The iMOOCs movement – Part 2
The current xMOOCs have swung the pendulum to teaching, not research. This has its merits and demerits. The current suspension of an xMOOC has led to some debates as shared by George here:
The message that closing forums or shutting courses when they’ve already started is that it negates the value and role of the learner. MOOCs need learners. Even if the decision to close the forum was the instructors in the incident above, it is still a reputation concern for Coursera. Learners aren’t saying “instructor X killed the course”. They are saying “wow, this Coursera course was killed”. I’d like to know more about how course closing decisions are made and how quality is vetted early in course planning.
In this post relating to a forum on MOOCs
On what an online education world means for hiring and talent for educators:
[On the question of how to hire professors in the MOOC era] “Can you hire MIT professors who know that they need to teach 150,000 people and not 150? We have spectacular researchers who are lousy teachers. That’s sad. A teacher in the future will become more like a mentor. The model of on campus education will be more about mentorship and guidance with research as an important factor.”
To what extent is it true that there are spectacular researchers, but lousy teachers hired in institutions? Issac Newton was the greatest scholar, but really not a great teacher (at least in his classes), as no one attended his class, as we were told. Time has changed, and we seem to need teachers who could teach, be a mentor, and not only that, but those who would be like Steve Jobs, who could market, sell and promote their products and services to the world. And they would be a world changer!
Are most PhDs or Doctor of education trained in research, rather than mere teaching? If research PhDs are majoring their specialization in research, rather than teaching, would it be a challenge for them to teach 150,000 people? I reckon many research professors would prefer research, not teaching, but this time, they either have to adapt and change, or else they have to work as consultants, or join industry.
Is that a concern for those research professors? There are also concerns about the “oversupply of PhDs and researchers/academics”, leading to disposable academics.
Besides, I think an emphasis of teaching over research could undermine the importance of research, where research could inform teaching practice and vice versa. I don’t see much discourse on this important area, though open and digital scholarship is still focusing on research, as that is where researchers would thrive at this tough time.
The current trend of pushing those professors to be on the front line – posting short videos, selling themselves also may lead to a total misunderstanding of what great education is all about.
The emphasis of great education (and future education) to me is about personalised learning, cooperation and collaboration where one is called into, in contributing to the networks and community, and in connecting with the networks and agents (experts, business partners, customers, students etc.) so as to be well-informed and updated in information and the use and application of technology – as an affordance.
May be we are still at a transitional period in finding out what works, and what doesn’t in the midst of MOOCs, and this huge wave of technology disruption, not only due to MOOCs, but the technology, mobile and internet based learning movement – which is bigger than any of its parts.
What do you see will be the impact of MOOCs on the education business?