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.
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.