The truths about MOOCs

Audrey in her post says:

I wanted to give a talk that expressed my deep gratitude to Canadian educators and researchers — particularly those that created MOOCs — alongside my concerns about the rewriting of education technology history that diminishes, if not erases altogether, their contributions. It’s a larger problem too, I’d argue, with many tech entrepreneurs laying claim to education innovation with nary a reference or a nod to those who’ve shaped the field. It’s disingenous and dishonest and deeply, deeply troubling as how we frame the past helps us think about the direction of the future.

History is, of course, always partial, always situated, always contested. There is no “official story” about the Iran hostage crisis or about MOOCs or about education technology more generally.

And just as with politics, when it comes to education and technology, our notion of history is heavily influenced by the media.

Let’s face it.

Couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we need to explore and research through networks, with networked learning.  May I share my understanding and interpretation on how this could be achieved through “Connectivism”?  I have used the learning metaphor of understanding of an elephant to interpret the application of learning theories –

What we should avoid is believing in single source “expert views” or media without examining the assumptions and background “historical perspectives”.  It is right that professors and experts, and even textbooks may help us in understanding and applying prescriptive knowledge, based on scaffolding and the various learning theories – behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.

The challenge is: we are living in a rapidly changing world that often, our knowledge are based on the “facts” and information provided by the media, various “information sources” that are often cited by the “experts”, or authorities, or the education providers, who might have disclosed those parts which are useful for promotion, marketing (the positive part of education and learning).  How about the reality?

The whole MOOC story unfolded reveals exactly how all “history” could be written, to certain parties’ merits.  As I have shared, I am more than convinced on the fuzzy and complexity nature of MOOCs, that many of the “articles” are mainly opinion papers, where some of the sources of the information need to be re-examined and inquired.

I have been working on such researches on MOOCs since 2008, with 2 intensive research surveys completed, together with other interview surveys.  I worked with other researchers in disclosing those findings, based on research, not just personal opinions.  I don’t claim I have got all of the relevant evidences in support of a new learning theory.

However, I do see such learning has been emerging from the participants of MOOCs (both x and c MOOCs) in various ways, based on various social media/PLE/N tools. There are many others who might not have used the tools extensively.

So, truth be told, on the historical background of MOOCs, and that we should all continue to critically examine and inquire about what has occurred in the MOOCs movement, through our lens and research, and not on the “text book” approach, where people told us the opinions, instead of facts.

May be, we could re-examine some of the sources of MOOCs through social media or educational media and check our evidences collected against other resources such as this What leader should know about MOOCs and MOOC guide by Stephen Downes, and the research publications list on MOOC by Rita Kop .


6 thoughts on “The truths about MOOCs

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