What would be the relationship between MOOCs and Higher Education Institutions?

What is the relationship between MOOCs and the Higher Education Institutions?

Higher Education Institutions have always been the flagship leading Higher Education, and they would surely continue to play an important role in taking the “passengers – the customers, students” along in their sailing.

Further to the paper cited in my post “What is the mission of higher education institution and moocs?” – FROM TEACHING TO LEARNING – A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education (Barr and Tagg, 1995) where Barr and Tagg comment:

Buckminster Fuller used to say that you should never try to change the course of a great ship by applying force to the bow.  You shouldn’t even try it by applying force to the rudder. Rather you should apply force to the trim-tab. A trim-tab is a little rudder attached to the end of the rudder. A very small force will turn it left, thus moving the big rudder to the right, and the huge ship to the left. The shift to the Learning Paradigm is the trim-tab of the great ship of higher education. It is a shift that changes everything.

Professor Gilly Salmon in an article here on Quality of MOOCs uses the metaphor that Higher Education Institutions as supertankers and MOOCs as tug boats.

So learning innovators and change agents everywhere… use your little, powerful MOOC-tug boats and judge their quality by the signs of a change of direction in your supertanker. The quality lies in the tugs’ potential to constructively disrupt.

Your tugs might prevent a catastrophe. Sure, a few MOOC-tugs might get run over as your supertanker reverses, but such is the innovator’s dilemma.

– See more at: http://mooc.efquel.org/week-11-mooocs-massive-opportunities-to-overcome-organisational-catastrophes-by-gilly-salmon/#sthash.xn5MNz5X.dpuf

My experience and metaphor of MOOCs

My first experience with MOOC was in Connectivism and Connective Knowledge CCK08.  Here I had shared my experience and what I have learnt through the course.  I had conceptualized taking MOOCs as virtual flight, where MOOC could be viewed as a Virtual Aircraft steered by the pilot at the time, with global passengers taking on the flight.

There are some set-backs as mentioned in this current post here on “mooc-mashup-san-jose-state-university-udacity-experiment”

However, there are real-world, long-term consequences when we “fail fast” in higher education.

For students, it is wasted time and lost money that for many represented a family sacrifice. For some it means increased debt for courses that lead to nothing. The price of failure for students can also be nonmonetary. They can easily become demoralized and think they are not college material when in fact the medium of their instruction has simply been a bad match.

See my previous post “Moocs as double edged swords” on what would happen for the success or failures with MOOCs and how they could impact on Higher Education Institutions.

Are MOOCs part of the “wicked problems” or solutions? Why? What are the reasons for introducing MOOCs? If MOOCs are to address the weaknesses of the present system – too inefficient and expensive, then who should be involved in improving and innovating the system? Are MOOCs improving the overall education productivity and quality – i.e. in the provision of more efficient and cheaper education? Will MOOCs, offered for free cheapen the brand of the world’s most prestigious universities?   If we think MOOCs are cheap, should we consider the actual cost per MOOC?

Despite all the concerns by media, educators and professors, it seems MOOCs are here to stay, and it has already ignited the interests of administrators, professors, educators and Higher Education Institutions to consider the MOOCs and alternative models in online education, in order to tackle and tame the “wicked problems”, and re-direct its efforts to combat those “disruptive innovation” through its own “disruptive innovation”.

As I have already landed on the Wonderland (post MOOCs), I would move on to explore what’s in the land, and how different ships and supertankers (Higher Education Institutions) and tug boats (xMOOCs) would lead the way to the wonderland.

Photo: from Google.

images on education


What is the mission of Higher Education Institution and MOOCs?

“Can we assume that our education system (including most MOOCs) is primarily built on a behavioral/instructivist model of education? Teachers are expected to motivate students, keep them interested in class & in school, and ensure that they perform to the standards required, through TEACHING.”

Thanks to Doug Holton for the reference:  FROM TEACHING TO LEARNING – A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education (Barr and Tagg, 1995) where Barr and Tagg say:

To say that the purpose of colleges is to provide instruction is like saying that General Motors’ business is to operate assembly lines or that the purpose of medical care is to fill hospital beds. We now see that our mission is not instruction but rather that of producing learning with every student by whatever means work best.

Hasn’t there been any changes from Teaching to Learning? What pedagogy and education paradigm are being adopted by institutions and MOOC? Most of us as educators know “how to teach” through teacher training. How about the production of learning that our institutions should aim for as a mission? Without learners taking responsibility, learning in action (likely through motivation), what teachers could best do is to “transmit knowledge and information” from their heads to the students’ head. How to ensure such knowledge is always kept up to date, if such knowledge is transmitted in our education system?

How do these relate to the mission of MOOCs?

The mission of edX via MOOCs:

“While MOOCs have typically focused on offering a variety of online courses inexpensively or for free, edX’s vision is much larger. EdX is building an open source educational platform and a network of the world’s top universities to improve education both online and on campus while conducting research on how students learn.”

This seems similar to my posting here in opportunistic education:

There are further opportunities in building education models where quality of education and learning experience are co-constructed and co-created by multiple networks of institutions and communities and networks, with a consortium of MOOCs like edXUdacityCoursera or the UK Open Learn initiative.

Alternative platforms of MOOCs in forms of opportunities of learning are emerging, and competition is keen, among MOOCs’ providers as more and more institutions joined the bandwagon of MOOCs. 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.