What does it mean to have more MOOCs?

I have been thinking about when MOOC would come to a saturation point.

Here in this post:

More participants can mean more problems, however. Some academics emphasize that cheating is virtually impossible to measure—posing issues for the courses that are given for-credit. Additionally, though thousands of students often sign up for popular courses, only a select few will go on to complete all tasks necessary for credit. In Noor’s first Coursera course, taught this past Fall, he said that only about 2,000 participants completed the requirements of the course, which initially had about 33,000 enrollees.

In the case of formal online courses, would a low graduation rate of 10% be allowed to run?  I think the professors would be first to explain why there is such a low pass rate.  In a MOOC, that is however, acceptable, and to be congratulated instead.  That sounds interesting, not only that MOOCs are unique, but are un-questionable, indestructible.  It is a grand experiment after all, always in Beta phase.

Justin sees MOOCs in an unique way in this post on Why do professors hate MOOCs let me count whys.  “Faculty members must feel this, & thus supporting MOOCs like digging their own graves.

More MOOCs would lead to more cost-effectiveness in the delivering of courses for elite institutions, though this could also lead to a decrease in the demand of courses offered by “traditional Higher Education Institutions” as the students flocked to the MOOCs.  Would this lead to decrease in the demand of faculty professors?  Would this explain why MOOCs are welcome by some (super professors), but not all other professors, especially if their jobs are at risk as a consequence? “Why educators should hate MOOC” as concluded by Justin.

Though I could see the disruptive power of this MOOC innovation on Higher Education, I do think there are many opportunities for educators to re-build Higher Education in a constructive and contributing way.  Indeed, there are many alternative pathways that would “save” the crisis of Higher Education, which included the shifting of paradigm towards a Constructivist and Connectivist approach in the learning and teaching practices, with the adoption of Creative Classroom and Community and Networks of Practice as Learning Platforms.

As I have shared in my past post, MOOC has its own life cycle, and what we need to understand is where it is now and when it would start to change, given that it is hard to sustain just as Freebies.  Soon, there would be a business model of MOOCs, and we would be able to see how they could “replace” part of the mainstream online or face-to-face courses.

So, the reality is, MOOCs are here to stay, and there would be a significant impact on some of the traditional institutions, and the faculty professors.  What would happen next?  Just check on the MOOC growth, and pedagogy employed, and you could likely predict its future.

Postscript: In response to Steve’s question on whether MOOC is a subset of Creative Classroom (my previous post), here is my response:

I reckon MOOCs would behave similar to the COPs in some ways, though once the novelty is gone, creative learning environment (Creative Classroom – which is coined in the paper) would take its place. History will tell if this happens. There is always a life cycle – and MOOCs have no exception, especially if it is based on a Venture Capitalist model of quick launch, and “fast education” sort of entrepreneurship model of education. It is difficult to predict when this “bubble” would continue to grow, or would join another few bubbles for growth, especially when the government/education authority is going to support or regulate (and in fact this is happening in the USA). This would likely turn education into an arena where the “fittest” survive and thrive. Monetization and privatization of MOOCs must happen before another model could come in.

Product Life Cycle R0505E_A

Photo source: Tony Bates’ post.

MOOC 8028605773_857fcd5548


16 thoughts on “What does it mean to have more MOOCs?

  1. Your mention of outcomes is a bit overdone:
    ” In Noor’s first Coursera course, taught this past Fall, he said that only about 2,000 participants completed the requirements of the course, which initially had about 33,000 enrollees. In the case of formal online courses, would a low graduation rate of 10% be allowed to run? “”
    In a normal course an outcome of 2.000 students would be a very good result. (percentages are sometimes a bit confusing)
    In the old days I did a course that started with 200 students and 10 graduated after four years. That was regarded as a great result, the course being a correspondence course with colleges only on saturdays.

