Thanks Stephen for his precious sharing. He concludes:
This may not reflect what institutional funders want to hear. But my thinking and hope is that over th long term MOOCs will be self-sustaining, able to draw participants who can see the value of a MOOC for what it is, without needing to support narrow and specific commercial or personal learning objectives.
Should MOOC be designed to support specific personal learning objectives, whilst not compromising the specific course (or commercial) objectives?
I am wondering why some people are motivated to stay with a MOOC (x or c MOOC) whilst others just lurk, or leave in the course. My assumptions are that people participated in MOOCs (xMOOCs) with a view to see if they suit their needs, or just to have an appreciation of the topics of interests, especially for those learners who are not looking merely for a qualification. Designing such a MOOC would surely be different from those online courses which are designed specifically for those who would like to acquire a qualification as an ultimate goal. Would it help if the designer of x or c MOOC consider this important concept in mind? In this way, we could have a MOOC where the participants could select a choice throughout the course from start to finish – to complete it for a qualification, or to participate in the activities, or to “lurk” if they want to. Such a choice could be changed as the participant progresses in the MOOC. This would allow the MOOC provider in understanding how they could cater for the needs of the participants as the course is delivered.
As Stephen mentioned, the 4 semantic conditions are important for the network to be sustainable and grow. The challenge is that a cMOOC is not easily adapted in an institutional environment, mainly because of the structured and linear learning that is assumed in the institution based online course, with a time based prescriptive course structure that every student must complete within the time-frame.
Can a MOOCs be blended with both c and x features and characteristics that would accommodate the learning outcomes of the course, whilst at the same time satisfy all the four semantic conditions of networks (based on networked learning), with a PLE basis?
Here is comment on my previous post. “One method that hasn’t been much used in the xMOOC is the Learning Contract or Agreement. This is based on the definition of the purpose of the project, with scope, learning and assessment strategies proposed and action plans developed. This could then be negotiated, agreed and acted upon by the participants, followed by monitoring and review of the learning in action. In principle, this is based on a mentoring approach, where the mentee works with the mentor (professor, or a knowledgeable other) to work out learning projects or problems, in order to achieve the set goals by the learner. The learner could then define success based on his/her own learning goals and plans. This is a common practice in a contemporary mentoring program. I have used it for the last decade, and it seems to work pretty well. In the case of digital networks, and the x or c MOOCs, such model of mentoring could work if there are policy, procedures well established for the course and training provided to participants so they feel comfortable in choosing their mentors, or co-mentors, mentees. This might also rely more on a behavioral/cognitivist/constructivist approach at the start, though I suppose a connectivist approach could be adopted if both the mentor and mentees appreciate the importance of adopting networked learning with distributed learning platforms in the development of capabilities and skills of digital literacies.
I wonder if xMOOC providers would find this approach useful, as this is very much similar to the face-to-face model of apprenticeship in the case of PhD program, which might be so high value added that professors wouldn’t have time for each of the participants of MOOCs. Besides, this is not a few weeks’ program, but a program which may last for a few months – in a typical mentoring program. This also depends on the needs and expectations of the participants (as mentees or mentors). Some people don’t feel comfortable to be the mentees (especially if they are advanced learners, graduates (with Masters or PhDs), or Professors), and many would prefer to be the mentors. Would this also change the role of the professor from content transmitter to mentor coordinator or facilitator?
If the MOOC is content oriented, as in the case of most xMOOCs, then this approach might have limited success. In the case of cMOOCs where content might be negotiated, or even be decided by the participants, then this approach could yield wonderful results, provided that both the professor and participant understand and apply an adaptive learning methodology in the MOOCs.” This approach might be more inclined to adopt a community approach towards nurturing individuals, though one could incorporate it into a “framework under an institution education model”.
There are implications, where the MOOC (as a network) is there to support a cluster of participants who need to be aware of their capability within the network, and may swiftly be considering the adoption of different paradigms based on behavioral/cognitivist or constructivist/connectivist approaches without losing sight of the goals and objectives in their personal learning, whilst still contributing to the learning in x or c MOOC in an institutional setting.