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.