#CFHE12 #Oped 12 How a theory and technology will change the world? Part 1

Scientific approach to teaching I have been wondering what theories would change the world.   Social Constructivism, Cognitivism, and Behaviorism have both shaped and changed the world to a certain extent.  Connectivism, a new and emergent learning theory has come along the centre stage and significantly influenced the way we educate and learn, using networks and tools.

How about Assumptions Theory that I have postulated?

In this Theory, we are making assumptions about learning from different perspectives.  From an educator’s perspective, we have made assumptions about the needs and readiness of learners, and assumed that there are best teaching and learning strategies for particular learners under particular learning context.  Experiments and research have been conducted to validate the findings.  From a learner’s perspective, the learners have assumed that they would be able to achieve the learning goals based on certain learning strategies, that suit their particular learning styles, and under certain learning context or ecology.

Here there are 7 assumptions about the future of HE and University in Education Stormfront:

“7 assumptions I think have to remain true for the university model to continue as it currently is.

  1. The perception of most people will still be that it is worth it to get into huge debt in order to get a university degree.
  2. The perception of most people will still be that the best way to get a university degree is by physically attending a college.
  3. The perception of most people will still be that if you want to learn something, you must go to a school.
  4. The students raised in the Internet age will still accept that the best way to learn is still mass lecturing.
  5. Businesses will continue to rely on a university degree as a signaling mechanism for employment.
  6. Despite many people’s effort and millions of dollars of investment, not a single person or organization will come up with an online system of learning that is a) as effective or more so than traditional college and b) cheap
  7. Opportunities for learning will remain scarce and expensive.”

Assumptions and challenges of Open Scholarship (George Veletsianos and Royce Kimmons, 2012), where they highlight:

The intention of this paper is (a) to identify the assumptions of the open scholarship movement and (b) to highlight challenges associated with the movement’s aspirations of broadening access to education and knowledge. The goal of this paper is not to frame open scholarship as a problematic alternative to the status quo. Instead, as we see individuals, institutions, and organizations embrace openness, we have observed a parallel lack of critique of open educational practices. We find that such critiques are largely absent from the educational technology field, as members of the field tend to focus on the promises of educational technologies, rarely pausing to critique its assumptions.

To me, the assumptions behind open scholarship movement have hinted the move made by professors, scholars and researchers, institutions and organizations in charting out their own directions of developing and practising open scholarship.  These open educational practice is now manifested either under an institutional framework, or merely on individual created framework.  This set the precedence of exploring with experimentation and entrepreneurship at the extraordinary scale with technology affordance –  MOOCs and/or social network platforms and tools.  Though no one has rightly predicted the outcome of such movement, it seems these complex and evolving “strange attractors” would always interact and generate another set of disruptions that cause the education to change its direction.

Will technology change the world? Definitely, as we have seen how computers, internet and world wide webs have actually transformed the world.

How about MOOCs?

There are lots of metaphors on MOOCs – the MOOC R Us

For in under a year, the rise of the MOOCs (massively open online courses) has fundamentally reshaped how we think and talk about teaching and learning in higher education. MOOCs have become the darlings of the educational policy world: they have been cited as the solution to the college debt crisis, as the future of higher education, as the best way to make higher education more productive, and at the center of the recent intrigues at the University of Virginia that almost toppled its president.

What have we assumed here? MOOC could revolutionise conventional higher education (by the universities and tertiary institutions), through the introduction of massive education, as these courses are open, free for all to join and participate, and most importantly more cost effective in providing high quality higher education.

Another set of assumptions relate to their extensive use of professors and technology to build up the “just in case education scenarios” as there are more demands than the supply currently available for higher education – degrees and diplomas offered by the universities.

Other assumptions are based on the premises that mass lecturing is no longer that effective.  Lecturing (mass lecturing in particular) has been hailed as the effective way to transmit information, based on the assumption of scarcity of information and professors and educators.

Half of all faculty do nothing but lecture in all or most of their classes; and what they lecture about is usually at the very bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy, focusing on factual recall rather than critical analysis, synthesis or application; and that knowledge is itself barely absorbed by students for more than a semester. Sometimes I half-wonder, in those long moments of the night, whether it might be better if we were indeed replaced.

What about the reality?  Most, if not all of the educators and professors that I have once met or learnt with like lecturing.  In my previous post on lecturing – Is lecturing, the cream of teaching, at the mercy of learning, I reflected that:

Relating to the use of videos in higher education, certain trends are clear, where video production and consumption rate are exploding.  Every minute, approximately 13 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube.  University lectures on Youtube are exploding at an exponential rate too, though it is still not yet fully known on their use as an OER among students, except  by checking on the number of hits on those lecture videos.

Besides, there are education videos on TED.COM that is competing for the attention of general public, educators and learners.

