MOOC as disruptive technology

Is MOOC disruptive technology?

“Jonathan Schaeffer, the dean of Alberta’s Faculty of Science and a professor of computing science, “It’s easy to build courses that cost lots of money but at the end somehow you’re going to have to recoup those costs either in the short or the long term. It is a gamble, but to me, universities are all about change, and I see MOOCs as being a very important, disruptive technology.”

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

MOOCs is now conceived as opportunistic education:

(1) to shift the education and business model from the notion that a professor lectures students, to a more collaborative, interactive model where global network of practice and community of practice emerges.

(2) to shift the pedagogy from teacher-centric design in an online education, to a cooperative and collaborative teacher-learners centric design, with an ultimate pedagogy to support human beings and a transformative pedagogy.

(3) to innovate based on technology and media affordance – The use of different media also allows for more individualization and personalization of the learning, better suiting learners with different learning styles and needs.

(4) to re-bundle the value propositions from non-credit to credit bearing courses, with degree granting from institutions.  This would also challenge institutions to re-think about their roles in the Higher Education ecology

In this Who participate in MOOCs and who are the drop-outs? Ry Rivard says:

Phil Hill, an education technology consultant, has come up with four categories of MOOC users: lurkers, drop-ins, passive participants and active participants.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

The MOOC phenomena clearly illustrates a pattern of participation typical with the MOOCs with the 1-10% active, 10-20% passive and 70% lurking or inactive participants throughout the course.

What would MOOC organisers do about it, in boosting engagement and interactivity?  There is now a possibility of using MOOC as a way for credit transfer to a degree – on your first degree course is mooc.  Would such option help in attracting more participants to complete MOOCs?

There have been many guides to the design of MOOCs, some of them based on surveys, like here 40-tips-for-running-an-open-online-course-or-mooc-from-those-who-have-experienced-them, and the MOOC Design guide.

There are some general principles that we may come up with the following questions:

1. What sort of pedagogy should be used to guide and support the technology and tools used?  Should the MOOC be based on Instructivism – behaviorism/cognitivism, social constructivism or connectivism?  Which sort of pedagogy are meeting the students needs and expectations?

2. What sort of platforms – LMS, or Social media, or a combination of personal learning environment/networks are to be incorporated into the design and delivery of the courses?

3. What would be the principal vision and mission of Higher Education Institutions where x or c MOOCs could align with?

There are different views relating to the prior life experience and a degree-based education.

We devalue the formal, degree-based education we offer when we give credit for prior life experience, obscuring the difference between skills that are acquired through practice and education that requires reflective conversation, critical exploration of complex problems, and pursuit of sophisticated knowledge.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

There are MOOCs providers – especially the leaders who hail the peer-to-peer assessment and support that have occurred in the xMOOCs.

The real impact of MOOCs may be in pioneering new instructional techniques that will find their way back on campus, as well as expanding the limits of what’s possible with online education.

Is disruptive technologies the way to go for Higher Education?

What would be the impact of MOOCs on traditional universities (that fail to adapt quickly enough)? See this “wholesale bankruptcies” by Clayton Christensen.

Part of a conversation on MOOCs

Thanks to Fabian for his wonderful presentation:
celmooc – Google Drive

Here is the presentation by Fabian Banga:

Here is part of our conversation on FB after Fabian’s presentation.  I have only included my views here.  You could view the full conversation there on FB.

