Cognitive Strategies and Affective dimensions in MOOCs

When I refer to the cognitive strategies and affective dimensions in MOOCs, I would like to relate to the reasons versus emotions in the discourse.

How would reasoning and emotions play a role in MOOCs?

In this paper relating to MOOCs.

“The train has left the station.
We do not know how far and how long it will run and where it will go. We do not even know if it has brakes”.

Photo credit: from Tony Bates post.

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How to design and not to design a MOOC? hinted the issues, challenges arising out of the recent xMOOCs, leading to its suspension.  There seems to be a lot of love/hate relationships and struggles going on with the MOOC participants.  Do these stem from the design of MOOCs or the perceptions and expectations of participants of MOOCs – on their reasoning and emotions towards learning in MOOCs?

There are many assumptions we have made in the design and delivery of MOOCs, where I once posted here and here.

In formal educational institutions, there are regulations (on teaching, assessment & support) which must be complied with for accreditation and management controls purposes. This may not easily be exercised in open networks where people won’t necessarily comply with, despite consent to join and participate, or being assessed in the course.

The love/hate (individual versus groups versus networks), personal and group autonomy, power exertion and tensions (who make the decisions, who control the group, who lead and who follow etc) emerge in MOOCs. The conflicts arising from engagement with facilitators/agents/peers in groups or community are not easily resolved, especially if people disagree with goals and outcomes set forth by others.

There are also many communication problems, as people may not understand each others, via such online postings only (i.e. hard to know about others’ expressions, due to cultural differences in the tone of voice, lack of body language etc.) Besides, the instructors are accountable and responsible for the outcomes, which seem to be a huge challenge for them to “teach” when confronted with huge amount of feedback, with negative ones in particular.

It seems that the auto-grading and machine learning MOOCs have little or not much problems mainly because there are no ways for such feedback be processed or posted, as those would be easily “interpreted” as unkind, not courteous and trolling behavior, if there aren’t any constructive solutions suggested. How could xMOOCs thrive in public educational institutions? What approaches should be adopted? How to resolve those conflicts of power and disagreements?