Here is my response to an interesting post how-moocs-change-the-world-do-they-starting-a-list-of-myths-about-mooc referred by Grainne Conole on FB:
I have been preparing a post that relates to what is really revolutionizing with MOOCs.
First, there are few points mentioned, like the issues with an old pedagogy of video lectures – which was no different to the traditional lectures of one way transmission of information (factual knowledge, which would never to be challenged as the learners are not able to ask any questions), and that quizzes are used to test students’ knowledge (again that is based on trial and error or sometimes whether the learner could remember the right concept or fact mentioned in the video).
Second, there aren’t much feedback from the professors and the only feedback may be from the peers, in the forum or the peer assessment, where the chosen peers would provide certain forms of feedback based on the “prescribed criteria” of the rubrics designed. This is an useful and practical way of peer assessment though there is no way of evaluating the outcomes objectively, due to the varying interpretation of the learners as assessors. Unless the learners are also “trained” to become moderators and assessors based on a formal model of education, it would be difficult to ensure a valid, reliable and consistent way of assessing students in a “formal” MOOC – in particular xMOOCs. Researches on this is urgently needed to test the validity and reliability of claims in using peer assessment in a xMOOC ecology.
Third, it is difficult to compare the learning of MOOC with the online education course with small number of students, mainly because such learning is based on a prescribed learning curriculum, and the assumption that both cohort of students are having certain similar characteristics, in terms of their learning background, or capabilities. This is surely not the case, as revealed in previous cMOOCs (like CCK08) where the expectations of the registered and paid students (25) were totally different from those of the 2200 participants.
Fourth, MOOCs have been grounded on an experimental basis, and if this basis is reflective of the intention of the MOOC providers, then, this must be explained to the public clearly. This would ensure all participants understand that they are being observed and analysed, and that any learning could be evaluated using Learning Analytics, and that they must abide to the codes, ethics and honors in the forum discussions, quizzes, sharing in open spaces, and refrain from any dishonest cheating, identity fraud, or trolling. Again, there had been numerous blog posts highlighting that a significant number of participants of the MOOCs had gone too far in their trolling or flaming in the forum, and or cheating in the assignments.
Would these also happen in closed online courses? May be. But there would surely be intervention which could mitigate the risks and reduce the possible negative consequences to the course delivery, and learning experiences of other learners.