On Education Matters – Part 3 Mission of Institutions and MOOCs

Stephen in his post says:
MOOCs were not designed to serve the missions of the elite colleges and universities. They were designed to undermine them, and make those missions obsolete.
Yes there has been a great rebranding and co-option of the concept of the MOOC over the last couple of years. The near-instant response from the elites, almost unprecedented in my experience, is a recognition of the deeply subversive intent and design of the original MOOCs (which they would like very much to erase from history).
Has any one done a research checking on the vision and mission of their institutions to see if they align with that of xMOOCs? I wonder if most institutions have structured their mission that way. May be Stephen is right, and so what happens to those professors (super ones in particular) going along that pathway. Would they soon follow what Sebastian Thrun, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng are doing?
I don’t see why institutions are seeing MOOCs that way, except that most are worrying that they would be lagging behind. I am also wondering what it means to be professors in institutions and that in MOOCs as that seems to be not only in competition with each others, but that one is perceived to be leading the way far ahead of institution (I mean those teaching in xMOOCs), leaving the learners thinking that MOOCs are the best, and the rest are just followers. Is the disruptive innovation taking over the mainstream delivery? Who could argue that MOOCs are not better in every way, including the promotion, venture capitalist investment and media attention? Even the leaders in the elite institutions and the media are praising MOOCs as the revolution & innovation in centuries. Let’s see.
I have been wondering on the alignment of mission of xMOOC with the mission of HE institutions since its inception and still couldn’t figure it out. The original conception of MOOCs doesn’t match most institutions – like round pegs on square holes, where risk management, policies and procedures, instructions, all directed from top to bottom (at least, that is how business models and management is enforced), even in an entrepreneur based business setting. Structured planning, well organized teams, alignments to educational goals and mission is set principally and centrally with standardized systems in place. xMOOCs are unforgiving in their own operations – no pre-requisites, no checking of prior knowledge and experience, no checking of identities (at least, that is not of importance at start of MOOCs), no checking of plagiarism or cheating (again, that is not so important, when learning is emphasized), no checking of learning progress (whose responsibilities would it be to check on learners’ progress? Surely not the MOOC professor, as that is mission impossible), and no monitoring of outcomes (there is no way of checking whether learning is achieved by THE LEARNER HIM/HERSELF) except with the automated machine assessment and grading, which is again unbeatable, when it comes to accreditation, as it is based on learners choosing the single “right” answer in the test. That is what 21st century education is all about. May be.

Are cMOOCs different? All of the above are openly discussed, debated and thoroughly critiqued in the design and delivery of cMOOCs. Here we are, re-thinking about what it means to learn in an open space, forum, and a course, where content and process are not pre-determined, but well emerged through conversation, sharing, and cooperation. What do you think?
I haven’t seen much serious debates on xMOOCs, in an xMOOC. May be they are open, but I don’t think anyone would say that they haven’t got those designs right in the first place. Haven’t we seen lots of debates in cMOOCs? Critical thinking requires a challenge on assumptions. What is the assumption here – when a difference between c and x MOOCs is a fallacy? I wonder if anyone would be welcome to provoke questions without offering solutions (as in institutions). But that is the authentic learning and performance that we should be aiming for, both within and outside institutions. Without looking into the differences between c and x MOOCs, what conclusions do we get? Are they the same?
Like to elaborate on cMOOCs exist only in the imagination? I think we are trying our classification of MOOCs in order to understand the underlying principles. MOOCs are all designed based on education and learning principles, though c and x are designed with totally different pedagogy and approaches, and differing mission (some are for non-profit, others for-profit) etc. Do cMOOCs exist as entities? What do you mean by “evidences of xMOOCs, on the other hand, is widespread’?
Here is my share on vision and mission https://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/the-3-ms-quality-and-instructional-design-of-moocs/ Any institutions should think about their own mission and vision, otherwise they have to re-build their own institutions when all xMOOCs take over their courses. Who would pay for doing courses if they are all free? CCKs, PLENK, Change11 and mobiMOOCs are all cMOOCs and they did exist, as platforms, as entity.

The 3 Ms of MOOCs are Mission, MOOCs and Money. The fundamental questions boards should be asking include: Why are we online? Is the movement to or expansion of online education consistent with the…

I had been involved in volunteering activities which were truly non-profit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_herring . Not all MOOCs proclaiming to be non-profit are “red-herring” though I agree soon that many non-profits would turn into for profits. That’s the political side of education, when many education initiatives are blended with hidden agenda, or changing vision and mission – in making profits as an ultimate goal. That is where entrepreneurship and “for profit” business model is based upon. Are there still truly non-profit sustainable “MOOCs” running with an idealistic education mission? I don’t know.
Postscript: Refer to this paper on participation in MOOCs.

3 thoughts on “On Education Matters – Part 3 Mission of Institutions and MOOCs

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