Coursera has been designed for a xMOOC and so are their platforms. If the pedagogy is based on instructivism and mastery learning, would that be achievable with a connectivist approach? I do see there could be lots of challenges, as the expectations of the different parties may be different. These have led to lots of tensions and misunderstanding between professors and students, relating to their roles and responsibilities.
As Fabian Banga said, when it comes to tests, assignments and examinations, these are mandatory for certification under an institution education system, and there is little leeway towards negotiation, as that is the policy. Though you could provide examination as an option in xMOOC, this could be an issue if there are huge number of participants taking the examinations, and that the professors have to make sure that they could cater for such arrangement. Also, what about the problem of identity, cheating and plagiarism? How would management be convinced that there are adequate assessment control and risk management in place to prevent or eliminate those cheating and copying of answers from others? This is not the case for participants of cMOOCs as it is offered as an option, and there is NO CREDIT available for cMOOC unless you set up a portfolio approach towards recognition. As Stephen Downes proposed here, there would not need to be test, examination or any other “formally” pre-set assignments for the participants, (though this is different, as George Siemens did use the standard assignments for CCK and LAK courses). The question lies with: what sort of assessment would be possible with x and c MOOCs? Given the massive number of participants, with divergent needs and expectations, and the numerous challenges yet to be tackled, and conflicts to be resolved, is it achievable using x or c MOOCs?
As our research on PLENK (cMOOCs) revealed, many participants of cMOOCs are putting assessment as (lowest) in priority. This is different from the xMOOCs where assessment is given a high priority by the instructors (professors), and may be some students, especially the undergraduate students who would like to use that to improve their performance with their own courses. Besides, there are lots of graduates and adult learners and educators in cMOOCs who are more interested in learning about the pedagogy, the different learning theories, and the emergent tools and technology. They may already have got their qualifications, or that they aren’t keen in being assessed, or being “instructed” under a “mastery learning approach”. There are also professors, experts, professionals who wish to know how MOOCs are designed and run, and how they might be used in their own fields. These all “contradict” to the initial design of xMOOCs, though could be easily accommodated in cMOOCs, as that is exactly what cMOOCs are designed for.
How about the pedagogy involved in MOOCs? In terms of interaction theory, there are three main types of interaction – student-content interaction, student-student interaction and student-instructor interaction. xMOOCs expect students to have high student-content interaction, some to little student-instructor interaction and certain “student-student” interaction in their forums (in order to study their behavior and improve the learning experience). cMOOCs expect students to have high student-student/networks/expert interaction (self-organising, emergent knowledge & learning via interaction and connectivity to students, artifacts, networks), up-to-date emergent student-content interaction (via the sharing of posts and or forum sharing for discourse), and some student-instructor interaction (synchronous and asynchronous) via blog postings, Google Hangouts, or Elluminate, Twitter or FB with distributed learning platforms. This is where the central tenets of both x and c MOOC differ.
c MOOCs would address life-long and wide learning, and could be highly sustainable if they are given the support from community (or networks), institutions and governments. There are certain constraints as to where they could develop, due to numerous “power” and authority challenges and issues they could impose. The mob and community could impose pressure for changes to the whole education and learning ecology, as the recent drama revealed those pressures and responses (i.e. xMOOCs responses to the requests from government and institution to innovate and improve teaching and learning). There are also private sectors and venture capitalists who would like to leverage the opportunities in taking part in this business of education, as commercialisation and privatization is high on their agenda. x MOOCs would however be able to use this as an opportunity to reduce the overall cost of education, and to serve those students who are in urgent need of HE, in content knowledge and the acquisition of a qualification, and perhaps some skills in their profession or study. It seems that there are lots of overlapping areas /domains and students of interests where c and x MOOC could serve.
As most institutions are really looking forward to use xMOOCs to attract more students to do their courses as tasters and continue paying for subsequent courses in their institutions, they may soon find out that this may be an issue. Most participants who have accustomed to doing the MOOCs for free would hesitate in paying for more advanced courses, unless they could see the benefits in doing so. Also, commercialisation, commoditization and monetization of MOOCs would possibly lead to severe competition, strong push for branding (via the news, and using the news reporters and bloggers) to advertise and promote the courses, which may have a great impact on the public HE system.
