Here is a collection of my comments and reflection on FB group.
MOOCs as learning opportunity and connections
We are born to learn, and when we were babies, did we stop learning? From our dad, mum, brothers, sisters, before institutions. I see all learning as a continuum, once we are born, till we “die”. Institutions do play a role, and so do educators, peer learners, and many of our “friends” and “relatives” in our early growth. Even when we have left schools (or institutions), we are still experimenting our learning with others, our environment, with trial and errors, and our wisdom. Aren’t MOOCs there just to bring people “closer” together, irrespective of the status, qualifications, background, or skills level. What makes education (someone teaching us, or the teaching on us)? It is the care and support, the encouragement and inspiration which makes us feel important, in learning. When we failed, that may be the opportunity for us to learn best, where we realized that we are in need of perceiving things differently to better understand ourselves, in terms of strengths and areas of development. That is where MOOCs might be exploited as a window of opportunity, where we connect to share our understanding of each others, and how we perceive things from different angles, and see our differences in a different light.
MOOCs for the development of vocational and management skills and life-long learning
If education is designed to prepare people for developing skills for work, or to improve their existing knowledge and skills (competency), then surely xMOOCs might fulfill some of the aspirations from a provider point of view. How would these vision and mission of providers be matched with those of the learners? What are the assumptions behind the creation, design and delivery of MOOCs (both xMOOCs & cMOOCs)? Have we asked and learnt what, how and why they are for? We all hope cMOOCs could remain a neutral ground supportive of education. That may both be an Utopian education model and a realistic one, depending again on what you (or we) want to achieve.
There are lots of MOOCs focusing on the training of skills based on Vocational Education and Training and computer programming, which seem to be quite easy to learn, providing you follow the procedures, and work out some of the exercises, answer the quizzes and tests etc. That is based on the knowledge transmission model, where the students would be expected to demonstrate the achievement of learning or performance outcomes by understanding the knowledge and applying them in specific ways. These sort of knowledge and skills could more easily be translated into OER and put into use in MOOCs, even without much intervention by teachers or professors. If we take a look at the programs available from the Youtube and various education programs (like the Yale, MIT, Stanford OERs), we would soon find that we have such an abundance of information and OERs that we just haven’t exploited them in MOOCs (due partly to the copyright, and the inability to customize them for our needs). Indeed, there are still lots of participants of MOOCs who have already got their Bachelors or Masters/PhDs. So, MOOCs seem to be filling the gap of life-long learning, rather than those who haven’t got the chance to attend universities, at the moment. Besides, there is a famous motto: You don’t need a butcher’s knife to butcher a chicken. This means that having professors teaching in MOOCs may be great so far if the “students” are “really” learning a lot from the teaching, and that those students really understand the “advanced concepts and knowledge” normally delivered at a University level course – at undergraduate or graduate level. May be, graduate students – Masters and PhDs have already mastered most of the skills necessary to conduct independent researches or to teach others using effective strategies. Would most professors still like to conduct researches, apart from teaching?
MOOCs and Assessment
Do these look familiar to you?
“Are we going to have a test on this next week? Which part of this lesson would be tested? What sort of questions would appear in our test? What are the answers to those questions?” Do these sound familiar in typical lessons? Are these typical questions from students who wish to get high grades in their examinations? Weren’t those the days when “we” as students want to learn more effectively and have a great learning experience? What percentage of students would get an overall A’s? Less than 5%, or 2%? Yes, with xMOOCs, students could try and get As by repeating the quizzes, assignments until “perfection”, etc. Isn’t that perfect? May be, but in a business setting, would that be the case? Do things right the first time – and this would result in no defects, less re-work, at work and in study! Do xMOOCs address these basic problems of learning?
Multiple choice (MC) questions have been a quick & easy way to assess a huge population of students. Even IQ test, GMAT, SAT and certain advanced or professional examinations have been using MC to screen, and grade students. The current xMOOCs have largely relied on MC/T/F and peer assessment to ensure its certificate is “validated” and accredited, when the persons taking the “exam” or “tests” are identifiable. However, this is still a problem when students use various means to “cheat” the MOOCs system. How to prevent cheating and plagiarism in MOOCs?