In this post moocs-are-a-fundamental-misperception-of-how-learning-works, Mark Guzdial comments:
I’m arguing about the Second Story, MOOCs as replacements for courses. I don’t think you’d disagree that a textbook plus a good teacher is better than a textbook alone or better than a MOOC.
A well-written textbook can provide alternative points of view (though probably doesn’t present well views that the author disagrees with), and is based on pedagogical content knowledge — agreed. A teacher can provide more perspectives, and can use PCK in dynamic ways that can’t be built into a static textbook or MOOC. There absolutely is a long-term hope for MOOCs to be better than textbooks, and I’m eager to see that happen. But UNTILthat happens, MOOCs should not replace existing classes with good teachers. You have to see Beth Simon live lecture to 900 to see how that can be much better than a MOOC.
That’s an interesting discourse. What I think is critical here relate to the following:
1. Are MOOCs replacement for courses (mainstream courses)? Or are they augmentation to the mainstream courses?
2. Which is better? A textbook plus a good teacher or a textbook alone, or a MOOC?
3. What sort of pedagogy is employed in these xMOOCs? Are they more effective than the classroom delivery? Or would a blended learning approach be a better learning approach for the learners?
The argument lies with: A teacher can provide more perspectives in a typical classroom teaching/learning environment. However, in the case of xMOOCs where there aren’t much interaction between professor and participants (here participants could be existing students of mainstream courses, other professors interested in knowing how MOOCs work, graduate students who have taken the course, or any one interested in the course), how would we be able to say that it is better than the typical classroom teaching/learning environment? On what basis would we come up with a conclusion that xMOOCs are not as good as the mainstream courses, if the course content are EXACTLY THE SAME?
As I have raised in my previous post, no matter how great or how poor the MOOCs are, what might be significant is not just the pedagogy, but the business model evolved and the sustainability of such MOOCs in the near future. With the support from the stakeholders, MOOCs would flourish and continue to deliver “its promise” – to educate the world, though there may be sacrifice, and compromise in terms of teaching and learning quality. Otherwise, it would become the next Napster.
As Bonnie points out here:
Traditional models don’t suffice. Good research tends to try to be clear about which shoulders of giants it stands upon, and which gap in knowledge it aims to address. MOOCs are still such a moving target that the gaps in knowledge and direction aren’t really yet clear. And news reporting thrives on a heady mix of sensationalism and actual change, both of which are beginning to wear thin.
Because the biggest obstacle to effective conversation about MOOCs is that none of us IN the conversation – even the biggest names – appear to be clear yet on what MOOCs are or can be, or on where they begin and end.
Do we really know enough about the MOOCs? We have now got so many xMOOCs that we don’t even know what they are all based upon, in terms of technology innovation, and emergence of learning.
Tony comments in his post:
Silver makes the distinction between hedgehogs – pundits who have a strong view on everything, a ‘biased’ or strong ideological position, and who tend to make statements with a high degree of certainty, but who are frequently and routinely completely wrong- and foxes, who tend to be more cautious in their statements, are more equivocal in their predictions, but in the long haul have a better track record of accurate predictions. Foxes take a more probabilistic approach, recognizing degrees of uncertainty in their predictions (not necessarily in mathematical terms).
To me, the more we think we are certain about HEs, the more we are uncertain about MOOCs, simply because we are now moving towards the third generation of MOOC, with the first generation of cMOOCs “superceded” by xMOOCs, and then the second generation likely be “replaced” by an unknown future of MOOCs.
Are we learning in times of uncertainty in this digital era of emergence? What could we learn from MOOCs? Have we really learnt much from MOOCs? May be we know the difference between c and x MOOCs, but not enough beyond that. Are we emotionally attached to one of the x or c MOOCs?
What do you think?