What would the future of HE look like? I think MOOCs would soon be audited by the government authorities, especially the education authority, in response to the society needs and expectations. There are already stringent legislation in place which would soon regulate the whole education “industry” and business. cMOOCs are still placed under an informal learning category, if that is the case, when they are not able to fully comply with the mastery learning and LEARNING OUTCOMES which are prescribed by the authority. My 10 cents contribution.
Here is our conclusion from the paper (see my blog publication on pedagogy to support human beings): A challenge associated with the educational use of the Web, social networking, and media, based on the MOOC distributed learning model, is that the open, emergent, chaotic nature of online interaction might conflict with the rigidly organized social structure of formal education, which involves prescriptive learning, standardized goals and curricula, fixed schedules, age-based grouping, classroom-based organization, and examinations. This formal view of education is problematic for professional learning and highlights a tension between learning in everyday life facilitated by emerging technologies and the philosophical stance and the pedagogies adopted by universities. A change in the thinking, philosophy, design, and pedagogies of institution-based online courses may be necessary if the affordances of emerging technologies are embraced and adopted within formal educational institutions. Considerable efforts will also be required to ensure an effective balance between openness and constraints when an online institutional course is fused with social networks. The adoption of MOOCs in formal education institutions is challenging, though it opens up new opportunities to experience the co-creation of networks within communities and new and participatory forms of communication and collaboration for both learners and educators.
I understand that this could be way too challenging for most institutions, and of course the xMOOC providers and elite institutions, as professors and branding are the last call cards that could change and transform HE, in accordance to the views of institutions. We all realize that there are huge demands for systemic review from grassroots levels, and that there are huge implications if these demand are not met and realized. The recent quests from government authorities to review the policies – social media policy and the raising of education and teachers’ standards all indicate that the current education system needs to put more emphasis on technology innovation and pedagogy in order to compete internationally.
I think there is still a role for professors and instructors, especially in the more traditional settings of face-to-face teaching, in the adoption of instructivist approach, and mastery learning. We all have done that and surely it could be highly effective, if the conditions of learning – assumptions about adult learning, motivation are all based on a teaching centred approach – back to the industrialised mass production education model. What could be challenging is that our coming generations are way too smart in the adoption of new and emergent technology, especially with the mobile devices. They would soon be turned off, due to the short attention span, and the heavy theorised knowledge and information that they have to learn and remember, in order to regurgitate in the examinations or tests. Besides, lots of talented students are “promoted” by the institutions as the “best of the breeds” leading to a great divide between those haves and haves not. This form of elitism based on individual academic merits may be an excellent promotion strategy. If you check on those who are successful in xMOOC, many couldn’t afford to attend the formal HE, though they are passing with great honors and high distinctions. There are also other participants of xMOOCs who greatly adored the professors (and that could be very good), and so would try every efforts to excel in the course, in order to get a place in focus. These all relate to both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, as the xMOOC providers and professors would do: “You have done well, and so keep up with the great work” sort of message sending to the participants.
Have you seen much from cMOOCs, or those from the instructors of cMOOCs? I don’t know, but I am not interested in self-promotion, and don’t even know what it means in a cMOOCs. What I am interested are not being the “focus” of the course, but the learning that emerged.
What I mean is cMOOCs are based on a different philosophy, the technology as the platform and PLE as part of the pedagogy. Intrinsic motivation is assumed and so there is less emphasis on the praises or positive reinforcement from instructors or peers (as in common in most formal courses – face-to-face or online, or xMOOCs at least on those who successfully secured a job as a result of xMOOCs or having testimonials of successes). I am not trying to stress that this is important or even needed in cMOOCs, but just thinking that xMOOCs are using those marketing and behavioral tactics in a more strategic way, thus showcasing the benefits of taking xMOOCs.
This is where I think positive reinforcement – like those Cloud-Grandma and Khan Academy is now adopting, by providing support and feedback using the technology- despite that they are just messages of encouraging words sent by the computer. Besides, the monitoring of learning in xMOOCs is based on the concept of Learning Analytics, which to some extent would provide the guidance to the participants as to what they are good or weak at, in terms of their level of competence, as revealed in the quizzes, tests, attendances, participation and engagement with the artifacts etc. This doesn’t appear in cMOOCs as they won’t appeal much to adult learners or participants who don’t need or want to be “assessed” under a behavioral – stimulus- response or mastery learning approach. How does it sound?

