If you build it, they will come!

MOOCs is a bad idea, just like books.  It turns out that this bad idea becomes one of the very first ideas to transform higher education, as witnessed in these few years.

If you build it, they will come, that is where internet was built, the itune was built, and now the MOOCs.

People will come, when there are super professors, elite institutions, and venture capital investors building up the MOOCs.  People are yearning for knowledge, higher education, even though if it is costing them something, just that something they could afford.

People will watch the best professors of the elite institutions presenting their lectures, so far if they could access those videos for free, from any where in the world.   They would be especially thankful, if they are from those developing or under-developing countries, who don’t even have access to Higher Education, or that they are too costly for them.

It is a great idea, coming from the freebies, as I have shared in my past post.  Believe in MOOCs, that would be sustainable, if educators and venture capitalists, institutions are going to build it.  Surely, there would be millions or billions of people coming, who are looking for free Higher Education.

MOOC is a great idea, not a bad one.  Huh!  It motivates people to get the best education in the world!

If you build MOOC, people will come.  Just a matter of time, and how much you could invest into it.

How to save Higher Education?

What should we do to save Higher Education?

I wonder if we could use energy as a metaphor to Higher Education.  Can we save energy (Higher Education) using a behavioral approach?  Rather than telling people how much they could save by investing in education, or what benefits they could have in receiving Higher Education, could we compare how much we could save as compared to our neighbor in terms of the expense (cost) we could save by having Higher Education?

The need of intellectual and scholastic development, not just skills

I am all for the intellectual development, creative, critical thinking skills and scientific mindset embedded in degrees courses offered by Higher Education institutions.

I still believe in degrees offered by Universities to be of great education values to students, and so Higher Education is here to stay.   As compared to Vocational Education and Training, Higher Education calls for a “higher” order education and learning which requires more than the practical and vocational skills, and are challenging people to further their advancement in the creation of new and emergent knowledge and research capability, so as to tackle more difficult and complex wicked problems in the world.

It is overly simplistic and short sighted to provide industry and businesses with a pool of “skilled” labors who could competently do the existing work only.  The world requires a futuristic sets of literacies and competencies where jobs and careers are yet to be created and established.

So, my question is:  Is MOOC the answer to these problems and challenges?

I don’t have the answer.

MOOC – A reflection of a summary video

Here is a good summary of MOOC.

It is about connecting brains as I have shared about Connectivism.

we could connect one’s brain to others’ “brains” that will lead to continuously improved and innovative solutions for each of us and the network in this digital age – networks including yourself with collective wisdom with emergent knowledge.

I would like to add that MOOCs are not just for education, but more importantly for learning.  Here I share:

I doubt if the traditional “xMOOCs” would really challenge the learners and graduates in terms of their talents and intelligence, though most, if not all students are so used to consuming huge amount of information direct from the professors.  Is that a dilemma that both professors and students are facing when delivering an online course solely by “teaching” the students what is to be taught, by covering all the content required to pass the test or examinations?

To learn with the best professors in the world might be one of the aspiration of many students who don’t have access to Higher Education, though there might be lots of students too who prefer to learn in solitude or with their own peers.  Is learning with best professors and teachers always providing the best outcome?  May be not, as this depends on whether the students are able to learn “what is being taught”.

This is why I think each of our students are different, in terms of their needs, and motivation in learning, and that we shouldn’t just assume what “we” want to educate is what they want in their learning.

Could MOOCs save Higher Education?

May be that is the future MOOCs.

Thanks to the professors and Higher Education Institutions for the offer of free education.  We do hope that more personalized education and learning are available through MOOCs though in the future.

Postscript:  Just found this MOOC.  Sounds interesting for k-12 teacher education.

MOOCs and the future of Higher Education

Would xMOOCs revolutionize Higher Education?

Here in MOOCs on the move: How Coursera is disrupting the traditional classroom, the question could be: Would such disruption lead to better education and learning in HE?  What are the impacts of these movements on educators and learners at a social, psychological and behavioral level?

There are lots of posts praising the greatness of MOOCs.  This one on massive-open-online-courses-transform-higher-education-and-science highlights that xMOOCs is transforming Higher Education and Science.  See this post too.

So, what would be the future of MOOCs and Higher Education?

Dave posted this Where do you see online education in 20 years? where he shares his concerns about MOOCs.

Dave predicts the 4 scenarios:

Case 1 – MOOC kills higher education

Case 2 – Analytics university

Case 3 – Corporate takeover

Case 4 – Community university

I see MOOCs as a phenomena based on Swarm Intelligence and Opportunistic Education, which is now “viewed” as a hype and disruptive innovation and technology to Higher Education.

How do people think about xMOOCs?

After watching this video, I started to realize that US does have a culture of “appreciation” as Tal mentioned, when promoting MOOCs.  The message could be simple: “If we don’t appreciate MOOCs, we would depreciate MOOCs”

Since the introduction of xMOOCs in 2011, I could sense a lot of gratitude and appreciation by the public media and many participants of xMOOCs.  See my collection of posts here.

There are lots of critics and media coverage on the “appreciation AND depreciation of MOOCs”.  If I were to recount the appreciation to depreciation, I think it could be 90% to 10% among media, whilst in the academic world it seems to be totally different, with less appreciation by many educators in particular.  Why?  I don’t have the answers here, and I don’t think it is possible to generalize the reasons behind such “pessimism” among the academics and educators.