Mass lecturing or classroom based lecturing is still the holy grail that would last for another decade.

What are the views of educators and learners in lecturing as a means to achieve the educational learning goals?  Here in a post:

Easy! Easy! Easy!

Is it any wonder students want Powerpoint slides of their lectures? They know that there is a world of knowledge available to them on any given subject. They also know that they will be tested on some of this information. Why not demand that the lecturer condense, organise, and present the information that is considered most important – saves the student from having to do it themselves.

Not a surprise, aha! Lecturers teaching in accordance to what is required in the course curriculum, and ensure the learning outcomes are met, through exposition of the deep-down-to earth content, case-by-case, point-by-point, and checking whether the students comprehend what has been taught through quizzes, tests, and examinations.  Isn’t it what the administrators want to achieve, in terms of making sure the lecturers are satisfying the students’ needs and expectations, in providing a summary of learning, the cream of knowledge and wisdom.  This would make sure that the students would conform with the requirements set by the potential employers in future work, as these students are accredited with a degree of excellence in achievement and are ready for employment.

What about the lecturers?

 Lecturing is easy to do. In one hour (or 90 minutes or whatever) you can deal with 40, 50 100, 200 or 1000 students. In and out with minimal effort (plus the accompanying buzz). In addition, lectures are sustainable – easily recycled and reused. They are an easy way to teach.

In MOOCs, there are now so many professors coming forth to the centre stage that it seems to become the next grand “show business” where educators and professors are all “educating” the tens of thousands of MOOCs participants through their video performance.  Every single MOOC professor has to present herself or himself in front of the “camera”, or the web cams, in order to get the attention from their potential “students”.   TED talks have become the test beds for more and more speakers (educators, entertainers, designers, professors etc.) to both practise and showcase their expertise to the world.

This is again unprecedented as the presenters, professors, educators and even students are competing against both time and space in order to “teach” the world.  Youtube, Blip.tv, provide ample spaces for such creators to post their videos.

Our assumption here is: videos are ubiquitous, and there are abundant videos for use in open education.  The reality is: The quality and value of those “education videos” are yet to be evaluated, as many videos might just be memes, or entertainment videos.

Is Gangnam style one of that type of entertainment video/meme?  It may be just a fad, though an important one in 2012 that has broken all records in Youtube, in terms of number of hits.  Massive number of hits is what advertisement counts, and what education with the media wants.

If one could achieve fame and get all the attention from the media, could education based on a remix, repurpose, and recreate also achieve that same purpose – of educating the mass population through such a means?  Or may be the current xMOOCs are doing exactly what it is trying to achieve.

What theory would likely be able to describe the current MOOCs movement?  How about the Just in case versus Just in time learning scenario?

To me, xMOOCs relate more to just in case education and learning, whilst cMOOCs relate more to just in time education and learning scenarios, though there could also be a hybrid of the just in case & just in time all blended in x or c MOOCs.

If you want to unpack more myths about lecturing (in MOOCs, or physical face-to-face) see this:

Scientific approach to teaching

What are the assumptions behind teaching based on a scientific approach?

Are we racing with time and space and competing with the education and learning chains in this education mania?  MOOC mania in particular!

I will continue to reflect in the Part 2 of this series.  We have more assumptions to make, to chart out the future of higher education.

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Photo credit: Google Image


#CFHE12 #Oped12 Massive Open Online Comments (MOOC) are re-defining MOOCs – Part 1

We found Massive Open Online Comments MOOCs with both positive praises and negative criticisms on xMOOCs and cMOOCs with hundreds of blog posts.

What you need to know about MOOC provides some posts that explored different views about xMOOCs.   Some people have hailed xMOOC as the way to transform education, but others have viewed them as a disruptive technology to higher education.

Is MOOC (xMOOC) a revolution to higher education?  What and who has been revolted?  What has been overturned? Is flipping the classroom better than the traditional lectures delivered by the best professors in the world?  Who have proven all these?  Where are the evidences to support the revolution?  Are higher education institutions revolting against themselves?

Are these moot points?

MOOC may be the Napster as Clay Shirky shares here.  Napster dies hard!  “Napster and its founder held the promise of everything the new medium of the Internet encompassed: youth, radical change and the free exchange of information. But youthful exuberance would soon give way to reality as the music industry placed a bull’s-eye squarely on Napster.”

MOOCs are however well alive. Online education disruption based on MOOC has been added to the dictionary and history of distance education.  It has been inscribed in the milestones, the Hall of the Fame, together with the megastars, where the super rock professors have made wave in providing free, high quality online education to the world.

To what extent are these claims of glory to win the gold in Olympic online education “true”?   Should we amplify the claim that it is transforming education, and dampen any claim that it is “disruptive” part to our education system?

We might have massive open online comment MOOC and massive open online criticism taking over the cMOOCs and xMOOCs.