  2. Pingback: What does it mean to have more MOOCs? | Educación a Distancia (EaD) | Scoop.it

  3. Pingback: What does it mean to have more MOOCs? | CUED | Scoop.it

  4. Pingback: What does it mean to have more MOOCs? | E-Learning-Inclusivo (Mashup) | Scoop.it

  5. I suppose if institutions are willing to accept 10% pass rate (as in MOOCs), and no questions asked from professors, then that would be wonderful. I am wondering how one would evaluate online course in the case of formal institutions, as a professor could be held responsible for the outcomes. Having spent tens of thousands of dollars investing in the Massive Open Online Course design means that one must have a return on investment, from institution’s point of view. So, would the few thousand graduates be able to “pay back” all the course development fees? I am raising these questions, as these are important questions to think about if an institution is to adopt MOOCs in its formal program. One could argue that this is just an experiment to see how one could improve their teaching and learning practice. However, there are long term implications if there is no substantial benefits or value derived from the delivery of MOOCs. Having 10% pass rate, even with 2,000 graduates may be rated as excellent in performance. Now there are a few questions yet to be asked. Would those MOOC graduates be interested in getting more studies with the institutions? Would they be willing to pay the fees and continue studying with the institutions? If no, what would happen if you were the institutions running the course?

  6. May I share my own experience in studying with distance education. I studied for a distance BSc (Maths) in the 70s. What I needed was to register with the BSc, pay the examination fee before the examination. There was only a text book list provided by the university, and there weren’t any other resources provided. So when I was ready, I just sat for the examination. I took the same examination as the internal BSc students in the University of London. I was one of the 20 students in a country to pass the first year BSc examination. I knew the number of those who took the examination, and it seemed that the pass rate of students passing all units in their first year study was really low. So there wasn’t any professors teaching me, and of course nobody studying with me throughout the course. I learnt all that myself by working through the texts. To me, that is perfect learning in Higher Education. I was also doing an Engineering Degree at that time. Even after I had got my Engineering Degree and Masters Degrees, I did most of the studies inside libraries (sometimes every weekend, on Saturday and Sundays) or in private, not for the sake of a qualification. Even now, I feel very comfortable with learning through reading textbooks, articles, artifacts, watching videos. I did start creating blog posts, joining forums in the past years, and I realized that I could learn much more “effectively” using networked learning methodologies and tools – based on Connectivism, COPs, PLE/PLN etc. So, my point is: MOOCs could be great for some people. However, I reckon many people would like to do a Degree after their High School, rather than a MOOCs especially if they haven’t got the chance to do a Degree, or that they couldn’t afford to do so. It seems we are now coming to a stage where the silence majority who want to do a Degree would take MOOCs as an avenue towards HE. What are HE institutions expecting from MOOCs? Most have expressed explicitly that they are using MOOCs as test beds or experiments to attract more students to continue their studies with them. That is reality. So, would you be recommending the delivery of MOOC in your institutions if that is the case? I don’t know the answer.

  7. @Mary and @Jaap Just came across the work of David Noble. “Corporatization & commercialization
    Since the mid-1990s, Noble criticized the way in which “second-tier” universities accessible to the majority have been forced, owing to budget pressures absent at well-endowed “first-tier” universities, to adopt overly corporate-friendly policies. According to Noble, these policies subordinate the educational mission to a more careerist vision in which students are taught “practical” subjects, but in such narrow ways that they are, in effect, less broadly employable. In his 1998 paper Digital Diploma Mills, Noble writes: “universities are not only undergoing a technological transformation. Beneath that change, and camouflaged by it, lies another: the commercialization of higher education”. Noble has argued that high technology, at these universities, is often used not to improve teaching and research, but to over-control and overwork junior faculty and graduate students, expropriate the intellectual property of leading faculty, and, through various mechanisms such as the recorded lecture, replace the visions and voices of less-prestigious faculty with the second-hand and reified product of academic “superstars”. Though this sounds quite political, it seems to be the case when educational mission aligns to a more careerist vision in which students are taught “practical” subjects, especially in vocational areas. What does it mean in the current education environment?

  8. Pingback: MOOC – challenges and opportunities to Higher Education – Part 2 | Learner Weblog

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