I could see the xMOOCs are still based around instructivism, and it should be a good news for educators and professors, since this is still a pedagogy centered around the importance of teachers as the center of education.  Why would teachers and professors support the xMOOCs if that is the case?  There are lots of potential “problems” which are not easily identified here.

First, would the continuation of xMOOCs diminish and disrupt the role of traditional Higher Education and the associated traditional “face-to-face” and classroom delivery?

Second, what would be the future of educators and professors who are not engaged or involved in MOOCs?  Would they still be continuing their teaching with the conventional courses that have been delivered for years?  Would they need to “compete” with the rock-star professors who are teaching in the xMOOCs? How would their future employment be determined?

Third, we have found divided opinions as to what people (educators and learners) are expecting from these xMOOCs.  Some would like to see more engagements and interaction by the professors, in order to improve the delivery of “instruction”.  Others are using the opportunity of MOOCs to try out their ways of teaching (flipped learning) and automated and peer grading and assessment on massive number of students.  Many providers are also looking forward to make lots of profits out of this “model” of education, as they have to ensure an adequate return on investment, for the Venture Capitalists and the stakeholders.

Fourth, the future of Higher Education has now reached a crossroad where most of us don’t know what would be a financially sound and sustainable education model that would “save” Higher Education.  For me, I wish to see more positives coming out from both the xMOOCs and cMOOCs, as they could surely help in “educating the world”, by providing open and free education to anyone seeking one.

I have posted this on FB, Twitter, and Google +:

Let’s see who could rightly predict what would happen to HE & MOOCs in 2013 & 2014. Like to create & post a post/tweet & check it next year?

Discourse on MOOCs: where should it be heading?

Here is my response to Cathy’s insightful post on MOOCs – if moocs are the answer, what is the question?

Is MOOC the problem or solution to Higher Education, especially to the Future of Higher Education?

What is the question? What are the issues that MOOCs are trying to address? Whose perspectives would be educationally, socially, politically, and economically sound? What are the value propositions of each of the MOOCs offer?  How have they been responded by those in needs, or those in favor of or against MOOCs?

I have shared some of those voices, merits and demerits of MOOCs in series of posts.

Neoliberals, real liberals, DIY pundits, pro and against MOOCs, educators and learners have all got their perspectives, their open or hidden agendas, though now they are putting them openly (and sometimes semi-openly) on the virtual tables, via their formal channels, or social media platforms, blog or twitter posts.

The rapidly changing educational landscape has turned the discourse into a teaching as important to a learning as a more important topic, BUT not always the MOST IMPORTANT one as the business models of MOOCs have not yet fully emerged.

How could learning be fully exploited if it is not centred around learners?  May be we are still searching, experimenting and exploring some of the tips of the icebergs relating to Higher Education, especially with the WICKED problems in Higher Education.

The wicked problems and social complexity provides some clues – the forces of fragmentation could be the forces that challenge collective intelligence, not only in groups in organisation, but also in networks.  Compare this with the typical problem solving approach as outlined here.

“Fragmentation suggests a condition in which the people involved see themselves as more separate than united, and in which information and knowledge are chaotic and scattered.  The fragmented pieces are, in essence, the perspectives, understandings, and intentions of the collaborators. Fragmentation, for example, is when the stakeholders in a project are all convinced that their version of the problem is correct.  Fragmentation can be hidden, as when stakeholders don’t even realize that there are incompatible tacit assumptions about the problem, and each believes that his or her understandings are complete and shared by all.”

The antidote to fragmentation is shared understanding and commitment. In the case of networked and collective learning, it also requires forms of curation and aggregation – both on the fragmented resources collected and conversation held all over the places, in order to make sense, and to form a more coherent response to the problem statement.  This would then be shared through further conversation, by redefining the problem, analyzing the data, developing alternative options and solutions, followed by implementation of solutions.  The use of wikis and google documents are typical examples to illustrate the crowdsourcing solutions to such problems.

“Social complexity makes wicked problems even more wicked, raising the bar of collaborative success higher than ever.

Because of social complexity, solving a wicked problem is fundamentally a social process.  Having a few brilliant people or the latest project management technology is no longer sufficient.”

I have reflected on the problems and some possible options and solutions relating to the design and implementation of MOOC here and here.

The current scenario indicates that we are at a state of fragmentation in the midst of Higher Education, where MOOCs, OERs, privatization, partnerships, alliances, and co-operation and collaboration are just part of these fragmentation and disruption movement.  The actual tsunami may not even be the MOOCs, but the technological, economic and social “revolution” uprising for fundamental human rights to Higher Education at a free or affordable cost and a quest for innovative and improved Higher Education.

George Siemens in his response to the fragmentation of Higher Education highlights the current trend of MOOCs and the possible future scenarios of Higher Education.

There are both complicated and complex  “problems” that have emerged throughout the last decade, especially in HE, that may necessitate a global conversation, and the social media just release all the voices that sounded to be polarised, when both reasons and emotions are nuanced in those postings.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many research papers on MOOCs (especially the xMOOCs) which are based on concrete statistics and evidences that reveal the actual learnings associated with the MOOCs.  Here are some of the orthodoxes and hypothesis relating to MOOCs.

The challenges ahead go deeper than what MOOCs are addressing, when viewed from a global perspective, unveiled by the various professors  in these global stories.

How to achieve a balance among all stakeholders, when learning is at the heart and mind of venture capitalists, philanthropic opportunists,  education idealists, progressive educationists, transformative educationists?  Are people either pushing or pulling their wishlists in this opportunistic education transformation and innovative disruption to the limit?