If what was revealed in the survey research (Students-prefer-good-lectures-over-the-latest-technology-in-class)  is reflective of how students learn “best” in class, what are the implications of students learning with latest technology in class or online?

Would it mean that face-to-face interaction is far superior to online interaction?  Should we continue with the traditional classroom delivery with the rockstar professor standing in front of the lecture theatre?

Are these findings compatible with those other research revealed in active learning in class?  Allison Miller in her post says:

The New Media Consortium’s global digital educational meta-trends highlight some of the disruptive changes already happening in education[2], such as:

  • Emerging global and collaborative educational business models of whatever, whenever and wherever learning.
  • Creating and consuming rich media through mobile and cloud-based delivery, which is refining our notion of literacies.
  • Acknowledging the role of informal and self-directed learning, which is redefining who can accredit educational experiences.
  • Increasing openness of content, data and resources, and changing practices for online ownership and privacy.

I would hope that these are viewed as transformative rather than disruptive changes in the history of online education.  Can we do better with MOOCs?  Have people really understood what a great  MOOC look like?

Postscript: A post on MOOC that asks:  Are MOOCs hyped?  Really interesting experience from a Professor as a learner in MOOC.

#CFHE12 #Oped12 MOOCs emerging as Landscape of Change – Part 4 Groups versus Networks

Here is my response to Mary’s comments:

Would you like to elaborate on George’s assertions in 2005? I hope I could relate to the hypothesis that you are referring to. I have a conversation with George face to face when he visited Sydney last year. You might have noted my postings on blog.

As I have mentioned in part 3, there had been some changes in the way cMOOCs were designed and implemented, throughout the years – from CCK08, 09, 11,12 and Change11.

Would our findings from the papers still be accurate?

I think the current xMOOCs are trying to work MORE like the traditional groups, and so it did behave in some ways similar to traditional online courses, where the support came solely from the “video lectures” by the rock star professors, and participants were trying to get more social interactions themselves through those forum sessions.

xMOOCs are then more group based learning, rather than networked based learning. This has an issue of power being centralized still with the authority figure (the expert professor) where the only credible source of knowledge is to be transmitted and consumed.

Besides, the quiz and assessment would be set by the central authority, possibly graded by machine (for there are only one right answer) and so there is no way of negotiating the assessment or learning methods. Besides, interaction with any professors in xMOOC is limited. If we were to compare that to cMOOCs, then there are obvious differences, in that every participant (like you, me, and many others) are “power free” to share and interact with whatever that interests us, and challenge ourselves on the assumptions behind each of the assertions, through connective and collective inquiry, critical thinking and reflection.

The peer assessment in xMOOCs sounds quite similar to our previous cMOOCs, though we didn’t have the specific assessment criteria in judging each others’ work. I appreciate the value of feedback in assessment in MOOC, and think it has been working with the cMOOCs for years, though we never grade our peers or vote on each others’ writings.

I could re-examine all the research data and findings for the last few MOOCs (CCK08, PLENK2010), and that of my observation for the latest MOOCs – Change11, this Oped12, and CFHE, on the properties of networks, and how they might have changed.

Finally, I think group and networked learning each has its merits and limitations, when it comes to social networks, and traditional formal learning.

Networked learning addresses the highest forms of learning – metacognition with critical thinking, creative learning and creativity skills development, and most important all, personalised emergent learning.  See my part 3 for details.

Traditional formal learning would address the mastery learning in knowledge (facts), understanding, application and analysis, and synthesis.

When it comes to creation of new or emerging knowledge, these could hardly be assessed via the traditional testing and assessment (based on MC, short answers with known answers).

The existing xMOOCs do encourage individuals to excel in their mastery of content of the course, where the professors are holding the “keys” to the questions, and thus grading the participants accordingly, with machine grading, or peer assessment.

Would we need to push the boundary in the assessment in MOOCs? How about assessment of both individuals and networks on their performance? This included the impact each networker made and contributed to the network and community, and the ultimate knowledge creation as a result of interactions and research.

Postscript: See this post on Evolving Pedagogy.

New Demands of a Knowledge-Based Society

There are several separate factors at work here. The first is the continuing development of new knowledge, making it difficult to compress all that learners need to know within the limited time span of a post-secondary course or program. This means helping learners to manage knowledge – how to find, analyze, evaluate, and apply knowledge as it constantly shifts and grows.

The second factor is the increased emphasis on skills or applying knowledge to meet the demands of 21st century society, skills such as critical thinking, independent learning, knowing how to use relevant information technology, software, and data within a field of discipline, and entrepreneurialism. The development of such skills requires active learning in rich and complex environments, with plenty of opportunities to develop, apply and practice such skills.

Lastly it means developing students with the skills to manage their own learning throughout life, so they can continue to learn after graduation.