MOOCs experience

Here is a “typical xMOOC experience“. No surprise, that is exactly what I have also shared relating to xMOOC experience.

The pedagogy of xMOOCs all falls into the same pattern as revealed through this paper:

“the fact that the format concentrates on short form videos, automated or peer/self–assessment, forums and ultimately open content from a representation of the world’s leading higher educational institutions.”

I kept wonder why xMOOCs are structured in such a way.

x MOOCs are based on the flipping the classroom model:

xMOOC is based on the teaching model where the teacher teaches, and the students learn and consume the knowledge from the course, like watching the videos, or reading a book, an artifact, and be assessed on what has been taught or covered in the videos.  The main differences between off-line and online approaches seem to lie with the machine grading and feedback, in the responses to computer generated quizzes or test, and that the students would respond and repeat the learning until they have achieved content mastery.   That is STILL based on the instructivist approach – which is based on behavioral/cognitivist learning theory, where the learners master the content, probably with the transfer of knowledge from one person or a number of persons (the professor(s)) or the machines (robot or virtual teacher), or information source to that of the learner.

It’s not just the learners’ experience that makes MOOCs special in Higher Education, it is the professors’ experiences and responses that shock the world – and here it is where Jonathan:

predicts that the teaching profession could be divided in the future between a small number of star professors earning hefty MOOC royalties and an army of lower-paid teaching assistants without job security who will do the grunt work.

“From an administrative point of view, the beauty of MOOCs is that they provide an easy opportunity to drastically cut labour costs by firing existing faculty members or simply hiring poorly trained ones – whom they won’t have to pay well – to help administer the class,” Prof. Rees wrote in a recent Slate article. “Why should I hire a new PhD when I can get the best professors in the world piped into my university’s classrooms?”

Does it sound quite a pessimistic outlook into the future of Higher Education, especially for the faculties and professors?

I don’t know what the implications are, when many teachers and professors may need to re-adjust or change the way of “teaching” or engaging through the MOOC partnership, in order to “embrace” MOOCs, and to survive or thrive through those challenges that they are facing.

For me, I have taken quite a number of cMOOCs and tasted a few xMOOCs, so I could only empathize those who feel shocked with the emergence with xMOOCs, as both an opportunity and threat to education and learning.

It’s time for me to slow down and reflect further on these MOOCs experience.

How about you?  Your experience with xMOOCs.


13 thoughts on “MOOCs experience

  1. Pingback: MOOCs experience | e-learning-ukr |

  2. The pieces you have referenced invoke my memory of the Chicken Little ‘sky is falling’ syndrome. As a student, why wouldn’t I want the best instruction from the best instructors? And what other suggestions do you have for the sharing of knowledge – clearly you are not fond of the idea of knowledge transfer?

  3. Hi Ken, Who don’t want to have the best instructions from the best instructors or professors? This is like seeing the best doctors when one needs one. “And what other suggestions do you have for the sharing of knowledge – clearly you are not fond of the idea of knowledge transfer?” First, I would say there are needs of knowledge transfer, especially when such knowledge are fundamental to the knowledge domain, with prescriptive knowledge. So, I am fond of knowledge transfer, only that it needs to be applied appropriately, within contexts, in order to be effective, and relevant and valuable to the learners. How could knowledge be “transferred” if it is via a one way broadcasting model in Higher Education? What are the assumptions behind such transfer, when the learners are reading or watching videos like a “text-book”, without considering the context and relevance of learning, from the learners’ points of view? Could MOOC (xMOOCs) provide such interaction and personalized learning, with the professor(s)? How about conversation and interaction between the agents? Aren’t we sharing information and knowledge here?

  4. I think many of your questions have been debated at length. Clearly the word ‘transfer’ is a sticking point, and maybe there is a better word to describe the act. Would you agree that if one person possesses the knowledge of something, and another does not, then in order for the deficient one to gain that knowledge then some form of ‘transfer’ can take place, possibly forgoing the need for the deficient one to conduct their own experiment in every possible field in which they are deficient? Doesn’t knowledge build on previous gains?

  5. Yes, agreed. That’s how we all learnt too, though not always just with a person, isn’t it? When I learnt how to write Chinese characters, I learnt it through “rote learning”, by keep writing, until I could write them without efforts. So, such transfer of knowledge is “automated” through a basic transfer – with a showing of the character, with the strokes shown by the teacher, followed by me copying the act. Such mode of teaching is commonly practiced in face to face teaching, and could even be technology mediated. My point is: would the learners ever able to learn beyond what is being taught, in terms of knowledge creation? Should we go beyond knowledge transfer in HE? Would learners in MOOCs be as “knowledgeable” as the professors if they are to adopt the knowledge transfer pedagogy and just consume all the knowledge transmitted?

  6. What do you consider ‘creation’? Would the remixing and repurposing of aggregated knowledge (from knowledge ‘transfer’ and student’s own experience) in the form of a course paper (fed-forward, of course) be an example of knowledge creation? Doesn’t knowledge consumption beget knowledge production?

  7. Yes, in forum, there could be conversation and interaction, and here in our blog post sharing too. Yes, creation of knowledge based on artifacts, reflective posts and course paper. “Doesn’t knowledge consumption beget knowledge production?” Would you like to quote an example that illustrates that? If the artifact production by the learner is based on “prosumption”, then yes. Sometimes knowledge creation may not always lead to the production of an artifact, but a certain form of interaction or conversation, where tacit knowledge is explored, and revealed through narratives. Haven’t we shared that?

  8. I think you are right. Not always is a knowledge artifact created, where artifact is considered to be some form of tangible record of the created knowledge. Narrative have different forms including written and oral.

    I am still mulling over my question “Doesn’t knowledge consumption beget knowledge production?” It seems like a big question, depending perhaps to a large extent on how one defines knowledge. Also, is it possible for knowledge to stagnate, i.e. is it possible to halt the progression of knowledge? What feeds knowledge production, if not the prior consumption of it? Do you know?

  9. Yes, that depends on how one defines knowledge. Sure, some knowledge (patterns of information or organised information, like historical information – e.g. some news during war times) are just facts, and won’t change upon time, though one could argue that upon more research and investigation, some of these information may be correct to a certain level only. Another example would be scientific information, which should be based on facts and data, just organised in a systematic way for knowledge transmission and exchange.

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