given subject. They also know that they will be tested on some of this information. Why not demand that the lecturer condense, organise, and present the information that is considered most important – saves the student from having to do it themselves.

Not a surprise, aha! Lecturers teaching in accordance to what is required in the course curriculum, and ensure the learning outcomes are met, through exposition of the deep-down-to earth content, case-by-case, point-by-point, and checking whether the students comprehend what has been taught through quizzes, tests, and examinations.  Isn’t it what the administrators want to achieve, in terms of making sure the lecturers are satisfying the students’ needs and expectations, in providing a summary of learning, the cream of knowledge and wisdom.  This would make sure that the students would conform with the requirements set by the potential employers in future work, as these students are accredited with a degree of excellence in achievement and are ready for employment.

What about the lecturers?

 Lecturing is easy to do. In one hour (or 90 minutes or whatever) you can deal with 40, 50 100, 200 or 1000 students. In and out with minimal effort (plus the accompanying buzz). In addition, lectures are sustainable – easily recycled and reused. They are an easy way to teach.

In MOOCs, there are now so many professors coming forth to the centre stage that it seems to become the next grand “show business” where educators and professors are all “educating” the tens of thousands of MOOCs participants through their video performance.  Every single MOOC professor has to present herself or himself in front of the “camera”, or the web cams, in order to get the attention from their potential “students”.   TED talks have become the test beds for more and more speakers (educators, entertainers, designers, professors etc.) to both practise and showcase their expertise to the world.

This is again unprecedented as the presenters, professors, educators and even students are competing against both time and space in order to “teach” the world.  Youtube, Blip.tv, provide ample spaces for such creators to post their videos.

Our assumption here is: videos are ubiquitous, and there are abundant videos for use in open education.  The reality is: The quality and value of those “education videos” are yet to be evaluated, as many videos might just be memes, or entertainment videos.

Is Gangnam style one of that type of entertainment video/meme?  It may be just a fad, though an important one in 2012 that has broken all records in Youtube, in terms of number of hits.  Massive number of hits is what advertisement counts, and what education with the media wants.

If one could achieve fame and get all the attention from the media, could education based on a remix, repurpose, and recreate also achieve that same purpose – of educating the mass population through such a means?  Or may be the current xMOOCs are doing exactly what it is trying to achieve.

What theory would likely be able to describe the current MOOCs movement?  How about the Just in case versus Just in time learning scenario?

To me, xMOOCs relate more to just in case education and learning, whilst cMOOCs relate more to just in time education and learning scenarios, though there could also be a hybrid of the just in case & just in time all blended in x or c MOOCs.

If you want to unpack more myths about lecturing (in MOOCs, or physical face-to-face) see this:

Scientific approach to teaching

What are the assumptions behind teaching based on a scientific approach?

Are we racing with time and space and competing with the education and learning chains in this education mania?  MOOC mania in particular!

I will continue to reflect in the Part 2 of this series.  We have more assumptions to make, to chart out the future of higher education.

bubbles 178194372_bd1d9414cf_m

Photo credit: Google Image

#CFHE12 #Oped12 A reflection on the cMOOCs and xMOOCs and their future

When I reflect upon the two MOOCs – xMOOCs and cMOOCs in terms of how the courses are structured, I come to a conclusion that:

In xMOOCs, the professors plan out everything for the participants, the video lectures, the artifacts & resources, the forum and discussion boards, the assignments, the quizzes, the examination, the assessment rubrics, and even the “recommendations and referencing link” to potential employer.  Every learning is under a prescriptive regime, that if the participants follow the instruction, study the learning materials, watch the video lectures, then they could be able to master the content, and thus get a certificate if they satisfy the minimum requirements for the course. Here Keith Devlin explains how it works, with his MOOC. Sounds too good to say YES, right?

In cMOOCs, the professors and instructors provide a structure of the MOOCs, with artifacts & resources, coupled with certain online synchronous Blackboard or Elluminate sessions for the discussion, with certain aggregation platform (like MOODLE in CCK08, CCK09) and gRSShopper and OLDaily for the feeding and distribution of the blog and twitter posts etc.  For some courses like DS106, and MobiMOOCs there are assignments and projects for participants to work on.  Learning with cMOOCs is under an emergent regime, that if the participants could “follow” the idea of learning through dialogue, networking, cooperation and collaboration, and most important of all sharing, critiquing and reflecting on information and ideas that would lead to emergent learning.

Dave Cormier explains how a MOOC works here:

There are more than two millions Courserians in Coursera, there would be another few millions joining these MOOCs soon, as the competitions go on. It seems that we are now having Universities Chains competing against Universities Chains, as we see both UK universities are now joining in the competitions with the MOOCs chain.

George remarks here:

Universities simply don’t have time to respond to changes with multi-year consultations. Vision and action are required to stay relevant. I’m encouraged that UK has seen the need to move forward with an initiative that provides a UK spin on open courses.

I’m more dismayed now, however, than I was in July and the anemic vision and response by Canadian universities. Higher education is facing a changed landscape. Even if MOOCs disappear from the landscape in the next few years, the change drivers that gave birth to them will continue to exert pressure and render slow plodding systems obsolete (or, perhaps more accurately, less relevant).

As I have shared here about freebies stories, many more institutions would join in the Bandwagon, and would do more and more experiments in order to chart out their paths.  What about the sustainability of such MOOCs?  That is the biggest challenge.  Never in history have we experienced such “disruption” to education, and so I don’t think it would be easy to sustain MOOCs for long, unfortunately.  I hope I am wrong, but MONEY AND BUSINESS comes first under economic rationalism.

Based on the hundreds of initiatives (big innovative projects) that I have witnessed, only a few survived and succeeded.  Would this be the same for MOOCs?

Would MOOCs become a fad?

I don’t see why MOOCs wouldn’t fall into similar fates as the previous education propaganda of the month – be it “Progressive Education”, or “TQM”, or “Revolutionary education”, especially if these MOOCs are still having the same wine pouring into the old bottles.

I am for the MOOCs, especially when such MOOCs democratise education and benefit mankind with free open education.  However, in the long run, education can only be “free” if it is fully and continuously funded properly, likely by government or “joint governments” etc.  That is again a reality.

If MOOCs continue with the present trend of making more and more videos, with a principal approach of “mastery teaching” this would soon lead to a revert back to Web 1.0, where more and more fantastic video recorded lectures would be recorded, broad-casted, and then stay waiting to be watched by tens of millions of people who might be interested in joining in.  May be most people still prefer to be the consumers rather than prosumers of education products.

Am I optimistic about MOOCs?  May be!

Postscript: In this post:

The rise of Moocs on providers such as edX had created a “Napster moment for higher education”, he said, referring to the growth in free music file-sharing, pioneered by the original incarnation of the Napster website, that has upended the music industry’s business model.

He cited major businesses such as the Blockbuster video rental chain that had been driven to bankruptcy after being undercut and circumvented by internet offerings.

Another post relating to Futurelearn on free open online education by OU.