On Higher Education and MOOC

I am attracted to this post:

The next ‘double bind’ he identified concerned performance indicators — key performance indicators (KPIs), key information sets (KIS), etc. These cascade through the system, managers create targets for those below them, employees can’t question them or avoid them, and the institution can’t bypass them without putting funding at risk. Indicators and targets create a de facto representation of the system they intended to measure. Factors which are not measured are not candidates for consideration; and this may get out of step with the view that marketing or teachers have of the institution. It’s a pessimistic view… but an accurate one?

We need to insist on using data to ask questions about the institution’s identity, not just to report compliance.” Questions we need to ask are:

  • How can we do what we do better?
  • How can we do what we do differently?
  • Given these changes, what now is the University?

Griffiths asked: is your institution capable of asking that last question? Is the question prohibited by a double bind? Is that why our jobs are so hard?

In my previous post, I said:

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.

My comment in this:

As I shared in my post, MOOCs need to be viewed differently in an institutional framework, if a business model is to be adopted.  Developing and adopting a vision and mission that embrace disruptive innovation and take calculated risks is never easy.  It is however the best time to transform education through integrating pockets of changes, where a ground breaking attempt would eventually help the institution in morphing into a totally new world of education, probably with MOOCs.

MOOCs would only be successful in implementation if they are supported by the top management, as the financial and academic support required far exceeded what could be done through individual means.   If we were to introduce MOOCs in the early 2000s through the grass-roots level, I would surely reckon that they would never grow to this stage.  Even the Khan Academy requires the support from Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and Google in the form of grants in order to grow and develop.  For Universities, the development of MOOCs could be challenging given that they wouldn’t be able to sustain such efforts for long as freebies, unless there are grants or support from charitable or Venture Capitalist organisations.  It is hard to get such grants merely from the governments unless one could prove that MOOC works in the long run.

We are now facing international competition with MOOCs as online education and MOOCs became rich crop fields, beautiful open gardens, rather than thick walled gardens in traditional Higher Education Institutions.

Reflection on MOOCs Part 2

Whilst MOOCs are blossoming in the first half of 2013, there are both proponents and opponents of MOOCs presenting their arguments in various posts.

Here in a post relating to the MOOCs experience where Karen says:

We must do more than put a camera in a lecture hall and put professors in a loosely moderated discussion forum. We must offer real-time interaction between professors and students, and between classmates. There must be learning objectives, not just topics to be covered, so students know where they’re headed academically. We must require students to be accountable and expect them to show a mastery of a subject beyond a “showing up” standard.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/06/11/essay-disappointing-experience-mooc#ixzz2YKjFNaYs
Inside Higher Ed

In this post Richard Solash says:

While a number of universities attempted to introduce free online courses in the early 2000s, MOOCs have only begun to catch fire in the last year.

I am not so sure if that is reflective of what has happened in online education. MOOCs have begun since 2008, and the seeds were sown long before last year.  Why aren’t more journalists reporting on that?  I don’t have the answer.  I believe that media journalists, educators and researchers are all true to their heart in sharing and broadcasting what they have learnt through the media, researches and blogosphere.   That’s what professionalism is all about.

Tell the truth, nothing but the truth.

Someone say that MOOCs are new phenomena.  I don’t think that is the case.  I would still like to reveal the truth – MOOCs ARE NOT new phenomena, and it has started in 2008, not last year.  xMOOCs may be new to people, as I have posted here.

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.

How to prevent and eliminate plagiarism and cheating?

Isn’t cheating and plagiarism a huge concern in MOOCs?  Yes, as highlighted by Siemens (p6) here and McEachern in MOOC post here.

Cheating and plagiarism is rather common in online education, and in particular MOOCs.  Surprised?

One professor doesn’t want to give out the correct answer in MOOCs – in this post of “one-mooc-professor-wont-let-students-know-right-answers”.  The intention might be to minimize cheating in MOOCs.

How to prevent cheating and plagiarism?

Her is a nice post with videos on plagiarism and cheating.

It takes time & efforts to develop good assessment tools and questions (MC) in the same domain of known knowledge. There is a “threshold” limit where one could exhaust all questions on certain topic, unless you open up new topics. Cheating is still a challenge as students could appear as multiple “candidates”, and could share answers once they are known in multiple forms (emails), and even websites/social networks that are closed. The timed tests (MC) may be one way to control, but again, if multiple tries are allowed, one could “improve” upon time, and candidates could merely copy all the questions and answers and “resell” to others who want to know these. I am not an expert in cheating, but from observing and experience, we know that there are many tricks that could be used.

The most effective way to prevent students cheating is NOT to use Multiple Choice, or even Peer assessment as the sole means of assessment in MOOCs. But this would include more stringent assessment requirements, and may drive more students away, as this could mean that only LEARNING remains, without much “assessment” by the MOOCs. The assessment would then be done by taking “real tests, assessment or examinations, portfolios, and participating in Forum etc.” like what the first cMOOCs are required. This may not be the perfect way to prevent cheating and plagiarism, but at least, this would deter those who want to get the qualifications easily by ensuring that they work with authentic tasks, and produce original work. I seldom see students able to cheat that easily with customized and personalized learning tasks, and assessments.

What are you experiences on this area?