Openness and Innovation in MOOCs

Here is my response to an insightful post on Innovation Confusion, where Cole says:

some of the best conversations I’ve ever had in this field have centered around the ideals of openness, but now that the MOOC thing has happened the same people who built rallying calls for more open access to learning are now rejecting this movement. Why? Because it is driven by corporations trying to make money? Because it isn’t really open? Because the press isn’t giving a few people the credit they believe they deserve? Because these aren’t really courses?

I can’t speak for others on pro or anti-MOOC, but for me, I have been both excited and interested in this MOOC movement since its inception in 2008. If we are being honest with integrity, in truly embracing a spirit that: Higher Education is a basic human right, and what we are aspiring to is democratising education, then I think few would oppose to this “Education Revolution or Transformation”.

Would people be more reserved or careful in stating their visions, and missions, in terms of profits or non-profits, and whether they are going to offer course (like MOOCs) truly open and free? Openness and free has been one of the hall-marks of MOOCs, at least in attracting people to join. Would that concept of openness and free change upon time?

At the start, many MOOC providers said they would not endorse or offer credits transfer or recognition. May be this is all changing, when the environment has changed. These are all good news, from certain perspective, as more learners could get a great education from the “best professors” and “elite institutions” of the world. Why not going for it? I see all these as positive movement, though it is also a disruptive innovation, from my point of view.

Most institutions have understood that the best way to combat a disruption (MOOC) is to set aside a separate institution (i.e. a MOOC provider) which is separated from their own institutions. If such MOOC succeeds, that they could safely transition into the disruptive model with MOOCs, and could then survive and thrive. On the other hand, if they don’t do anything on that, or not responding with appropriate strategy, then they could be overtaken by the MOOCs and other institutions. Embrace MOOC or face decline.  Not many people are highlighting the use of such strategies and strategic positioning, as many are educators, not education strategists.

I don’t claim I could predict this all, but the principles of safe-to-fail is evident in this MOOCs strategic adoption. Institutions cannot and would not afford to fail at this critical moment, with the strategic use of MOOCs. This together with the call cards of the superb professors and (Khan Academy) etc. would surely change the game all over, leading every one to focus on the development of MOOCs as strategic opportunities, with positive energy and direction, as also hailed by Cole.

MOOC rising

How do I see MOOC? I see MOOC as a pedagogy, a tool, a platform and technology affordance which evolves from one generation to another, with certain ideology changes throughout the past years. I think education business has its economic and educational roots and both profits and non-profits have always evolved and emerged when education becomes a critical mass. I have shared in another comment that “we have to live with it, if that is the way education is structured. Have we tried to adapt, shape and change in a way that truly transforms education, as a community, with our transformative learning in action, especially with the early cMOOCs? It has ignited the passion of learning, for many, I think. Who want to see education left broken? May be there is a highway, though it is much more difficult for people to chart it out, as the money comes into the way. From a historical perspective, education has always been inter-mingled with business for profits, technology and culture. I do hope there are more visionaries who would take up the “lead” in truly transforming education, and not being lost in the craving of profits with greed. Learners and learning must come first, in building a better and stronger nation, and world.”

We hope we could continue to chart out all the positives from the MOOCs, though we should also be cognizant of what these mean for our and next generations. This is not just about getting a neo-liberalism sort of education, or privatization to improve education, but a whole new philosophy of education that sets off a new landscape and landmark in the historic moment of education. Don’t we want to leave a great legacy? A renewed world of education that advances human towards a better future, rather than building just empires or walls between education, and chains, as a result of competition. What do you think?

Google image

MOOC X AND C images (3)

19 thoughts on “Openness and Innovation in MOOCs

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  17. Interesting post by David Wiley http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/2860 in response to Cole’s post. I would console: We have “c” before “x”, let’s “c”, that is the reality. Someone could re-write history, but history can’t be changed. m comes in between c and x, enjoy the language game, and have a crystal ball about post xmooc. That’s the vision I adopt. Here is the Yin and Yang of MOOC.

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