You are right in that xMOOCs (with university courses like Coursera) must address – in particular the accreditation. Formal courses are based on standardized curriculum and certification, and those who are formally enrolled (and paid) are entitled to assessment and this must be done based on institution policy and procedures. This is not the case for non-paid or enrolled participants of cMOOCs or in some xMOOCs, though soon this form of MOOCs is not perceived as a traditional formal course. Is our conversation and interaction here a MOOC or part of a cMOOC? Why/Why not?

Have you considered the possibility of a semi to fully automated assessment response system that could be robust in accreditation? There are systems using a eportfolio approach, like the Mahara, or Skills Book. Once the students have learnt enough through the x or cMOOCs, they could be asked to post their artifacts or portfolios onto those system, and the assessment could be based on the evidence provided. This may mean that teaching could be separated from the assessment, though learning could be incorporated in the assessment process. The problem and project based learning could all be used for such accreditation and assessment purposes. The professor would become a principal assessor working in partnership with student, student’s mentor (or workplace supervisor), or any other professors who could provide reference to the students. This sort of education is based more on the recognition and PLE model, and could be more student-centered in learning.
Postscript: See this post on your first degree course is mooc.

Why would you teach social media in school?

In this post how-should-social-media-be-taught-schools by Matt Renwick:

The instructional framework my school subscribes to is the Optimal Learning Model, sometimes referred to as the gradual release of responsibility.

In this framework, the teacher first models the concept or skill to be learned. Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli value this framework within the context of social media, stating in their book Personal Learning Networks that “the ability to model your own learning networks in front of your students might be your most important pedagogy of all.”

Optimal Learning Model
I have shared my views on using social media as platforms for MOOCs.
For autonomous educators and learners who are learning via the broader networks, with webs and internet, it seems that blogging would likely serve their needs better in “broadcasting” and reflection of their learning or teaching.

Forum and network platforms such as Moodle, FB, wiki would then be “gateways” for open sharing and discussion of ideas.

Twitter would be ideal of information links and dissemination of news and sharing of links to blog posts or event updates, and real time postings of presentation or conference.

How far would institutions be ready for the decentralized approach (i.e. Connectivist learning) be adopted in online education and MOOC?

I think it is too early to come up with an unique solution based on such decentralized, personalized learning that is feasible for the institutions to adopt as yet, due to the many factors such as economics (as the current MOOCs are free), accreditation, management and control of course and teaching, and most importantly, how these approaches would impact on the mainstream courses and the students involved, with a centralized learning approach.

There are however, signs that an aggregated learning approach with a LMS (Moodle), interaction tools (Twitters) and personal blogs in the MOOC would be adopted in the OERu.

“The adoption of MOOCs in formal education institutions is challenging, though it opens up new opportunities to experience the co-creation of networks within communities and new and participatory forms of communication and collaboration for both learners and educators.”

I see the use of social media as a strategic model of learning augmenting the formal learning in a face-to-face classroom environment.

The learners must feel comfortable in their learning before they would fully immerse in the community of social media.

There are risk control measures under social media policy used to safeguard any students and employees from being exploited, manipulated, abused or bullied when learning or networking over social networks and public open space.  This is important as the open space could still be risky for teenage students and young people, and even adults especially when it comes to privacy and personal security.

Why would learners like to explore the social media?

May be learners would like to explore the world, the internet and the webs in ways that our previous generations had never got a chance before.

Try asking learners this basic question: What would you like to do in the future?

Isn’t it a powerful question? Does social media provide such opportunities of learning?

What questions of life do you think you would like to ask when immersed in social media and social networking?

Is that the education that would change your life?