Here is a provocative post on moocs and other ed tech bubbles. My first response below:
I would like to write a detailed response, but by now a few questions and comments first. 1. Would technology undermine formal education? 2. Could learner pick and choose their education? 3. When none of the peers is an expert, is there too much risk of misconceptions and bad habits becoming established within the cohort? 4. Who are the experts? How are these experts identified and recognised? Are we looking for experts as “teachers” or “facilitators”, or machine based AI generated experts? 5. Are experts available for “free” in mooc or would they only “teach” when paid? 6. Why would professors want to teach in MOOCs? What are their motivations? Are they assuming the role of a teacher, or a learner among the networks?
My comments: Sebastian Thrun has tried his experiment with the AI MOOC as he is a highly enthusiastic educator and is willing to devote time and efforts in doing the “extra” teaching. Could we presume and assume all the professors in MOOCs are having and sharing the same spirit of teaching, apart from their research loads?
One of the questions is: If the mooc is better than the existing teaching and learning in the elite or most universities, wouldn’t that be the greatest disruption to their own “mainstream” teaching and pedagogy? If the mooc is far less valuable, attractive and useful than their mainstream teaching and pedagogy, who would be losing? Would that be the professors teaching in the MOOCs? So, no matter whether MOOCs are providing a better or worse pedagogy to the mainstream teaching, either way would not be beneficial to the HE institutions and the professors. But without the MOOCs as the starting point, what would happen? No change, no innovation needed? Would that be totally different if the pedagogy is aligned with cMOOCs? I don’t know the answer.
To me, the xMOOCs are still organization driven and well developed online courses, which seem to be significantly different from the adhoc organization driven and adhoc (COP, mentoring) and the cMOOCs which are learner driven and adhoc (social networks, forums, wikis, blogs). The cMOOCs are leveraging the affordance of emerging technology and tools, together with the social networks to achieve learning (both formal and informal learning). This seems to be a race between technology affordance and professors and the associated pedagogy employed in the conversation and engagement of learners in the MOOCs.
Do you want learners to learn from the organizations or from the self-initiated networks (PLE/PLN)?
Would it be possible to sustain education with prescriptive knowledge and emergent knowledge?
What would be more valuable for learners – in terms of knowledge duplication or knowledge creation?
Which would be the model of education (push or pull in knowledge generation and creation) that would fit into the learners’ present and future needs?
Would that be a matter of sensemaking and wayfinding if the digital learning is employed?